TN 4 (04-22)

GN 01741.015 Benefits, Coverage, and Contributions under the Korean System

A. Overview of the Korean social security system

The Korean social security system provides a wide range of benefits including retirement, survivors and disability benefits. To qualify for Korean benefits, a worker must meet minimum coverage or recency-of-work requirements that vary depending on the type of benefit. Aside from government workers and those enrolled in occupational pensions, all citizens between the ages of 18 and 60 are required to enroll in the National Pension Service (NPS). The NPS provides lifetime coverage for individuals when they reach an eligible age and when they fulfill their 10-year contribution payment requirement.

The Korea social security system has three components:

  • Social insurance; and

  • Public assistance; and

  • Social welfare service.

    Social security benefits include: national pension, national health insurance, employment insurance, and workers' compensation insurance. These social insurance schemes protect and secure people's income, health and employment. Foreigners who live and work in the country can subscribe and contribute to all four benefits. They may receive the same benefits as Korean nationals; this coverage is also extended to their dependents.

B. Types of contributions

1. Compulsory contributions

The system covers employed and self-employed persons, including farmers and fisherman. In general, the Korean social security system covers all residents of Korea age 18 to 60 who work in Korea, including foreign nationals. Covered employees and their employers, as well as covered self-employed persons, are subject to compulsory contributions.

2. Voluntary contributions

Persons exempt from compulsory coverage with fewer than 20 years of coverage may make voluntary contributions to build future benefit rights. Persons from the age of 18 and less than 60 may become a voluntarily insured person if they submit an application for coverage by the national pension program to the National Pension Service under the conditions as determined by Ordinance of the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs.

NOTE: Government employees, military personnel, and private school teachers are covered under separate, special systems.

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GN 01741.015 - Benefits, Coverage, and Contributions under the Korean System - 04/15/2022
Batch run: 04/15/2022