Battling bureaucracy wears you out

© Lightspring
jumping through hoops: Trying to claim for a Spanish state pension.

To save on space I have omitted the number of time wasting office visits that had to be endured regarding the subject of this week’s column.

Those of you who have had to deal with Spanish ‘red tape’ will know exactly what I mean! All who are anticipating a retirement on Spanish state pension, can now read on and weep!

According to Spanish law it is a requirement that, irrespective of how many years of contributions you have under your belt, it is obligatory to work the previous final two years up to claiming your pension.


With this in mind, just under three years ago I decided to check how many further years I would need to qualify. I was duly investigated and informed that, if I became autonomous again, I needed to work and contribute up to March of this year. (2016) I decided to regain my autonomy and subsequently, worked, paid my dues and duly turned up last March to stake my claim

 The first hiccup was my residencia. This ridiculous tiny piece of paper had become so worn, they couldn’t make out the NIF number. Couldn’t they just look me up on the computer? Don’t be silly! Appointment at residency offices for duplicate? Six months! I subsequently supplied an old readable residencia containing all relevant information – rejected, out of date. I then supplied an even older undated form – rejected, no expiry date!

On gestors advice I then obtained a list of my residency records stamped and verified by the Guardia Civil. Rejected, no reason given.

After some four long months I managed, through a colleague, to get a slightly earlier appointment at the residencia offices and duly obtained a duplicate, which I then submitted to the authorities. 

To cut a very long story short, I have now been informed they have made an error and I am still 14 months short of qualification. I now owe them eight months autonomos since March. And have to go back to work!

They have embargoed my bank account and left 55 cents. Be careful out there. They’ll shaft you if they can!

Keep the faith

Love Leapy    
[email protected]


  1. Hi Lee
    Unfortunately that is bureaucracy in I would imagine most Countries : But UK & Spain are ones we know
    If they make a mistake or loose something it’s straight away I do apologise & if someone else it is I do apologise for my Colleague who mislead you.. Lets start again.
    But if you make a similar mistake it is immediately your fault & you receive the Fine or whatever the sentence. Hence they cannot be held to blame for their mistakes but you can
    & When it costs you money they want immediately.. If they owe you money it will take time they say to go through it all So Joe Public is on a Loose Loose situation
    Many years back I had phone call from National Insurance asking me where I had been for last 20 years !!! As no NI received on my Number for 20 years
    As Luck would have it I keep most things & I had My End of Year contribution slip for 20 years.
    So I taped them together & Faxed all 20 through to him
    He was surprised & said with this proof he could not back date me 20 years
    Turns out on leaving RAF they gave me wrong number. My NI paid in to a wrong number So he said they would find out where my payments had gone too (Bet they did not)
    What if I had not had receipts


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