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Glossary

C

Care Credits

Fictitious income, which is credited to the individual account of an insured person for each year in which they care for a close relative who receives a helplessness allowance on the grounds of moderate or severe incapacitation to supplement OASI, DI, accident insurance or military insurance. Care credits correspond to three times the minimum annual pension at the time your entitlement to them began. Care credits must be claimed annually.

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Central Compensation Office CCO

The Central Compensation Office CCO is the Confederation's central implementing body for first-pillar social security, which covers old-age and survivors' insurance OASI, disability insurance DI and compensation for loss of earnings APG. The CCO's mission is to implement international social security agreements.

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Child pension

Supplement to an old-age pension for insured persons who are supporting children up to the age of 18 (or 25 if they are completing education). If both parents draw an old-age pension, there is a right to two child pensions. Together, these must not exceed 60 % of the maximum old-age pension.

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Compensation office

Decentralised office handling OASI administration. There are cantonal compensation offices and professional compensation offices, which were established for companies in specific sectors. Additionally, the Swiss government has two compensation offices: The Federal Compensation Office, which is the compensation office for federal employees, and the Swiss Compensation Office, which is responsible for all insured persons abroad and the voluntary OASI.

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Contribution Gap

Anyone who does not pay contributions every year from 1 January following their 20th birthday until 31 December before reaching the reference age or who does not have a right to parental credits or care credits, has contribution gaps. These result in a reduction in your pension. They can be made up for fully or in part with youth years.

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Contribution period

The contribution period and the relevant average annual income are the key elements for calculating your old-age pension. For old-age pensions, the full contribution period for men and women is 44 years. Those with full contribution records have a right to a full pension. If there is a gap in your contribution record, you only have a right to a partial pension. Every missing contribution year results in a reduction in the pension (1/ 44 per year).

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D

Deferring the old-age pension

Individuals who have reached pension age can defer their entire pension by a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years (it is possible to cancel this on a monthly basis before the end of the maximum deferral period). If you defer your old-age pension, you forego drawing a pension for the duration of the deferral. You can cancel the deferral in any month of your choosing. The deferral results in a supplement to the pension amount of between 5.2 % and 31.5 % depending on the duration of the deferral period.

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Drawing your pension early

Women can draw their entire old-age pension from the age of 62 and men from the age of 63. Drawing your pension early results in a lifelong reduction in your pension of 6.8 % for one year and 13.6 % for two years.

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F

Family Allowances

Family allowances are both a social security and family policy matter. The purpose of these benefits is to partially compensate for the costs of raising children. There are three types of family allowance: child’s allowance, education allowance and birth/adoption allowance.

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Full pension

A full pension (44 contribution years) is paid if the person has made contributions continuously from 1 January following their 20th birthday until they become eligible for insurance (age, death, disability).

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I

Income compensation allowance in the event of service or maternity (EO / MSE)

The loss of earnings compensation (EO) partially compensates for the loss of earnings arising from the performance of military, civil protection or alternative civilian service. The law governing this scheme has since been amended to include maternity insurance (maternity allowance); it entered into force on 1 July 2005.

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Individual Account

The compensation offices have an individual account (IA) for each person who pays OASI contributions. Income and care credits are entered on this account. A person can have an individual account with multiple compensation offices. To calculate the payments, the individual’s IAs are combined with their OASI number (AHV-Nummer).

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Invalidity Insurance

Invalidity insurance aims to restore or improve the earning capacity of individuals who are disabled as the result of a congenital or other illness, or as the result of an accident. Individuals will receive an IV pension only when it is determined that their professional (re)integration is impossible. In this system, rehabilitation measures are always preferred above pension payments.

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M

Maximum pension

Legal maximum amount depending on the relevant average annual income and the contribution period. The maximum pension is double the minimum pension.

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O

Obligation to pay contributions

OASI is mandatory for all persons living or working in Switzerland. When and what contributions you must pay depends on whether you are an employee, a self-employed person or a non-employed person.

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Old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI)

Old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI) is the cornerstone of the Swiss social insurance system. It grants pensions of two basic types: old age pensions to people of retirement age, and so called survivors' pensions to spouses or dependent children of a deceased insured person. Old-age pensions should enable their beneficiaries to retire with a considerable measure of financial autonomy. Survivors' pensions aim to ensure that families already burdened by the death of a close family member are spared financial hardship.

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Orphan’s pension

Children up to 18 years old (or 25 years old if they are completing education) whose father or mother has died, are entitled to an orphan’s pension. This corresponds to 40 % of the old-age pension of the deceased. If both parents have died, two orphan’s pensions are paid, which together correspond to 60 % of the maximum old-age pension.

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P

Parental Credits

Fictitious income, which is awarded to an insured person when calculating their pension for each year in which they had parental responsibility for children under 16 years. Parental credits correspond to three times the minimum annual pension at the time your entitlement to them began.

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Pension age

Age from which insured persons can draw their old-age pension without any reduction. This is 64 years for women and 65 for men.

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Pension ceiling

The combined individual pensions of a married couple must not exceed 155 % (3 555 franchs, 2020) of the maximum pension for single individuals. If this maximum amount is exceeded, the individual pensions will be capped accordingly.

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R

Relevant average annual income

A person’s relevant average annual income consists of revalued average earnings (contributions from employment, non-employed contributions, split income), as well as the average parental credits and care credits.

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Revaluation factor

The revaluation factor raises the income from previous years to the current wage level. Its basis is the first entry (on the individual account) taken into consideration when calculating the pension.

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S

Splitting

When calculating the pension, a couple’s combined income during the years of their marriage is divided equally between them. The division of the spouses’ combined income only takes into account calendar years in which both were insured. Splitting occurs as soon as both spouses have reached the reference age, are divorced or if a widowed person is entitled to an old-age pension.

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Supplementary Benefits

Supplementary benefits may be claimed when old-age or invalidity pensions and other income are not sufficient to meet minimal living costs. They are meant to ensure that the elderly as well as the surviving family members of pension beneficiaries and the disabled have sufficient means to cover their basic living expenses. Several private charitable foundations - Pro Senectute, Pro Infirmis, Pro Juventute - also grant financial assistance to individuals in need.

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W

Widow’s and widower’s pension

Pension for a spouse or registered partner, who has children when widowed. Widows and widowers only have a right to such a pension for as long as they have children under the age of 18. Childless widows also have a right to such a pension if they are over 45 when widowed and were married for at least five years. The widow’s and widower’s pension corresponds to a maximum of 80 % of the old-age pension. If someone is entitled to OASI or DI at the same time as the widow / widower’s pension, only the higher pension is paid.

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Y

Youth Years

Employees and self-employed persons pay OASI contributions from 1 January following their 17th birthday, non-employed persons pay from 1 January following their 20th birthday. The three years between these two dates are referred to as “youth years”. They are not taken into consideration when calculating your pension but can fill contribution gaps in later years (up to three later years).

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