BASIC (09-05)

GN 01745.020 Japanese Social Security Benefits – Eligibility Requirements

A. Introduction

Japanese Social Security benefits consist of two separate components:

1. National Pension (NP)

The NP, or first tier, is a contributory program that covers all residents of Japan. NP or “basic” benefits are paid in flat-rate amounts that are prorated according to the number of years of contributions.

2. Employees’ Pension Insurance (EPI)

The EPI program (second tier) covers all workers employed in firms with at least 5 employees, while three smaller earnings-related programs cover distinct occupational groups under government-sponsored mutual aid societies. Benefits under the second-tier programs are based on the worker’s years of contributions and earnings levels, and are intended to supplement the NP benefit.

B. Policy - Worker

1. Retirement Benefits

The eligibility requirements for Japanese retirement benefits under the NP and EPI programs are as follows:

a. National Pension

  • Full benefit at age 65 or a reduced benefit as early as age 60.

  • A minimum of 25 years of NP coverage is required.

b. Employees’ Insurance Pension

  • Full benefit at age 60 (age 55 for seamen and miners).

  • A minimum of 25 years of coverage is required, including coverage under the three mutual aid pension programs.

2. Disability Benefits

The eligibility requirements for Japanese disability benefits under the NP and EPI programs are as follows:

a. National Pension

  • Class I disability benefits are payable if the applicant is totally disabled and constant care is required.

  • Class II disability benefits are payable if the applicant is unable to work due to disability.

  • The applicant must be covered under NP (or, if age 60 through 64, be a resident of Japan) on the date of first medical examination establishing the disability.

  • The applicant must have coverage credited for at least two-thirds of the period between age 20 and the date of the medical examination.

b. Employees’ Pension Insurance

  • Class I or Class II disability benefits are payable to the applicant for the same factors as under NP.

  • The applicant must be covered under EPI on the date of first medical examination establishing the disability

  • The applicant must have coverage credited for at least two-thirds of the period between age 20 and the date of medical examination.

  • Class III disability benefits are payable to people with a partial disability that doesn’t prevent them from working.

  • A lump-sum disability allowance may be payable if the degree of disability is less than Class III.

C. Policy - Dependents of Retired or Disabled Workers

The eligibility requirements for dependents of retired or disabled workers under the Japanese NP and EPI programs are as follows:

1. Spouse

a. National Pension

There is no provision for spouses’ benefits of retired or disabled workers.

b. Employees’ Insurance Pension

There is no provision for spouses’ benefits. However, a supplement is payable to a retired or disabled (Class I or Class II only) worker who has at least 20 years of EPI coverage (not counting NP coverage or exempt periods) and has a dependent spouse. An additional supplement is payable for a dependent spouse under age 65.

2. Divorced Spouse

There is no provision under either the NP or the EPI for divorced spouses’ benefits.

3. Children

a. National Pension

There is no provision for children’s benefits of a retired worker. However, a supplement is payable to a Class I or Class II disability worker for dependent children under age 18 (age 20 if disabled).

b. Employees’ Pension Insurance

There is no provision for children’s benefits. However, a supplement is payable to a retired or disabled (Class I or Class II only) worker for dependent children under age 18 (age 20 if disabled).

D. Policy - Survivors

Under both the NP and EPI programs, the deceased must be covered or receiving a pension at the time of death and have coverage for at least two-thirds of the period from age 20 to the date of death.

1. Widow

Under both the NP and EPI programs, benefits are payable to a dependent widow who is caring for the deceased’s child under age 18 (age 20 if disabled). The widow’s benefit includes a supplement for children.

2. Other Survivors

a. National Pension

A separate benefit is payable to orphans under age 18 (age 20 if disabled).

b. Employees’ Pension Insurance

If there is no widow caring for the deceased’s child, benefits may be paid to another survivor of the worker in order of the following priority:

  • Orphans under age 18 (age 20 if disabled).

  • Childless widow.

  • Widower.

  • Parents age 55 or older.

  • Grandchildren under age 18 (age 20 if disabled).

  • Grandparents age 55 or older.

3. Lump-Sum Death Benefit

a. National Pension

The benefit is payable if the deceased contributed for at least 3 years, was not entitled to a benefit, and had dependents who are not entitled to survivors benefits.

b. Employees’ Pension Insurance

There is no provision for a lump-sum death benefit.

E. Policy - Refund of Japanese Contributions

Foreign workers can receive a partial refund of NP and EPI contributions if the worker:

  • Is not eligible for any Japanese benefits,

  • Has contributed for 6 months or longer under NP or EPI,

  • Left Japan after November 8, 1994, and

  • Requests the refund within 2 years after leaving Japan.

F. Procedure

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

Japan Pension Service
3-5-24 Takaido-nishi
Administration Department
Suginami-ku
Tokyo 168-8505
JAPAN

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0201745020
GN 01745.020 - Japanese Social Security Benefits - Eligibility Requirements - 01/05/2010
Batch run: 01/05/2010
Rev:01/05/2010