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Pensions and social security


The term ‘social security’ refers to the set of interventions aimed at providing benefits for citizens in need; these interventions range from free care for the destitute, to the setting up and integration of bodies and institutions that ensure that citizens unable to work and lacking the means to live are provided with maintenance and social assistance, and that workers are provided with adequate means for living in the event of accident, illness, disability, old age and involuntary unemployment.

Social security includes:

  • social assistance, which fulfils a general function of protecting the needy, extended to all citizens in case of need;
  • social security, which fulfils the specific function of protecting workers.

For details on the subject, please consult the INPS website (National Institute of Social Security).


The term ‘international social security’ refers to the social protection of citizens of one country habitually resident in another country, guaranteed through international regulation. In the European Union, social protection is implemented through the application of the EU Social Security Regulations, which are immediately and directly applicable in the 27 countries that are currently part of the Union.

In the non-EU area, social protection is normally implemented through bilateral Conventions.

For details see INPS website.


For the payment of pensions (over 411,000) to eligible persons resident abroad (in 131 countries), INPS uses a credit institution awarded a tender that is renewed every three years. The bank entrusted with the service in turn operates through corresponding credit institutions in the different areas.

Pensions are paid to residents abroad every month. Pensions below a legally established limit are paid every six months as is the case for pensioners in Italy. Pensions are generally paid by crediting the pensioner’s current account.

The bank in charge of payments is responsible for checking the pensioner’s existence, address and residence annually.

Since February 2012, the payment of pensions abroad is entrusted to Citibank.

The procedures agreed between INPS and Citibank for proof of life require the pensioner to complete a ‘Certification of Life Existence Form’ (which he will have received from the bank at his home address), sign the form and have it authenticated by the Consular office or a public official recognised by the legislation of his country of residence, and send it to the bank. At you will find all the necessary information, including a list of Public Officials authorised to authenticate the Certificate of Life Existence in each country, or geographical area, and telephone and email references dedicated to user assistance to be contacted directly.

For more information on pensions and social security consult the page dedicated to the subject on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.