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French pension -- lump sum option?

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Having worked, on and off, as an auto-entrepreneur for the last few years I have accumulated the princely total of 9 trimestres of pension rights with CIPAV. Today I've spent a very long time hanging on their queueing system and managed to get through to a conseiller who seemed less than pleased with life.

Apparently I'll be receiving an estimation of my pension rights from CIPAV (I don't have any other French rights) sometime soon, when the ox cart gets here from Paris.

I'm sure I've seen somewhere that if your pension rights are below a certain threshold you can take a lump sum -- similar to recent UK practice -- but the nice CIPAV person didn't seem to understand my question.

Does anybody know if this lump sum information is correct? If so, please can anyone point me at an official Web site to find out more or, at the very least, tell me what the appropriate French phrase is for google searching and asking fonctionnaires questions.

This may well have an effect on how my CPAM health cover is funded, so I'd like to get some reliable information.
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Versement forfaitaire unique


If your pension entitlement falls below a certain threshold it is paid as a lump sum not as monthly payments.

In practice this seems to also mean that your health care is then paid for by the UK via an S1.

I am in a hurry so I will look for the amount concerned later..

I had one that was paid quarterly and have another that is paid annually as they are so small, but none of my three fall below the crucial figure..

Si le montant annuel de la pension de vieillesse, y compris ses

éventuelles majorations est inférieur à un seuil fixé par décret (156,09

€ au 1er avril 2013) la pension peut être, avec l’accord de son

bénéficiaire, payée sous la forme d’un versement forfaitaire unique

(VFU) égal à 15 fois le montant annuel de la pension (articles. L.

351-9, R. 351-26 du Code de la Sécurité sociale).


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There is no basic french pension as such.

It depends on how much you have earned and then they work out the figures based on your 25 best years, although how they get to the SAM as they call it, is still beyond me.

 I think that for someone who has paid up for the full number of trimestres: the minimum is around 687€ a month and the maximum is around 1500€ per month.

If you have the full number of trimestres including those from other EU countries, then depending on your earnings in France during that small period you worked, you should get something.

Ask whoever it going to pay up and  maybe you should read the NI contributions thread too.

Please note, you could well have stoppages from the amount of french pension you receive and IF you are in receipt of a french pension then you more than likely will not be able to use an S1 from the UK either.


just a thought.........

from what I have seen from the other thread the CIPAV is linked to the CNAVPL, but the other poster has not said whether it is; or it is the CIPAV basic pension points count. So not like the basic state pension, if it is like that.

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As idun says there

is no standard pension in France such as the OAP in the UK.

This leads to a lot

of confusion among British people who still tend to think the UK way.

A French pension is

calculated according to a formula to be found here:


As you will see this

involves finding:

1) your average


2) your 'taux'

3) the fraction

represented by how many 'trimesters' you have worked divided by 160

The most complicated

of these is the 'taux'. In theory someone with all the trimesters

will have the “taux maximum” which is 50% but this can be

reduced in different ways and usually will be greatly reduced for

Brits wh.o have only worked a short time in France


A sort of 'double

whammy' comes into effect if you haven't got a full set of

contributions, since both the taux AND the fraction over 160 are

reduced and these are multiplied together ...

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Thanks Idun.

It's clearly another of those areas where there are different rules for employees, artisans, professions liberales, farmers...

According to the booklet I got from CIPAV when signed up as an auto-entrepreneur if you take your pension after 65 then you get taux plein, which (I think) means they calculate what you are due without reductions for the number of trimestres.

That said, it involves a calculation of points based on AE (in my case) turnover so as I've only worked a few years I don't get much anyway, but still a bit above the lump sum threshold if I calculate aright.

I asked CIPAV for an estimation on Tuesday so I'll give them a week or so yet.

When I went in to CPAM earlier this week I started by explaining that I'd been an auto-entrepreneur from arriving in France until the end of last year, but as soon as the nice lady discovered that I had an S1 she brushed the AE bit to one side and told me to just put in my S1 (plus dossier, obviously) for health cover.

CIPAV is the caisse specifically for professions liberales whereas CNAV is 'la caisse nationale d'assurance vieillesse des salariés' and I've never been salarié in France.
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Thanks, Norman, but that's for salariés and I've never been one in France.

However, according to CIPAV rules if you are over 65 you get taux plein, regardless of your trimestre count, so at least I don't have to worry about that. If I've interpreted the rules and calculations correctly it looks like I'll qualify for 200-300€ per year.


Sorry to both you and Idun for not replying sooner -- life is a bit hectic here at present.
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Hi, Idun

Yup! as I understand it from the CIPAV booklet.

Vos droits se calcule sur 66% du chiffre d'affaires, c'est a dire votre benefice non-commercial (BNC)

The points are calculated as 1 point per 65.39€ of BNC.

If you retire before 65 the number of trimestres is also taken into account. After 65 you get the whole value of your points.(1 point = 0.532€

All values as of April 2010.
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