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France - Pensions and old age benefits

In what situation can I claim?

On your retirement, as an employee in the private sector or a self-employed worker, you can receive a pension from the compulsory schemes that you have paid into. The conditions differ, depending on your year of birth.

What conditions do I need to meet?

Basic scheme

The statutory age in order to apply for a retirement pension (pension de retraite) is set at 60 years for people born before 1 July 1951. The age increases by 5 months per year of birth, reaching 62 years for people born from 1955 onwards.

You are not required to make your application when you reach the statutory age; you can wait to do so. If you go on working after the statutory age and beyond the duration of insurance provided in order to obtain the payment of your pension at its full rate, taking into account your year of birth, you can obtain an increase in your pension (premium).

Mandatory supplementary schemes

In France, the basic pension is supplemented by mandatory additional pension schemes (AGIRC and ARRCO schemes), which are calculated in points. Every year, the amount of contributions paid according to a reference salary or income is converted into points.

The pension that you will receive will depend on the number of points acquired during your entire career and on the age at which you retire. In these points systems, the amount of the pension is proportional to your professional income over your entire career and not just the 25 best years, as is the case in the basic scheme.

Depending on your year of birth, the normal age for you to retire is set between 65 and 67 years old, in both the AGIRC and ARRCO schemes. Remember that you have the possibility of requesting the payment of your pension rights from the age of 57 years. In this case, an anticipation coefficient will be applied.

Nevertheless, you can receive your supplementary pension without application of anticipation coefficients when your basic pension at the full rate has been claimed. 

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Basic scheme

The pensions are paid by the CNAV or the CARSAT. The sum depends on three factors:

  • the basic or average yearly salary (SAM).
  • the rate of payment determined according to the insurance periods and equivalent periods, and according to the age at the time of claiming. The rate of 50% (full rate) can be reduced according to the number of quarters that are missing in order to benefit from this full rate (minimum rate set at 37.5%).
  • the duration of insurance and periods recognised as equivalent by the scheme (periods of contribution and similar periods). The full rate of 50% depends on the duration of the insurance (between 160 and 172 quarters from the year of birth), the age (67 years for beneficiaries born after 1955) or whether they belong to certain categories (incapable of work, housewives having brought up at least three children, etc.).

The amount of the pension may be subject to different increases:

  • increase for a child;
  • increase for a dependent spouse (for pensioners who benefited from this pension on December 31, 2010 and still fulfil the conditions);
  • increase for assistance by a third party.

Mandatory supplementary schemes

For the determination of points, periods that have been paid for and which are non-contributory are taken into account. The latter include periods of employment prior to the application of the scheme, and periods when benefits for health, maternity, disability, accidents at work and unemployment were received.

Annual value of the point on 1st November 2017:

  • ARRCO €1.2513
  • AGIRC €0.4352

The amount of the pension may be increased when the recipient has or has had children:

  • increase of 5% per dependent child of under 18 years old, or 25 years old if a student, apprentice or job seeker (the age requirement is waived for children whose disability has occurred before age 21);
  • increase for raising three or more children: rate according to the scheme paid into, or 10% of the pension on the part of the career after 2011.

These two increases are not cumulative; if necessary, the most advantageous is applied.

Jargon busters

  • CNAV: National pension fund. Pension fund for the general system at the national level and in the Paris area.
  • CARSAT: Pension insurance and health at work funds. Pension fund for general system at the regional level.
  • SAM: Average yearly income. This represents income on which contributions have been paid. Since 1st January 2008 and for all beneficiaries born after 1947, the SAM is calculated on the basis of the 25 best years of the person's career.
  • Payment: Procedure which, for the beneficiary, consists of asserting his pension rights.
  • AGIRC: General association of pension institutions for executives. A body that manages executives' pension schemes in the private sector of industry, trade, services and agriculture.
  • ARRCO: Association for the supplementary pension scheme for blue collar workers. A body that manages the supplementary pension schemes for employees of the private sector - in industry, trade, services and agriculture, including executives.

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The following links provide further information about your rights. These sites are not the responsibility of the European Commission and therefore do not represent its viewpoints:

Commission publication and websites:

Who do you need to contact?

Contact your local office (general system) via the pension site