TN 3 (01-03)

GN 01713.020 Belgian Social Security Benefits – Eligibility Requirements

A. Introduction

Although Belgium pays many different categories of benefits, this section describes only the retirement, disability and survivors benefits. These are the only Belgian benefits included within the scope of the agreement.

B. Policy – Belgian eligibility requirements

1. Retirement Benefits

The eligibility requirements for Belgian retirement benefits are as follows:

a. Worker

  • Age 65; reduced benefit as early as age 60.

  • No minimum coverage requirement.

    Exception: Special requirements apply to miners and seamen.

    1. Miners

      • Age 60, if pension based on work in surface mining.

      • Age 55, if pension based on work in underground mining (any age, if at least 25 years of work in underground mining).

    2. Seamen

      Age 60, if at least 168 months of service at sea.

b. Spouse

There is no provision for benefits paid to spouses. However, a spouse’s supplement may be paid to a retired worker with a dependent spouse.

c. Divorced Wife

Age 60; reduced benefit as early as age 55.

d. Divorced Husband

There is no provision for divorced husbands’ benefits.

e. Children

There is no provision for children’s benefits.

NOTE: Belgium pays a benefit for children under age 16 (age 25 if student) or any age if disabled under a separate Family Allowance program which is not included within the scope of the agreement.

2. Disability Benefits

The eligibility requirements for Belgian disability benefits are as follows:

a. Worker

  • At least two-thirds disabled.

  • Disabled for 12 months (may receive short-term sickness benefits during this period).

  • Some recent work credits.

b. Dependents

There is no provision for benefits paid to dependents. However, workers who have dependents or require the constant attendance of a third party, may receive a higher disability benefit.

3. Survivor Benefits

There is no minimum length of coverage requirement for the deceased worker. The survivor must meet the following requirements:

a. Widow(er)

  • Age 45, or any age if caring for a child, disabled or if the deceased worked at least 20 years in underground mining.

  • Married to the worker for at least 1 year unless a child was born of the marriage or the worker’s death was an accident.

NOTE: A transitional pension is payable for up to 12 months if a widow(er) is ineligible for a regular benefit.

b. Divorced Widow

  • Age 60; reduced benefit as early as age 55.

  • Not entitled to benefits on her own record.

  • Not remarried.

c. Divorced Widower

There is no provision for divorced widowers’ benefits.

d. Children

There is no provision for benefits paid to children. However, benefits for orphans may be payable under the Family Allowance program which is not included within the scope of the agreement.

C. Procedure

Advise individuals that SSA cannot give official information about Belgian benefits. Refer those individuals who want official information to the Belgian agency responsible for the type of benefits involved as follows:

IF THE INQUIRY IS ABOUT

THEN REFER INDIVDUALS TO

Disability benefits

National Sickness/Invalidity
Insurance Institute
Tervurenlaan 211
B 1150 Brussels
BELGIUM

Retirement and survivors benefits for employees

National Employee’s Pension Office
Zuidertoren 3
B 1060 Brussels
BELGIUM

Retirement and survivors benefits for self-employed