Act No. 5510: Revolutionizing Turkey’s Social Safety Net

November 9, 2023by Bünyamin Esen0

In the ever-evolving landscape of Turkey’s social security system, the Social Insurance and General Healthcare Insurance Act No. 5510 stands as a beacon of change and progress. Officially known as “the Social Insurance and General Health Insurance Law,” this legislation, which is being enacted partially on the date of May 31, 2008 and partially, on the date of October 31, 2008, has left an indelible mark on how Republic of Turkey provides financial protection and healthcare access to its citizens. In this piece, we will delve into the key provisions and implications of Act No. 5510, highlighting its role as the cornerstone of Turkey’s reshaped social security system.


A Unified Approach

One of the primary goals of the Act No. 5510 is to create a seamless and integrated social security system, designed to encompass all Turkish citizens. The law introduced a three-pillar system, merging various existing schemes into a single, comprehensive framework. This shift from fragmented programs to a unified structure was nothing short of a social security revolution.

After enacted in 2008, under the umbrella of the Act No. 5510, social insurance became mandatory for most Turkish employees, spanning both the public and private sectors. This means that a significant portion of the working population is now covered by diverse insurance funds, which include retirement and disability coverage.

The Act No. 5510 covers short-term and long-term social insurance branches within a single unified governence. The governance of the system is entitled to the Social Security Institution, which is a public body established with the Act No. 5502 in 2006.

The law also brought into being a General Health Insurance scheme, offering healthcare access to all Turkish citizens and residents of the country. This has been a game-changer, providing them with healthcare services through an extensive network of healthcare providers.

Benefits and Challenges

The implementation of the Act No. 5510 hasn’t been without its fair share of ups and downs. On the upside, the law has expanded health coverage to a broader segment of the population, granting access to healthcare services for many who were previously uninsured. It’s also bolstered the financial stability of social insurance funds, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the system.

However, as with any revolutionary change, challenges abound. Critics point to administrative and logistical hurdles in harmonizing different schemes and reevaluating contribution rates. Social insurance schemes of employees, self-employed and public employees are kep strictly seperate from one another. There are also concerns about the adequacy of benefits and the effectiveness of social assistance programs in reaching those in need.


Yet, the Act No. 5510 represents a turning point in Turkey’s social security system. It has transformed an outdated and fragmented framework into a more comprehensive and universal model. While it has indeed ushered in positive changes, there are issues that still need attention and refinement in the years to come.

Nevertheless, the legislation underscores Turkey’s dedication to enhancing the welfare of its citizens, ensuring access to vital social services, and shielding them from the financial risks associated with illness, disability, and old age. Act No. 5510 continues to be a crucial piece of legislation shaping the future of social security in Turkey, paving the way for a more equitable and inclusive society.

Bünyamin Esen

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