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Austria - Old-age pensions and benefits

In what situation can I claim?

You may be entitled to old-age benefits if you reach the required age and if you have completed the necessary number of insurance periods. In principle, the standard old-age pension and various forms of early retirement pension are available.

The standard old-age pension (Altersrente) is a continuous cash payment intended to provide financial security in old age, i.e. at the end of normal working life. Currently, the pensionable age in Austria is 60 for women and 65 for men.

Early retirement pension (vorzeitige Altersrente) is a continuous cash payment provided before the normal retirement age.

What is covered?

Standard old-age pension

In order to be entitled to the standard old-age pension, you have to complete a certain minimum pension insurance period in Austria.

Persons who had not reached the age of 50 and had no insurance period by 1 January 2005 have to complete 180 months of insurance, at least 84 of which must be accumulated on the grounds of an occupational activity. Persons who reached the age of 50 by 1 January 2005 have to complete 180 months of insurance over the past 360 calendar months, or 180 months of contributions or 300 months of insurance cover without any reference period.

Persons who had not reached the age of 50 by 1 January 2005, but had accumulated at least one month of insurance, will benefit from the most favourable arrangement.

Certain periods for which publicly funded contributions are paid are also recognised as contribution periods. These include: child-raising periods (Kindererziehungszeiten) for a maximum of four years per child (5 years for twins), periods of military or war service and assimilated periods (e.g. civilian service), periods of maternity leave when maternity benefit (Wochengeld) is received, and periods when unemployment benefit (Arbeitslosengeld) or sickness cash benefit (Krankengeld) is received.

Early retirement pension

You can claim corridor pension at the age of 62 if you have completed 40 insurance years. In fact, this applies only to men because of women’s lower retirement age.

Heavy-labour pension may be claimed at the age of 60 for persons performing heavy work, provided they have done this for at least 10 years out of the preceding 20 years, and have completed at least 45 insurance years.

Moreover, there are other forms of early retirement pension for persons born in certain years, but these are being phased out and are now of only minor importance.

If a person starts work again, early retirement pensions will be suspended.

Both the standard old-age pension and the early retirement pension are taxed.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Standard old-age pension

The amount of the standard old-age pension is calculated taking into account the claimant’s age, length of insurance and the amount of contributions paid by the claimant. For persons below the age of 50 at 1 January 2005, a benefit-defined pension account system based on current-income financing (“pay-as-you-go”) is in force.

Under this system, pension entitlements acquired are calculated each year. The basis for calculation is the average income in a calendar year, subject to a ceiling (maximum contribution basis). For each calendar year, 1.78% of this amount is credited to the pension account.

For persons who had reached the age of 50 by 1 January 2005, the legislation applicable by the end of 2004 still applies. The pension calculation basis is the average income of the 26 best insurance years. This period will be gradually increased to 40 years of insurance by 2028. For each insurance year, 1.78% of the calculation basis is credited to the pension account.

Pensions from 1 January 2004 onwards may be no more than 5% lower than the comparable pension at 31 December 2003. This figure will be gradually increased to 10% by 2024.

You can download the "Pension Increase Calculator" here and find out how the amount of your pension changes.

Pension is paid in 14 annual instalments. Your April and October pension instalments include a supplement.

Early retirement pension

If you take early retirement, your pension is reduced by 4.2% a year. The reduction for corridor pension is 5.1% and, for heavy labour pension, 1.8%. However, your pension is reduced by not more than 15%. If retirement is deferred, the pension will be increased by 4.2% per calendar year, up to a maximum increase of 12.6%.

Compensatory supplement

If your monthly pension(s), along with other income, is/are below certain reference levels, a compensation supplement is paid to the level of the difference between your income and the reference level. Other income includes income from a spouse living in the same household. This supplement may be increased in case of dependent children. If you are in need of care, long-term care benefit may also be provided.

As a rule, pension is paid on application only.

If you have completed insurance periods through pension schemes in other EU or EEA Member States, you do not need to claim your pension in each state separately. You only need to indicate, when making your application in Austria, that you have also completed foreign insurance periods. Your insurance provider will then contact the competent office in the country concerned and initiate an inter-state pension approval process.

Whenever you have to fulfil certain conditions before being able to claim an Austrian social security benefit, the authorities will also take into account any insurance periods you have completed in other countries. This applies to EU Member States and to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. No insurance period you have completed in Austria will be affected if you work or are insured in one of these countries.

Jargon busters

Compensatory supplement - A compensatory supplement is a cash benefit paid in addition to calculated pension that makes up a total amount equivalent to minimum income. The compensatory supplement itself is the difference between the individual pension, other creditable net income and the reference levels for the compensatory supplement, which is adjusted each year in a regulation issued by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection. You have to be permanently resident in Austria in order to receive the compensatory supplement.

Pension approval process - Anyone who has completed pension insurance periods in more than one Member State is often confronted with the problem of having to claim pension in each country separately. In each EU and EEA Member state, pension insurance periods and contributions will be maintained until the claimant reaches the retirement age laid down by the laws of that state. The principle of aggregation of insurance periods applies. Each State takes these periods and any relevant periods completed within its own system into account. Each State also verifies that the aggregated insurance periods are sufficient for entitlement to pension under its legislation. If entitlement does exist under these conditions, each of the States pays a separate pension, only taking into account the periods completed within its own system.

Habitual residence - the terms ‘permanent residence’ and ‘habitual residence’ are defined under EU law. Please see the EU Regulation on the coordination of social security systems. In practice, it means the place where you have your centre of interests.

Forms you may need to fill in

As a rule, pensions are paid on application only. This application should preferably be submitted to the competent pension insurance fund, using an appropriate form. However, it may also be submitted at any sickness insurance fund or local authority. Applications without specific form will also be evaluated. Late applications will incur a cost.

Forms to download:

Application for:

Online forms to be filled in:

A list of harmonised EU forms for the transfer of social security entitlements between the Member States. The form for Austria is available from AMS.

Know your rights

The links below set out your rights in law. However, they are not official European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the Commission:

Commission publications:

Whom do you need to contact?

Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection

Stubenring 1

1010 Vienna

AUSTRIA

T: +43 1711000

E: post@sozialministerium.at

http://www.sozialministerium.at

Main Association of Austrian Security Institutions

Kundmanngasse 21

1030 Vienna

AUSTRIA

T: +43 71132-0

E: posteingang.allgemein@hvb.sozvers.at

http://www.hauptverband.at

Pension Insurance Institution, Main Office

Friedrich-Hillegeist-Straße 1

1021 Vienna

AUSTRIA

T: +43 50303

E: pva@pensionsversicherung.at

http://www.pensionsversicherung.at

Pension Insurance Institution offices