Social security refers to important social welfare services provided by the Government and employers. Such services include; Health Insurance, Pension and Provident benefits, work place safety and social protection.

In social protection, the Government provides economic assistance to the aged, the disabled and vulnerable children to mitigate against the economic challenges arising from inability to engage in economically productive activities.

In Kenya, Some of the services are provided by institutions that are explained here under:

National Social Security Fund (NSSF)

Social security means securing one’s future income. Article 43 1 (e) provides that every Kenyan has a right to social security and commits the Government to take adequate measures to ensure social security of the citizenry.

The NSSF has legal mandate to provide social security to its members. The fund provides a platform in which workers make adequate contributions during their productive years to cater for their livelihoods in old age and other consequences arising there off, such as death or invalidity among others.

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Act, No.45 of 2013 was assented to on 24th December, 2013 and commenced on 10th January, 2014 thereby transforming NSSF from a Provident Fund to a Pension Scheme to which every Kenyan with an income shall contribute a percentage of his/her gross earnings so as to be guaranteed basic compensation in case of permanent disability, basic assistance to needy dependants in case of death and a monthly life pension upon retirement.

The Act establishes two Funds namely, the Pension Fund and the Provident Fund.The pension scheme is mandatory for all employees in the formal economy while the provident fund is voluntary and will cover the self-employed.

Read more to find information on the NSSF here

National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF)

The NHIF is a state Parastatal that was established in 1966 to provide affordable, accessible and sustainable medical cover

NHIF registers all eligible members from both the formal and informal sector. For those in the formal sector, it is compulsory to be a member. For those in the informal sector and retirees, membership is open and voluntary.

To register with NHIF as a member, one has to fill in the membership form, provide all the necessary information and attach all the required documents. To register as an employer, one has to fill in the employers form. Read more to find information on the NHIF here


The purpose of both pension and provident funds is to provide employees or their dependents with an income upon retirement. The main difference between these retirement funds is how one receive their fund benefit at retirement.

If one is a member of a pension fund, one may elect to receive up to a third of their retirement benefit as a cash lump sum, with the remaining two-thirds being paid monthly. This monthly income will be taxed at the average rate of taxation in retirement. If no cash lump sum is taken, full benefit will be paid monthly, resulting in a higher monthly pension.

If one is a member of a provident fund, one can choose to take their entire retirement benefit as a lump sum. A portion of this may be tax-free, one will be taxed on the portion which is not exempt from tax

There exist different pension scheme in the country. The Government operates a pension scheme for its employees in the public service while other public sector organisations and private sector actors operate individual pension or provident schemes.

Pension can either be contributory (Superannuation schemes) or Non-contributory. It is necessary to familiarize with the pension scheme within the organisation that you work for to ensure that the post retirement period is secure. The Pensions act Cap 189 details clearly on the benefits available for the beneficiary and the dependants.

Benefits under Work Injury Benefits Act (WiBA) and Group Personal Accident Cover (GPA)

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) provide that persons who suffer injury at the work place are entitled to compensation under the WIBA and GPA. The benefits are processed through the Directorate of Health and Safety services in the Ministry of Labour and East African Affairs. It is necessary that every employee familiarises him/herself with the legal statutes on the benefits, entitlements and the requirements .

Mortgage Scheme and Car Loans

The Government has developed a mortgage scheme to assist its employee’s in house development and ownership. All public servants as from January 2016 have access to house mortgages and car loans. Read more about NSRC here