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Can foreign residents access France’s pension top-up benefit?

In France, it is possible for retirees with low monthly pensions to apply for a top-up – we look at how this works for newcomers

Both couples and single people can claim pension top-ups in France Pic: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Can foreign retirees living in France claim the French pension top-up benefit?

In France, it is possible for those with a low monthly pension to apply for a top-up to their pension.

This is known as Aspa (Allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées) and is a monthly payment you receive to boost your income levels.

If your income is below €961 (as a single person) or €1,492 (as a couple) per month you can benefit from the top up, which increases your monthly income to this minimum.

This is the minimum for 2023, although figures can change every six months to a year – the current amount is a 0.8% increase on the previous minimum set last July. 

It is paid on the first day of the month by your pension fund provider for people who have a French pension.

You asked if non-French people are eligible for Aspa – and yes, under certain conditions, those who are entitled to the top-up can receive it even if they are not French or have no French pension.

This includes:

  • EU/EEA citizens but also British citizens (regardless of when they arrived in France), due to provisions in the Brexit agreements

  • Citizens from other countries who have had, for at least 10 years, a residency permit authorising them to work 

  • Refugees, stateless individuals, or citizens of certain other countries (Algerian, Congolese, Moroccan, etc)

Access to Aspa depends on your living situation as well.

To benefit from the top-up, you must be over 65 and:

  • Have your main residence in France, and/or

  • Be in France for at least six months of a given year.

Therefore, second-home owners living abroad cannot benefit.

If you have a French pension, you apply for Aspa via that pension fund, which is usually Carsat (depending on the region you live in or your former employer, it may be a different fund).

If you do not have a French pension you can apply to a body called Saspa, which – oddly – is currently run by the Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA), which usually deals with farmers’ pensions. 

Connexion notes, however, that, at least in theory, EU citizens living in another EU country (and British people who have five-year Brexit Withdrawal Agreement cards and do not yet have a 10-year séjour permanent card) are, under EU and Brexit WA laws, meant not to become a “burden on the social assistance system” in the first five years of residency in the country. 

We consider it is possible that claiming Aspa could be interpreted as such even if the issue may well never arise.

You can use this form to apply for Aspa. It needs to be dropped off at your mairie (or CCAS if you live in a larger area). You can also collect the form from the mairie, which may be able to advise you on how to complete it.

Aspa may be lower if you are receiving other forms of income, although certain forms of income ( such as French APL housing benefit, AAH disability benefit, or APA benefits) do not count towards income levels.

One important point to note: Aspa can be collected from your estate after death, provided your assets are over €39,000

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