TN 4 (04-01)

GN 01709.020 Swiss Social Security Benefits

A. Introduction

The Swiss Social Security system pays retirement, survivors and disability benefits that are contributory and related to a worker's average earnings and other income and which are know as “ordinary” benefits. Supplementary benefits may also be paid under occupational benefit plans, and means-tested supplements may be paid by individual Swiss cantons. However, the only Swiss benefits included within the scope of the agreement are “ordinary” benefits. This section, therefore, describes only those benefits.

B. Policy — Swiss eligibility requirements

The eligibility requirements for Swiss ordinary retirement, survivors and disability benefits are shown below.

1. Retirement benefits

The eligibility requirements for Swiss ordinary retirement benefits are as follows:

a. Worker

  • Full benefit at age 65 for men. Reduced benefit as early as age 64 or, beginning 2001, as early as age 63.

  • Full benefit at age 62 for women increasing to age 63 in 2001 and age 64 in 2005. Beginning 2001, reduced benefit as early as age 62.

  • At least 1 year of coverage required if a Swiss citizen or resident, otherwise 10 years of coverage required.

b. Spouse

No provision.

c. Child

Additional pension paid to pensioner if child(ren) is(are) under age 19 (age 26 if in school).

2. Survivors benefits

Swiss survivors benefits may be paid to survivors if the deceased worker had at least 1 year of Swiss coverage. The survivor must meet the following requirements:

a. Widow

Any age if caring for a child of the worker under age 19 (age 26 if in school), or age 45 and married to the worker for at least 5 years.

b. Widower

Any age if caring for a child of the worker under age 19 (age 26 if student).

c. Widow's indemnity (lump sum)

Does not meet the requirements for a widow's pension (i.e., under age 45 and not caring for child), but married to worker for at least 5 years.

d. Divorced widow/widower

Any age if caring for a child under age 18 or there are one or more children (regardless of age) and marriage lasted at least 10 years. Age 45 if youngest child has reached age 18 or, if no children, marriage lasted at least 10 years.

e. Orphan

  • Under age 19 (age 26 if student), and

  • If the worker was the mother, she must have been covered under the Swiss system at time of death.

3. Disability benefits

Worker must be covered at the time the disability occurs. Workers who are not Swiss citizens must also reside in Switzerland and either have at least 1 full year of Swiss coverage or have resided in Switzerland for 10 years without interruption. The following additional requirements must be met:

a. Worker

  • Under retirement age.

  • At least 40% disabled.

b. Spouse

A supplement may be paid to a disabled worker whose spouse is not entitled to a retirement or disability benefit if the spouse has at least 1 year of Swiss coverage or resides in Switzerland.

c. Child

Same as for child of retired worker.

C. Procedure

Advise individuals that SSA cannot give official information about Swiss benefits. Refer those individuals who want official information to the following address:

Swiss Compensation Office
18 Avenue Ed. Vaucher
CH-1211, Geneva 28
SWITZERLAND

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0201709020
GN 01709.020 - Swiss Social Security Benefits - 03/11/2014
Batch run: 03/11/2014
Rev: