The Portuguese social security service (Segurança Social) comes under the umbrella of the Portuguese Ministry of Solidarity and Social Security. It is a body set up by the State to ensure the basic rights of the citizens and equality of opportunities, and to promote wellbeing and social cohesion for all Portuguese citizens and foreign nationals working or living in Portugal. To this end, a percentage of all the pay and income of employed or independent workers and companies is paid into a community fund. This fund is used in situations such as unemployment, pensions, guaranteed minimum salary, family benefits, and healthcare and other social benefits.

The social security system (Segurança Social) in Portugal is composed of three systems:

  • the insurance system
  • the supplementary system
  • the social protection system, composed of three subsystems:
    • social action
    • solidarity
    • family protection

For additional information on social benefits, access to the national network of social services and facilities, social support and programmes and the Social Emergency National Helpline - 144 (Linha Nacional de Emergência Social), please click here.


The social security system establishes rules for granting benefits, stipulating the conditions a family must meet to be granted family, unemployment and child benefits, as well as other State benefits and support. A maximum earnings limit is also set on the basis of fixed assets and total family income as a cut off point for benefit entitlement. On the social security website there is a benefits simulator which you can use to calculate the amount you are entitled to for some social benefits, namely pensions and legal support.

Here are some examples of social benefits:

1. Maternity, Paternity and Adoption (Maternidade, Paternidade e Adoção)

  • Prenatal family benefit (Abono de família pré-natal)
  • Parental benefit (Subsídio parental)
  • Parental assistance (Subsídio social parental)
  • Extended parental benefit (Subsídio parental alargado)
  • Benefit in the case of particulars risks during pregnancy (Subsídio por risco clínico durante a gravidez)
  • Clinical risks assistance (Subsídio social por risco clínico)
  • Termination of pregnancy allowance (Subsídio por interrupção da gravidez)
  • Specific risks benefit (Subsídio por riscos específicos)
  • Specific risks assistance (Subsídio social por riscos específicos)
  • Benefit for the care of grandchildren (Subsídio para assistência a neto)
  • Adoption benefit (Subsídio por adoção)
  • Adoption assistance (Subsídio social por adoção)
  • Adoption extended leave benefit (Subsídio por adoção por licença alargada)

2. Expenses with Children and Young People (Encargos com Crianças e Jovens)

  • Children and young people family benefit  (Abono de família para crianças e jovens)
  • Scholarship (Bolsa de estudo)
  • Guarantee Fund for Maintenance due to Minors (Fundo de Garantia de Alimentos devidos a Menores)

3. Late pay (Salários em Atraso)

  • Salary guarantee fund (Fundo de Garantia Salarial)
  • Layoff

4. Sickness (Doença)

  • Sickness benefit (Subsídio de doença)
  • Childcare benefit (Subsídio para assistência a filho)
  • Benefit for the care of grandchildren (Subsídio para assistência a neto)
  • Accidents at work and occupational diseases (Doença profissional)
    • Temporary incapacity (Incapacidade temporária)
    • Attestation (Certificação)
    • Public Service Attestation (Qualificação e caraterização na função pública)
    • Benefits in kind (Prestações em espécie)
    • Death benefits (Prestações por morte)
    • International agreements (Acordos internacionais)

5. Invalidity (Invalidez)

  • Invalidity pension (Pensão de Invalidez)
  • Invalidity social pension (Pensão Social de Invalidez)
  • Special invalidity protection (Proteção Especial de Invalidez)

6. Dependency (Dependência)

  • Allowance for third party assistance (Subsídio para assistência de 3ª Pessoa)
  • Long-term care supplement (Complemento por Dependência)

7. Disability (Deficiência)

8. Unemployment (Desemprego)

9. Socio-economic Deprivation (Carência Socio-Económica)

10. Retirement (Reforma)

11. Death (Morte)

12. Former Combatants (Antigos Combatentes)

  • Lifelong pension addition (Acréscimo Vitalício de Pensões)
  • Special pension complement (Complemento Especial de Pensão)
  • Special pension supplement (Suplemento Especial de Pensão


There are also some other programmes, social supports and integrated approaches for specific groups:

1. Children and Young People (Crianças e Jovens)

  • Early intervention in childhood (Intervenção precoce na infância)
  • Childminder (Ama)
  • Nursery (Creche)
  • Pre-school education (Estabelecimento de educação pré-escolar)
  • After-school activity centre (Centro de atividades de tempos livres)
  • Holiday and leisure centre (Centro de férias e lazer)

2. Disabled adults (Adultos com Deficiência)

  • Day care centre (Centro de atendimento/acompanhamento e animação)
  • Home care (Apoio domiciliário)
  • Occupational workshops (Centro de atividades ocupacionais)
  • Family care (Acolhimento familiar)
  • Care home (Lar residencial)
  • Transportation (Lisbon and Oporto) (Transporte de pessoas (Lisboa e Porto))
  • Holiday and leisure centre ( Centro de férias e lazer)
  • Out-patient care (Apoio em regime ambulatório)

3. The elderly (Pessoas Idosas)

  • Home care service (Serviço de apoio domiciliário)
  • Social centre (Centro de convívio)
  • Day centre (Centro de dia)
  • Night centre (Centro de noite)
  • Family care (Acolhimento familiar)
  • Retirement home (Residência)
  • Nursing home (Lar de idosos)
  • Holiday and leisure centre (Centro de férias e lazer)
  • Home Comfort Programme for the Elderly (Programa Conforto Habitacional para Pessoas Idosas - PCHI)

4. Family and Community (Família e Comunidade)

  • Social assistance and follow-up (Atendimento e acompanhamento social)
  • Self-help group (Grupo de autoajuda)
  • Community centre (Centro comunitário)
  • Holiday and leisure centre (Centro de férias e lazer)
  • Dining hall/social canteen (Refeitório/cantina social)
  • Living support centre ( Centro de apoio à vida)
  • Integration community (Comunidade de inserção)
  • Temporary accommodation centre (Centro de alojamento temporário)
  • Food aid (Ajuda alimentar)

5. Drug Addiction (Toxicodependência)

  • Direct intervention team (Equipa de Intervenção Direta)
  • Social reintegration housing (Apartamento de Reinserção Social)


  • Psychosocial assistance and follow-up centre (Centro de atendimento e acompanhamento psicossocial)
  • Home care service (Serviço de apoio domiciliário)
  • Home for people with HIV/AIDS (Residência para pessoas infetadas com o VIH/SIDA)

7. The Homeless (Sem Abrigo)

  • Street teams (Equipas de rua)

8. Victims of Violence (Vítimas de Violência)

  • Support centre (Centro de atendimento)
  • Shelter (Casa de abrigo)

9.  Patients with mental health conditions (Doentes do foro psiquiátrico)

  • Social and occupational centres ( Fórum sócio-ocupacional)
  • Independent living units (Unidade de vida autónoma)
  • Supported living units (Unidade de vida apoiada)
  • Protected living units (Unidade de vida protegida)


The social security system has an online page entitled Segurança Social Direta where individuals and companies can access social security services without having to visit their premises. At Segurança Social Direta you can view your personal data registered in the social security information system and change it (or ask for it to be changed).

Segurança Social can also be contacted by phone at 808 266 266. If you are abroad, dial (+351) 210 495 280.
This line provides information on the rights and duties of citizens and companies. The telephone system will ask you to choose the topic on which you would like information.


The Portuguese social security system has a Social Emergency Help Line (LNES) - 144 (Linha Nacional de Emergência Social, LNES - 144). This is a public service provided by the Institute for Solidarity and Social Security (Instituto de Solidariedade e Segurança Social, ISSS, I.P.).

Calls to this national number are free of charge, 24 hours a day, all year round, to protect and safeguard the safety of citizens in a social emergency.

The LNES deals with two main types of situations:

  • Crisis – this is a situation where people feel very vulnerable and unprotected. It is due to the lack of minimal short term survival conditions and requires an urgent intervention and referral to the Social Action Local Services (Serviços Locais de Ação Social, SLAS).
  • Emergency – this is a situation where people feel very vulnerable and unprotected. It is caused by a lack of minimal short term survival conditions which presents a real and imminent danger to the physical, psychological and emotional integrity of the individual/family, thus requiring immediate intervention.

This helpline can be used by anyone in a social emergency, including:

  • domestic violence
  • abandonment
  • displacement
  • homelessness.

The National Social Emergency Help Line (Linha Nacional de Emergência Social) provides an appropriate, immediate and efficient response to emergency situations within a maximum period of 72 hours. Response is provided, as a rule, by the next working day after the emergency was reported.

This service:

  • identifies and provides an immediate response to social emergency situations
  • advises and refers to other helplines and/or institutions that are better equipped to deal with the situation
  • provides accessibility to services
  • refers individuals in serious social exclusion situations for follow-up services.

The Social Emergency Help Line (Linha Nacional de Emergência Social) works in partnership with the following entities:
district and local social service centres (Centros Distritais de Segurança Social/ Serviços Locais de Ação Social);
Portuguese Association for Victim Support (Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima);
municipal councils and parish councils (Câmaras Municipais and Juntas de Freguesia);
Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People (Comissão de Proteção de Crianças e Jovens);
the National Republican Guard (Guarda Nacional Republicana);
hospitals and health centres; private social solidarity organisations (Instituições Particulares de Solidariedade Social);
Child Help Line (Linha de Emergência Infantil);
European Emergency Number – 112;
Help Line for the Elderly (Linha do Cidadão Idoso);
Friendly Voice SOS Line (Linha SOS Voz Amiga - helpline assisting cases of general suffering, e.g. loneliness, anxiety, depression, suicide risk);
Drug Abuse Helpline (Linha Vida – SOS Drogas);
Non-governmental organisations;
Public Safety Police (Polícia de Segurança Pública);
Santa Casa da Misericórdia (large Portuguese charity);
Immigration and Border Service (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras);
and the national civil defence service (Serviço Nacional de Proteção Civil).

To contact this service, dial 144.

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