Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Digitalisation in social security coordination

EU rules on social security coordination call on the Member States to use the latest technologies for the exchange, access and processing of the data required to the application of these rules as well as to offer user-friendly services to mobile people. 

Thanks to the cross-border electronic exchange of social security information, national institutions are able to process mobile citizens’ claims for social security benefits (such as unemployment benefits, reimbursement of healthcare costs, family benefits, and old-age pension) in a faster and more efficient way.  

This is in line with the Commission digital strategy that sets out the objectives and measures to support the digital transformation of public administrations, achieve cross-border interoperability and facilitate the interaction with citizens.

Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI)

EESSI is an IT system that helps social security institutions across the EU exchange information related to applicable legislation, sickness, occupational disease and accidents at work, pension, unemployment and family benefits more rapidly and securely, as required by the EU rules on social security coordination.

Before EESSI most exchanges were paper-based. These are being replaced by electronic exchanges as Member States institutions roll out EESSI.

How EESSI works

All communication between national institutions on cross-border social security files are to take place through EESSI: social security institutions exchange structured electronic documents and follow commonly agreed procedures. These documents are routed through EESSI to the correct destination in the right institutions in another Member State.

Staff in social security institutions are able to find the correct destination in another EU country by consulting a repository of national institutions.

Timeline for EESSI implementation in Member States

The first exchange of a structured electronic message regarding a concrete case involving the social security situation of an EU citizen took place in January 2019. It was an extremely important achievement in the EESSI project, following years of intense work and efforts.

Since 2019, all participating countries have had to connect to the EESSI system. The Commission continues to support and monitor the efforts of Member States to ensure that all the 32 countries are fully ready to use EESSI, as soon as possible.

Benefits of EESSI

Faster and more efficient information exchange between social security institutions and benefits to mobile citizens

  • EESSI speeds up exchanges between social security institutions on cases related to different branches of social security (such as unemployment, family, old-age, sickness benefits etc). It allows them to handle individual cases more quickly, and helps make calculation and payment of benefits faster.
  • This faster and more efficient exchange of social security information helps enhance the protection of the social security rights of citizens across borders.

More accurate data exchange between national authorities

  • Social security institutions across the EU use standardised electronic documents translated into their own language, improving multilingual communication.
  • EESSI optimises case handling, introducing standard electronic procedures to be followed by institutions. This helps ensure social security coordination rules are correctly applied.

Fight against fraud

  • EESSI introduces safeguards to ensure that the data exchanged is correct and complete, helping institutions to combat fraud and error.

Secure handling of personal data

  • EESSI uses a common secure infrastructure for cross-border data exchange between social security institutions.
  • It enables message exchange between national institutions, but the system does not create a database to store such messages and personal data centrally. The content of the messages is only available to the relevant institutions, and Member States remain responsible to ensure a high standard of data protection, in line with EU rules. 
  • EESSI follows the latest standards in IT security.

Collect statistics about social security coordination

  • EESSI enables to collect statistics on the message exchanges between social security institutions.

Verification of social security rights

  • Social security institutions across Europe can exchange relevant information also to verify the social security rights of mobile citizens.

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