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The people of Kuwait are not obliged to pay into any schemes which would qualify them for benefits if they needed financial assistance. The size of the country and the level of its wealth mean that it can afford to look after its citizens in times of trouble, although there are some funds that a worker can pay into to give themselves extra security and peace of mind.

There are benefits available which cover medical care, sickness and maternity leave from work, pensions, unemployment and some disability benefits. These benefits do not apply at all to foreign workers. If you are in the country and suddenly become unemployed then you have to leave as the state will not pay for your upkeep.

For a pension a Kuwaiti male worker must be a minimum of 50 years old and have 15 qualifying years of work and contributions behind them. The age of retirement is set to increase to 55 by the year 2020. It is possible to retire at an earlier age and if you have 20 qualifying years of work and contributions you can retire at the age of 47. The regulations are slightly different for women. They are able to retire at the age of 40 if they have 15 qualifying years and contributions behind them or at any age if they have 20 qualifying years.

If a Kuwaiti worker is deemed to have a 50% disability, this would qualify them for a disability pension as they are legally unable to work. The amount paid is calculated on the average salary earned by the worker prior to the disability occurring. If you are temporarily disabled then an allowance can be claimed to cover you while you are off work. If you suffer a work related injury you can also claim benefits and all medical treatment related to it is paid for by the government.

For expat workers it is advisable to have medical insurance to cover you for any treatment you might need, although if you are off work you will be unable to claim benefits, so it is a good idea to check your employer’s policy on sick pay. It is also worth checking if you will be in a position to claim benefits from your home country if you become ill or if you return there following unemployment, as you may find that you will not qualify if you have been out of the country for some time.