Updated on 30.03.2024. 

What is an unemployment compensation?

This is a financial compensation from the state that you can get if you lose your job for any reason. The purpose is to temporarily replace your lost income while you are looking for a new job. 

You are only entitled to such a compensation if you have been insured for a specified unemployment risk and have paid the contributions due for this.  

For example, people who have been legally employed under a labour contract are entitled to such a compensation. You are also entitled to unemployment compensation  if you are have refugee or humanitarian status, have temporary protection or you are an asylum seekers with an ongoing procedure and have worked for a sufficient period of time on a labour contract in the country. 



Important! You are not entitled to unemployment compensation if:

  • you've only worked on civil contracts.

You can find out more about the difference between a labour and  civil contract in our article


  • you are self-employed;
  • you have worked only on a short-term seasonal agricultural contract.

Under what conditions can I receive unemployment compensation? 

To receive this compensation you must:

  • Have a minimum of 12 months of paid social security installments in the last 18 months. This means you must have worked for at least 12 months in the 18 months before you became unemployed and have been insured for unemployment.

This includes time spent on paid and unpaid parental leave, temporary incapacity for work, pregnancy and maternity leave and unpaid leave of up to 30 working days in a calendar year.

  • Not work somewhere else that provides you unemployment insurance. 
  • Not be entitled to and do not receive a retirement pension, occupational early retirement pension in Bulgaria or an old-age pension in another country.
  • You have registered as unemployed with the Labour Bureau of the Employment Agency according to your address. 

Registration must be done no later than 7 days after you became unemployed. You can download a sample registration application from this link. If you miss this 7-day deadline, you lose your right to compensation.

Where should I apply? 

Once you have registered as unemployed with the Labour Bureau, you must submit a form to a local branch of the National Social Security Institute (NSSI)

Important! You must submit your application to the National Social Security Institute no later than 3 months after you become unemployed. If you submit it after the 3-month deadline, you can only claim a compensation from the date you submitted the application, not from the date you became unemployed. It will also reduce the period for which you can get a compensation (see Duration of unemployment compensation section below) with the months of delay. 

You must attach the following documents to your application:

  • Identity document (for reference)
  • an order from your former employer terminating your employment (for reference);
  • documents confirming that you have paid social security contributions under the legislation of a country with which Bulgaria has an international treaty or from another EU member state;

For example: There is an international treaty between Ukraine and Bulgaria which provides for aggregation of periods of insurance in the field of unemployment compensations.

If you submit a properly completed employment (service) record, you cannot be denied registration for failing to submit a termination order. 

You can apply in one of the following ways:

  • electronically with a qualified electronic signature (QES) or a personal identification code (PIC) issued by the National Social Security Institution (NSSI) through the portal of the NSSI;
  • electronically with a QES or PIC via the Secure Electronic Delivery System as a message to the account of the territorial branch of the NSSI in accordance with your permanent or current address. 


  • On paper at the Directorate of the Labour Bureau in accordance with your permanent or current address.

What is the amount of unemployment compensation I can get? 

In general, the amount of compensation depends on the amount of gross income you have received in the last 24 calendar months,

The daily cash unemployment compensation is 60 per cent of your average daily wage or earnings on which you were insured for the 24 months preceding the month in which you stopped being insured for the risk of unemployment. 

The monthly amount of unemployment compensation is determined by multiplying the resulting daily amount by the number of working days in the month to which it applies. 

Each year a minimum and maximum daily amount of unemployment benefit is set: for 2024 the minimum per day is 18 BGN and the maximum - 107.14 BGN. 

Duration of the unemployment compensation

How long you can receive unemployment benefit depends on how long you have worked and paid social security instalments. If you have worked:

  • up to 3 years you will be paid compensation for 4 months. 
  • over 3 years and 1 day up to 7 years - 6 months. 
  • over 7 years and 1 day to 11 years - 8 months.
  • over 11 years and 1 day to 15 years - 10 months.
  • over 15 years - 12 months. 

Important! If you have terminated your labour contract voluntarily or with your consent, or if you have been dismissed because of a fault of your own, even if you have worked for many years, you are only entitled to a minimum compensation period of 4 months;

Important! If you have already received unemployment compensation but you reapplied before 3 years were over, you will also only receive the minimum compensation for 4 months;

How is the compensation paid?

You should declare your personal payment bank account opened with a Bulgarian bank, indicating the IBAN to which the cash compensation will be paid each month. 

If you change your bank account, you must notify the NSSI immediately.


When is the compensation terminated? 

  • When you start an employment activity for which you are compulsorily insured for unemployment.
  • When your registration with the Labour Bureau is terminated.
  • When you are entitled to an old-age pension, an occupational early retirement pension or an old-age pension from another country.

If these circumstances occur, you must submit a declaration to the territorial branch of the National Social Security Institution within 7 working days of their occurrence, and you can do it again in the three ways described above. 

Benefits of  the unemployment compensation

In addition to the financial benefits, the time you have been receiving unemployment benefit counts towards your length of service. This is relevant for other types of rights that require you to have length of service - for example, entitlement to a retirement pension, etc. 

In addition, your compulsory health insurance contributions are covered by the state for the period you receive unemployment benefit. 

If I get a rejection or disagree with the amount of compensation?

In these cases, you can appeal to the head of the relevant territorial division of the National Social Security Institution within 14 days of receiving your decision.

Within 1 month  of receipt of the appeal, the head of the territorial division shall issue a reasoned decision. This decision may be appealed within 14 days of receipt before the competent administrative court.

For the purpose of the appeal, we advise you to consult a lawyer experienced in employment and social security law.