Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Switzerland - Invalidity pensions

In what situation can I claim?

There are three levels of invalidity benefits in Switzerland:

  • benefits of the invalidity insurance (1st pillar), topped up as needed by supplementary benefits;
  • benefits under the occupational benefit plans, a compulsory insurance for the majority of employees (2nd pillar);
  • benefits of the voluntary private savings plan (3rd pillar) that the insured persons may take out on an optional basis. This is encouraged through tax incentives. These benefits are also governed by contractual provisions and are not detailed in this chapter.

What conditions do I need to meet?

Invalidity pension under the basic scheme (1st pillar)

Anybody living or engaged in a paid employment in Switzerland (employees, self-employed persons and those not in work) is insured under the 1st pillar.

If you have work incapacity of at least 40% for 1 year and you are still disabled at the end of that year, you are entitled to an ordinary invalidity pension, provided that you can demonstrate at least 3 years of contributions.

You can apply for this pension from the age of 18 up to retirement age.

Supplementary benefits to the 1st pillar

These are granted if your means (pensions and other income) are not sufficient to cover your basic needs. These benefits apply to disabled persons as well as survivors and the elderly, who receive a pension under the AVS or AI, or receive certain other invalidity benefits.

Invalidity pension under the occupational benefit plans (2nd pillar)

The employees who receive from the same employer an annual salary greater than CHF 21,150 (EUR 18,045) are compulsorily insured under the 2nd pillar.

If you are disabled to the extent of at least 40% and were insured under the 2nd pillar when the incapacity to work which led to invalidity arose, you may claim an invalidity pension.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Invalidity pension under the basic scheme (1st pillar)

The invalidity pension is calculated according to the same principles as the old-age pension (see the chapter on Old-age benefits). It is dependent on the number of years of contributions as compared to the people from their own age class and the average annual income.

The amount of the pension varies according to the degree of invalidity:

Degree of invalidity:

Pension amount:

at least 70%

100% of the pension

at least 60%

75% of the pension

at least 50%

50% of the pension

at least 40%

25% of the pension

The full pension amount corresponds to the one of the old-age pension.

Entitlement to the invalidity pension ends as soon as you are no longer disabled or you can claim the old-age pension.

To assess the degree of invalidity, the income which you could have earned if you were not disabled is compared to that which you could earn in an occupation compatible with your state of health.

If you are not in work, your invalidity is assessed according to your capacity to carry out your usual activities (e.g. housework).

Supplementary benefits to the 1st pillar

If the invalidity pension under the 1st pillar and other income are not sufficient to cover the basic needs, supplementary benefits may be paid by the cantons.

To receive supplementary benefits, you must be habitually resident in Switzerland. If you are a foreign national, you must have resided in Switzerland without interruption for 10 years (5 years for refugees and stateless persons).

These benefits include the annual supplementary benefit, paid every month and the reimbursement of costs due to sickness and disability.

The amount of this benefit depends on each person's situation. It is calculated on the basis of your recognised expenses and determining income.

Applications for supplementary benefits must be submitted in writing to the appropriate office in your canton of residence, usually the cantonal compensation fund.

Other benefits

Note that a helplessness allowance may also be paid to people who need the help of a third party to carry out basic everyday tasks (see the chapter on Other disability-related cash benefits).

Invalidity pension under the occupational benefit plans (2nd pillar)

The invalidity pension is calculated according to the same principles as the old-age pension and also takes into account old-age credits projected up to retirement (see the chapter on Old-age benefits).

The pension amount also depends on the degree of invalidity.

Jargon busters

  • Invalidity: reduction in earnings capacity or the capacity to carry out usual activities (such as housework) following any impairment to physical, psychological or mental health. This incapacity is presumed to be permanent or long-lasting (at least 1 year). It may result from a congenital disease, sickness or accident.

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The following links provide additional information about your rights. They are not European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the Commission:

European Commission publications:

Who do you need to contact?

AI offices

The invalidity insurance offices can provide further information and direct you to the appropriate services.

Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO)

Effingerstrasse 20

3003 Bern

Tel. +41 584629011

Fax +41 584627880

The FSIO online

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