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France’s pension top-up aid unclaimed by 50% of people, study shows

The benefit is aimed at people aged 65 and over with low incomes. We look at the rules of eligibility

People who are eligible for France’s top-up pension aid but do not apply miss out on over €200 per month on average, a new study shows Pic: Stramp / Shutterstock

Around 50% of people eligible for France’s pension top-up benefit do not claim it, a study by government research and statistics agency Drees shows. 

The Allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées (Aspa), commonly referred to in France as the ‘minimum vieillesse’, is a monthly sum available to people aged 65 and over with low incomes. 

It is available to people living alone or in a couple, with their eligibility based on their income.

Drees’ new study, published May 18, which looked at people living alone whose resources were estimated to put them in the bracket to benefit, found that in 2016, of 646,800 eligible people, only 325,700 claimed it. 

The people who did not claim it missed out on an average of €205 per month, Drees stated. 

Of the people who do claim Aspa, they receive on average €337 in Aspa payments per month. 

The people who did not claim it were slightly more likely to be women and more likely to be older, with the average age of those who claim it being 75.8, compared to 78 for those who do not. 

Who is eligible for Aspa?

You must be at least 65 years old and be earning less than €916.78 per month if you live alone, or €1,423.31 if you are in a couple. It should be noted that if you live with your child, whether they are an adult or not, this still counts as you living alone. 

Some kinds of income are not included in the calculation, such as housing or disability benefits.

How much can you get?

Living alone:

The maximum amount you can receive from Aspa payments is €916.78 per month (€11,001.39 per year).

You must also have resources under this amount to be eligible to receive Aspa. 

The amount you are eligible for is the difference between how much you have coming in, and the maximum amount Aspa payout. 

So, for example, if you receive €800 per month from your pension (or any other income), you would be eligible for €116.78 per month from Aspa. 

Living as a couple:

You can receive a maximum of €1,423.31 per month (€17,079.72 per year). 

The amount that you can get is the difference between your monthly income and the maximum amount you could get from Aspa. 

If your combined income as a couple is €1,000, then you would be eligible for €423.31 per month from Aspa. 

NOTE: Aspa received may be recuperated by the French state from a recipient’s estate after they die, but only if the net value of the estate is more than €39,000. The repayment is only from the part exceeding this. In the case of a surviving spouse or partner, or other dependents who lived with the person, it is often possible to defer repayment until their own death.

Can non-French people receive the aid?

Non-French people living in France are eligible for Aspa under certain conditions. 

  • You must be aged 65 or above

  • If you are of French or an EEA nationality, you obtain the right if you are a resident of France. This also applies to Britons covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

  • If you are of a non-EEA nationality, including Britons who moved to France since January 1, 2021, you can only claim if you have previously lived legally in France for at least 10 years, holding a residency card that allowed you to work. This will not be the case for people who move to France as retirees. There are some minor exceptions to this, including for people who served France in a military capacity and refugees, etc. 

  • You must be a legal resident of France (meaning you have your main home in France and live there for over six months of the year)

Please see our explanation article linked below that describes the process of applying for Aspa, including the process for non-French people.

Read more: Can foreign residents claim France’s pension top-up benefit?

You can check your eligibility for Aspa at this government website here (in French). 

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