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