Social Security Number In Turkey: Explained

Social Security Number In Turkey

Navigating the maze of Turkey’s bureaucratic nuances can be a tad overwhelming, especially when it comes to something as vital as a social security number, Right? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered!

But fear not, intrepid expat! You’re about to embark on a crash course that’ll have you sorted in no time. Turkey’s social security system, decoded just for you.

Let’s dive in!


What Is A Social Security Number In Turkey?

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The social security in Turkey underwent a significant transformation process in 2007. 

As a result of this process, different social security funds were consolidated under a single institution, the Social Security Institution (SGK), to be centrally supervised and operated for enhanced efficiency and speed. 

Three separate social security institutions, namely, SSK (Social insurance institution), Bag-Kur (Social insurance for artisans and self-employed), and Emekli Sandigi (Pension Fund- for public servants and certain government employees) were merged under the name of SGK in 2007

The new system will fully function from the beginning of 2008. As of April this year, the total number of insured individuals in Turkey reached 24,944,475.

The Turkish social security system by Law No. 5510 on social insurance and general health insurance. This comprehensive law outlines the rules and regulations for social insurance and healthcare coverage in Turkey. 

It establishes the rights and obligations of employees, employers, and the social security institution (SGK) in providing social security benefits and services to the working population. 

The law covers various aspects, including retirement benefits, disability pensions, unemployment benefits, health insurance, maternity benefits, and more. 

It aims to ensure the well-being and protection of employees and their families, promoting social security and stability throughout the country.

How Does Social Security Work In Turkey?

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The social security system in Turkey is predominantly similar to the Bismarck model, one of four basic insurance systems: the Continental Model (Bismarck), Liberalistic Model (Beveridge), Northern European Model, and Mediterranean Model. 

Bismarck Model refers to a system where the premiums paid over employees’ wages according to their insurance status are collected in a joint pool, and the benefits are provided based on the paid premiums only when an old-age pension is entitled. 

The amount of the benefits to be granted to the insurance holders in cases of retirement, accident, and sickness varies by the income they previously had. The main actors in this system are employees, employers, and representatives in the public sector. 

This system has more regulatory measures in the labor market than liberalism, which hinders flexibility. Concordantly, strict rules and collective bargaining mechanisms have come to the fore.

The Turkish Social Security System also has some elements of the Mediterranean Model as well as the Bismarck Model. 

The Mediterranean Model is derived from the Continental Model and resembles this Model in the sense that the paid social insurance premiums provide a basis for future social security benefits.

Another aspect of the Mediterranean Model similar to the Turkish Model is the wideness of the informal economy. For this reason, the system does not cover many people; however, social risks are tried to be eliminated through family ties. 

This Model has brought into prominence the concepts of traditional family and agricultural society; thus, people are supported by their families without considering whether the state provides benefits in case of revenue loss or social risks.

By this reform, a number of structural changes have been made in the Turkish social security system.

A transition has been released from the system, which entitles various rights to different professional groups, to the system, ensuring the unity of standards and norms regarding retirement insurance.

Having the aim to ensure the sustainability of the system, these structural changes have not led to deviation from the Mediterranean Model-Continental Model.

What are the benefits of having Social Security?

Social Security numbers were first created to track workers’ earnings to help determine the Social Security benefits they’d be entitled to receive once they retired. That’s still a primary function of Social Security numbers today. 

Social Security benefits are typically calculated using your average indexed monthly earnings, which takes into account up to 35 years of earnings.

So, if you get your first job at age 16, for example, then the Social Security Administration starts tracking your earnings history from that point. Your actual earnings are adjusted or indexed to account for changes in average wages over time. 

The Social Security Administration uses these adjusted wages to calculate your primary benefit, which is the amount you’d receive once you reach full retirement age.

The full retirement age is based on the year you were born. For someone born in 1960 or later, that’s 67.

If you wait until full retirement age to receive benefits, you’ll receive the total benefit amount you’re eligible for. But you can technically begin taking Social Security retirement benefits at age 62. Doing so, however, will reduce your benefit amount. 

On the other hand, you can delay taking Social Security benefits up to age 70, which can increase your benefit amount.

Other Uses For Social Security Numbers

Aside from Social Security benefits, your Social Security number can be used in other ways. For example, you’ll typically need a Social Security number if you want to:

  • Open a bank account in your name
  • Apply for federal or private student loans
  • Get a credit card in your name
  • Apply for a home loan or auto loan
  • Apply for a job
  • Qualify for state or federal benefits or financial assistance
  • Get a passport
  • File your taxes
  • Get a driver’s license

You may also need to provide your Social Security number when applying for cell phone or utility services in your name, renting a car, or signing a lease on an apartment. That’s because of the way Social Security numbers are used for credit scoring.

Your credit score is a three-digit number based on the information in your credit reports. 

This information is reported to the credit bureaus by your lenders or billers. Credit reports include financial information, such as account activity and personal information.

One of the critical pieces of personal information used to identify you for credit reporting and scoring is your Social Security number.

Your entire credit history is tied to that number, which is why it’s so important to protect it. 

Suppose someone were to obtain your Social Security number and other personal information, such as your date of birth. In that case, they could open fraudulent credit cards, loans, and other accounts in your name. 

Identity theft can be stressful to resolve, and it can cause severe credit score damage if someone runs up sizable debts in your name.

You can protect your Social Security number by:

  • Keeping your Social Security card in a secure place, such as a home safe or safe deposit box at your bank
  • Keeping any physical documents that include your Social Security number in a secure place
  • Encrypting digital documents stored on your computer or phone that include your Social Security number

And be cautious about who you share your Social Security number with. Consider carefully before sharing your number over the phone or via email with anyone you don’t know without first verifying that it’s a trusted source. 

So if your bank emails you asking for your Social Security number, for example, call the bank directly first to make sure the request is legit.

Is Living In Turkey A Good Idea?

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Turkey can offer its residents a good climate and an active and healthy lifestyle, and most expats find they get good value for money when they move to Turkey.

To make sure your idea of moving to Turkey works well for you, learn the ropes beforehand. 

Research your locations, rent before buying a property in Turkey, plan with your income and residence status, and, most importantly, ensure your health needs are covered.

Learning the language will help greatly. All official agencies in Turkey only speak Turkish, and everything becomes 100 times more difficult if you do not speak the language.

A good job or a steady income is significant. You can appreciate Turkey as a great value-for-money destination only if your income is paid in one of the major currencies, not the lira.

The Pros Of Living In Turkey

The Lifestyle In Turkey Is Fantastic

Most of the year, the weather is so ideal that one can live outside. Meals can be taken on the terrace, and walks can be enjoyed in the spring, autumn, and even winter – even on cooler days, people switch on a terrace heater and shelter from the wind and enjoy the winter sun. 

This outdoor lifestyle is healthier and also results in far more social interaction, which is good for the soul.

In the summer, sunshine boosts vitamin D levels and promotes general well-being in most people.

All focus is on being outside, having barbecues, visiting the beach, sailing, walking, and socializing with friends at restaurants or bars rather than paying for cinema tickets or for the family to have a day at an overpriced theme park.

The Food Is Amazing

The abundance of locally grown fresh produce is staggering. Local markets are where you should shop and learn to live on fruit, veg, meat, cheese, and bread rather than going to the supermarket and looking for vacuum-packed ready meals. 

Low Cost Of Living

If your income comes outside of Turkey (such as pensions, investments, etc.), your income in Turkey can buy you much more than back in your home country.

Locally grown produce is incredibly affordable, as is eating out. For example, it is possible to live in Turkey on a fraction of the income you need in the U.K.

The Cons Of Living In Turkey

Turkish Bureaucracy

When you want to register your residency in Turkey and get a work permit or import your car and household effects, you will encounter reams of paperwork.

You will have to visit dozens of government offices that are barely open for more than a couple of hours each day, and you will find yourself being given contradictory information whichever way you turn. 

Also, remember most officials need to speak English.

One top tip: if you can find a willing and friendly runner who will assist you for a small fee, take up their offer of help.

No Universal Standards For Qualifications Of Tradespersons

Every man you meet in Turkey will tell you that he is a plumber, electrician, builder, plasterer, tiler, or whatever you say you are looking for. 

However, there needs to be training or qualifications to be gained in any aspect of the building trade, and chances are, you will have a better idea of how things are done. 

If you can attempt it, do it yourself. If you can’t, then we wish you the best of luck. Get referrals and recommendations from other expats.

Stray Animals

There are many strays, street dogs, and cats, which can be shocking for expats. However, the situation is getting better.

Quite a lot of stray dogs have ear tags and seem well cared for. They are looked after by an animal welfare organization, neutered and inoculated, and regularly checked according to their tag color and number.

You can help organizations look after stray animals with donations and volunteering. Or you can adopt a few animals as pets, as many expats do.


And there you have it—a whistle-stop tour of acquiring a social security number in Turkey. It’s one of those processes that might seem daunting initially, but with the right guidance (and a pinch of patience), you’ll navigate it like a pro.

Here’s to smooth sailing in your Turkish adventures!

SSN Sorted!

But wait! There’s lot more that you might be interested in following:

  • Citizenship In Turkey
  • Dual Citizenship In Turkey
  • Permanent Residence In Turkey