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Unemployment benefits in Bulgaria

In what situation can I claim?

Unemployment benefits are payable to everyone who has paid social insurance contributions into the unemployment fund of the General State Insurance Fund for at least 9 months in the previous 15 months, before termination of social insurance.

Benefits are payable whether or not the insurance contributions have been paid or are due but have not actually been paid.

Employees may also receive benefits if the company in which they work is declared insolvent. Guaranteed debt payments are financed by the Guaranteed Debt Payments for Workers and Employees Fund to which all companies are obliged to pay contributions.

Long-term unemployment benefits have not been payable since 2011.

What conditions do I need to meet?

In order to receive unemployment benefit:

  • you must be registered as unemployed at the Employment Agency;
  • you must not be in receipt of a pension for period of social insurance cover or old age or an early retirement pension in Bulgaria, or an old age pension in another country;
  • you must not be employed in an activity which is subject to compulsory insurance.

If you are employed part-time and your remuneration is less than the minimum wage, you will be entitled to half of the unemployment benefit due to you.

To determine the length of paid insurance contributions which make up your entitlement to unemployment benefit, the following factors are taken into account: paid and unpaid leave for child care, temporary incapacity to work, pregnancy and childbirth, adoption of a child aged between 2 and 5 years and unpaid leave of up to 30 days in 1 calendar year.

Your length of paid insurance contributions and unemployment insurance period stipulated in the legislation of another state outside the EU with which Bulgaria has an international treaty is taken into account.

You are entitled to receive benefits from the fund that guarantees debt payment in the event of insolvency from the moment the court decision on insolvency procedures is recorded in the Commercial Register. You are not entitled to this benefit if you are a member of the managing bodies of the company, a shareholder in the commercial company or his/her spouse or a direct relative. The employer is obliged to notify you of the amount of paid and unpaid labour remuneration and/or cash compensation due to you.

The regional department of the National Social Security Institute checks to establish whether you are entitled to a benefit in accordance with the Guaranteed Receivables Act and drafts a statement. The procedure begins within 1 month of the court decision being recorded in the Commercial Register. While this verification is in progress, you are entitled to submit objections to the information provided by the employer. More information about the procedure can be found on the National Social Security Institute website.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Unemployment benefits

The first step towards obtaining unemployment benefit is to register at the Employment Agency within 7 days of termination of work. This can be done at the regional labour office departments in the region of your permanent address.

You must then submit an application for unemployment benefit within 3 months to the regional department of the National Social Security Institute.

The daily cash benefit for unemployment is 60 % of your average insurable income for which you have paid contributions during the 24 months prior to suspension of social insurance. If you have worked in Bulgaria and in another EU Member State, only the periods of unemployment insurance and your income in Bulgaria are taken into account in the benefit calculation. The amount of benefit must be at least the minimum amount set out in the state budget for each calendar year. The minimum amount for 2018 is BGN 9 per day. The maximum amount for 2018 is BGN 74.29 per day.

There are exceptions when determining the amount of benefit. If you have willingly terminated your relationship with your employer of your own accord, you are entitled to minimum benefits for 4 months. You receive the minimum amount if you have already received unemployment benefit in the last 3 years.

The duration of unemployment benefit depends on the period of social insurance cover in years.

Period of social insurance cover (years)

Benefit payment period (months)

Up to 3


3 to 6


6 to 9


9 to 12


More than 12


Long-term unemployment benefit has not been payable since 2011.

Guaranteeing debt payments in the event of employer's insolvency

Employees who have worked for their employer for at least 3 months are entitled to this benefit. If you began work for an employer at least 3 months before the court decision was recorded, you are also entitled to benefit but to a lesser extent.

  • For people who have worked for more than 3 months, the guaranteed debt is equivalent to the last 6 calculated but unpaid salaries and cash compensation during the 12 calendar months, prior to the month when insolvency was declared. Monthly compensation can not be more than the maximum amount of guaranteed receivables. For 2018, this is BGN 1,300 per month
  • For people who have worked less than 3 months, the guaranteed debt is equal to the minimum monthly salary established in Bulgaria as of the date of registration of the court decision.

Employees whose legal relations with the employer were terminated during the 3 months prior to the date of the recording of the court decision are also entitled to a guaranteed debt payment. The guaranteed debt is equal to the sum of the last calculated but unpaid monthly salaries (up to a maximum of 6) and cash compensation during the last 12 calendar months, but not exceeding the maximum amount of BGN 1,300 for 2018.

Jargon busters

  • NSSI: National Social Security Institute.
  • SIC: Social Insurance Code.
  • Social Insurance Period: calculated in hours, months and years. This takes into account the time during which employees have worked full-time if insurance contributions for the remuneration received have been paid or are payable. A minimum insurable income has been set for each profession and the period covered by insurance does not include contributions made below this income except in special circumstances. If you have worked part time, the length of employment for insurance purposes is calculated proportionally on the basis of working hours set out in law. This is 8 hours per day under normal working conditions. Length of service for insurance purposes is different from total length of service.

Know your rights

The laws and web pages of the institutions which determine your rights can be found by following the links below:

Who do you need to contact?

Employment Agency

Address: Bul. Dondukov No 3

1000 Sofia

Telephone: +359 29808719

Fax: +359 29867802


Regional departments of the Labour Office

National Social Security Institute

Contact Centre

Central office of the National Social Security Institute

Bul. Alexander Stamboliiski No 62-64

1303 Sofia

Telephone: +359 29261010

Regional offices of the National Social Security Institute

European Commission and national authorities dealing with unemployment insurance.

This page was last updated on February 15, 2020.

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