Social Security

An introduction to the Costa Rican system

Social Security

The Costa Rican Social Security Bureau (Caja Costarricense de Seguridad Social, CCSS in Spanish) is a public institution that manages the national healthcare system together with the Costa Rican Ministry of Health. In this section a brief introduction to the system is given.

The Costa Rican healthcare system is paid for by mandatory contributions made by employers and employees. Employers have to pay 14% of salary while employees make 9% of contribution. The Costa Rican health system includes Medical Treatment (illness and maternity) and Obligatory Pension (disability, old age and death). It is possible to take a private insurance or health plan as well.

Employment & Income Insurance

The National Institute of Insurance (Instituto Nacional de Seguros, INS in Spanish) offers several different insurances related to work. These are:

  •  Unemployment Insurance (Seguro de Desempleo). This insurance provides temporary income based on the average salary received over the last three months. Not all unemployment causes are covered, so make sure to know your situation. Currently this insurance is only available to workers that receive their salaries at the BAC San Jose bank. The minimum age is 18 years old and the policy may not end after the retirement entitled age.
  •  Adolescence Work Insurance (Seguro de Riesgos para Adolescentes). This insurance covers self-employed workers from 15 till 18 years old of accidents and illness caused work related activities.
  •  Domestic Help Insurance (Seguro de Riesgos del Trabajo Hogar). This insurance covers risks of accidents and illness for domestic employees. Two different policies exist. The first policy covers 1 permanent domestic aid and an occasional worker that works no more than three days a month. The second policy covers two permanent domestic aids and 1 occasional worker that works no more than 3 days a month. Additional workers can be added.
  •  Income Insurance (Protección Crediticia). There are two different credit insurances offered by INS. Both protect you in case you loose your job. The Credit Card Proteccion Policy (Protección Crediticia Tarjeta de Crédito) takes over your credit card payments for the duration of 12 months if you end up unemployed. For this insurance you have to be a legal resident of Costa Rica, be at least 18 years old and not have the retirement entitled age before the insurance expires. Before losing your job you have to have been employed for six consecutive months. The Unemployment Protection Policy (Protección Crediticia por Desempleo) works the same as the Credit Card Protection Policy with the difference that the Unemployment Policy covers mortgage payments.

Costa Rica also has a Workers Protection Law. This law states that all workers must have an individual retirement account and an individual capitalisation account with a public or private pension plan operator. These accounts are also paid by employers and employees. The money accumulated on the pension account can be withdrawn in case of retirement, handicaps or death. The capitalisation account can be accessed in case of unemployment. If an employee sees his/her labour contract terminated without cause, the employer is obligated to continue the severance payments.

Useful Link

Social Security Office 

Further reading

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