If you live permanently in Spain or own property here, then you should be on the empadronamiento of your local municipality. If I appear to be preaching to the converted, then I apologize, but there are still a lot of people out there who are suspicious that registering on the padron will result in the Spanish Government chasing them for taxes. This could not be further from the truth. In fact it is nothing more than a census of people living in the municipality, costs nothing to register and has benefits for both yourself and the ayuntamiento. In my own municipality simply being on the padron gets a discount on the IBI (Council Tax). If this is coupled with payment on time and by direct debit the discount is 30%. For pensioners there can also be discounts on travel and other local facilities.
The Town Hall also receives a grant from the Regional Government commensurate with the number of people registered. So, the more people there are registered, the more money they receive, the better the services they can provide. The next time you feel like complaining about the lack of police, poor street cleaning, and graffiti etc. then ask yourself if you are registered. If not go ahead and do it.
There can also be other longer-term benefits. The 2007 "Ley de Dependencia" (Law of Dependency) details what assistance is available to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, who can no longer look after themselves and who do not have available funds to pay for care. To qualify for assistance, be it home help or residential care, the person must gave held a certificate of residence for 5 years and have been on the padron for 5 years. Admittedly, even when these criteria are met it can still take 12 to 18 months before the service can be delivered. This time period may also depend on where you live and what demand there is on the local Social Welfare services. Unfortunately no one can foresee that in 18 months they may need this level of assistance. But it is a start and a far cry from the days when the family were expected to meet all these needs.
Finally, if you hold a certificate of residence and are on the empadronamiento you will be eligible to vote in the local and European elections.
So, If you are not registered, I would urge you to do it and tell all your friends as well. You can pick up the paperwork from your Town Hall.