Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Bulgaria - Pensions

In what situation can I claim?

You acquire the right to pension for your period of social insurance cover and old age when you reach a given age, which is different for men and women, and attain a given period of social insurance cover.

If you do not have the required period of social insurance cover for a pension, you acquire it when you reach the age of 66 years and a period of social insurance cover of at least 15 years. This age is increased gradually every year. Details are set out in the table here.

If you acquire the right to a pension during the previous year but do not retire, you do not lose your entitlement. You can retire during the following years, whether there are changes in the conditions for retirement or not.

Your entitlement to early retirement depends on the category of the work you perform. Armed forces personnel, certain state employees, investigators, some firefighters and divers retire younger than the standard retirement age. They acquire the right to a pension after accumulating a given period of social insurance cover in these professions. You can find information on each profession here.

You have the right to a social pension for old age at the age of 70 if your family income is below a given minimum amount.

What conditions do I need to meet?

Pension for period of social insurance and old age

For retirement in 2018, women need to be aged 61 years and 2 months to have a period of social insurance cover of 35 years and    6 months. For men the age is 64 years and 1 month and a period of social insurance cover of 38 years and   6 months. Since 1 January 2018, the required retirement age and periods of insurance has been gradually increasing till reaching 65 years of age for both genders and 40 years periods of insurance for men and 37 for women. The information is set out in detail in a table on the National Social Security Institute website.

If you do not have the required period of social insurance for a pension, you acquire the right when you reach the age of 66 years and have a period of social insurance cover of at least 15 years. This age is increased gradually every year. See the table here.

As of 1 January 2016, people with sufficient length of insurance may acquire the right to a pension one year before they reach retirement age. The pension will be permanently reduced by 0.4% for each month before the person reaches retirement age.

Specific provisions exist for certain professions:

  • Regular servicemen acquire a right to a pension upon reaching 53 years and 2 months  of age if they have 27 years of employment, two thirds of which actually served as regular military service;
  • Officers and civil servants of the Ministry of Interior and of the State Agency for National Security, civil servants according to the Law on Special Reconnaissance Means and the Law on Execution of Penalties and Detention as well as the civil servants from the Directorate-General for Security acquire a right to a pension upon reaching 53 and 2 months years of age if they have 27 years of service, two thirds of which actually served as civil servants in particular departments;
  • Persons mentioned above who have served 15 years as flight crew, parachutists, crew of underwater vessels and underwater diving crew are entitled to a pension upon reaching 43 years and 2 months of age;
  • Civil servants from the Directorate-General for Fire Safety and Civil Protection acquire a right to a pension upon reaching 52 years and 2 months and 10 months of age if they have 27 years of service, two thirds of which actually served as civil servants in particular departments;
  • Ballet dancers acquire a right to a pension upon reaching 42 years and 2 months and 10 months of age if they have 25 years of insurance in the profession.

From 1/1/2018 the retirement age is being gradually increased until it reaches 55 (bullets 1, 2 and 4), respectively - 45 years of age (bullets 3 and 5).

Early retirement

Labour categories are set out in a regulation and are connected with labour conditions, e.g. if you worked in mines, as a pilot or in metallurgy. There are two schemes:

Pension from professional pension funds

As of 01 January 2016, people insured in a professional pension fund who have not chosen to be insured solely in the Pension Fund of the State Public Insurance (first pillar), are entitled to a supplementary fixed-term professional pension paid from professional pension funds provided the following conditions are met:

  • they have completed at least 10 years of insurance under the first category of labour after 31/12/1999 and still have 10 years to go before they reach retirement age;
  • they have completed at least 15 years of insurance under the second or first and second category of labour after 31/12/1999 and still have 5 years to go before they reach retirement age.

The supplementary fixed-term professional pension shall be paid until the person reaches the standard retirement age.

Pension from Pension fund (first pillar)

As of 01/01/2017 if persons have not acquired the right to a pension paid by professional pension fund or have chosen to be insured solely in the Pension Fund of the State Public Insurance (first pillar), they are entitled to a life-long pension paid by National Social Insurance Institute upon following conditions:

  • persons have completed at least 10 years of insurance under the first category of labour and has reached the age of 48 years and  8 months for women and 53 years and 8 months for men provided that the sum of periods of insurance and age is equal to 94 for women and 100 for men. Since 31/12/2015 the retirement age has been increased by 2 months for men and 4 months for women per calendar year until reaching 55 ;
  • persons have completed at least 15 years of insurance under the second category of labour and has reached the age of 53 years and   8 months for women and 58 years and 8 months for men provided that the sum of periods of insurance and age is equal to 94 for women and 100 for men. Since 31/12/2015 the retirement age has been increasing by 2 months for men and 4 months for women per calendar year until reaching 60 years of age.

Teachers are entitled to an early pension if it is paid from the Teachers' Pension Fund. Entitlement to this pension is subject to both of the following conditions:

  • 58 years and 2 months of age for women and 61 years and 1 month for men. Since 1 January 2018 the required retirement age has been gradually increasing till reaching 62 for both genders;
  • a teaching service of 25 years and 8 months for women and 30 years and 8 months for men.

Dancers acquire the right to a pension if they have a period of social insurance of 25 years upon reaching 43 years and   2 months  of age. Since 1 January 2018 the retirement age has been gradually increasing by 2 months till reaching 45.

Social pension for old age

You have the right to a social pension when you reach 70 years of age and if the annual income per member of your family is less than the guaranteed minimum income for the previous 12 months. For 2018, the guaranteed minimum income is BGN 75 per month.. Annual income per family member does not include:

  • supplements for external care for disabled persons, compensation, indexation and one-off pension supplements;
  • social benefits;
  • family benefits for children and monthly supplements for persons with disabilities.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Pension for period of social insurance and old age

Pensions for old age and period of social insurance cover are calculated on the basis of a formula with the following determining factors: period of social insurance cover and the income for which insurance contributions have been paid over these years.

The amount of the pension = (the income on the basis of which it is calculated) x (period of social insurance cover/100).

In the event of incomplete length of service, the months are divided by 12 and the result obtained is rounded to two decimal places.

You can read more about the calculation of pensions on the National Social Security Institute website which describes in detail how each of the components of the formula is calculated.

The minimum amount of pensions for periods of social insurance and old age is determined every year and is BGN  200 (from 1 July 201– BGN 207.60). For people aged at least 66 years who have retired with a real 15-year period of social insurance cover, the minimum amount of the pension is 85% of the minimum pension amount for period of social insurance and old age, or BGN 170 The minimum pension is identical for men and for women.

Pensions from universal pension funds (additional mandatory pension insurance) are compulsory for everyone born after 31 December 1959. This provides an entitlement to a second additional pension when the person acquires the right to a pension for periods of insurance and old age. In addition, you are entitled to a one-off payment of up to 50% of the amounts accumulated on your individual account in the event that you lose more than 89.99% of your capacity to work. Additional mandatory pension insurance entitles you to a one-off or deferred payment of the amounts to the successors of a deceased person and pensioner.

Early retirement

People who work under difficult labour conditions (category I and II) and in particular professions are entitled to a pension from the National Social Security Institute pension fund or from professional pension fund.

People who have worked in labour category 1 and 2 since the beginning of 2000 must also be insured in professional pension fund managed by a pension insurance company. This insurance provides entitlement to an early pension payable by the company which manages the fund until you reach the required age for a social insurance cover period/old age pension. Contributions to these funds accumulate in an individual account for each insured person. As of 1 January 2015, people can choose to be insured in both Professional Pension Fund and the Pension Fund of the State Public Insurance or solely in the Pension Fund of the State Public Insurance. The conditions are described in detail in the National Social Security Institute table.

Teachers are entitled to early retirement under special conditions. Pensions for early retirement are reduced by 0.1% for each month below the retirement age for social insurance cover period/old age pensions. On reaching the required age, the social insurance cover period/old age pension is paid in full from the general pensions fund.

Social old age pension

The social old age pension amounts to BGN 120.98.

Jargon busters

  • Professional pension fund: a fund managed by a pension insurance company for mandatory additional pension insurance. Employers' contributions accumulate in an individual account set up by the employer for people working in labour categories I and II. You receive a limited occupational pension from this individual account on the basis of a contract between you and the pension company. This lays down the amount of the pension and the payment method for the period until you acquire the right to a social insurance cover period/old age pension from the state social security fund;
  • Universal pension fund: a fund managed by a pension insurance company for mandatory additional pension insurance. Employers' and employees' contributions accumulate in an individual account for people born after 31 December 1959;
  • Occupational pension schemes: rules for additional voluntary pension insurance which are mandatory in the case of a collective agreement or collective labour contract.

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The laws and web pages of the institutions which determine your rights can be found by following the links below. These are not European Commission pages and do not represent the opinion of the Commission:

European Commission publications:

Who do you need to contact?

National Social Security Institute

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