Social Security Programs Throughout the World: Europe, 2002

 

Austria

Exchange rate: U.S.$1.00 equals 1.12 euros (€).

Old Age, Disability, and Survivors

Regulatory Framework

First laws: 1909 (salaried employees) and 1939 (wage earners).

Current laws: 1955 (employees) and 1979 (self-employed).

Type of program: Social insurance system.

Coverage

Wage earners and salaried employees (separate systems with essentially identical provisions) earning €301.54 or more a month, and apprentices.

Special systems for miners, notaries, public employees, and self-employed persons in trade, industry, and agriculture.

Source of Funds

Insured person: 10.25% of earnings.

Employer: 12.55% of payroll.

Government: Any deficits; also cost of nursing care insurance and income-tested allowance.

Maximum earnings for contribution and benefit purposes are €3,270 a month (amount adjusted annually).

Qualifying Conditions

Old-age pension: Age 65 (men) or 60 (women); 180 months of insurance coverage in the last 30 years, 300 months of insurance, or 180 months of contributions.

Early pension is payable at age 61.5 (men) or 56.5 (women) after 1 year of unemployment, or receipt of cash sickness benefits, or 35 years of insurance. Early pension is suspended if earnings are above €301.54 a month. Partial pension payable at age 61.5 (men) or 56.5 (women).

Reciprocity or international agreement is required for payments abroad beyond 2 months except in member states of the European Union.

Disability pension: Loss of 50% of earning capacity compared with insured person with similar education and 60 months of contributions (plus 1 month for each age month from age 50) in the last 10 years (plus 2 months for each age month from age 50), 300 months of insurance, or 180 months of contributions in total. Qualifying conditions may be relaxed for persons aged 57 or older. Partial pension if monthly earnings above €907.45.

Survivor pension: Insured met insurance or contribution requirements for disability pension or was a pensioner at death.

Old Age, Disability, and Survivors

Old-age pension: Benefit accrues at 2% of the assessment base (revalued average earnings in best 15 years up to a maximum of €2,886.14 a year) for each year of insurance.

Benefit is reduced for early retirement by either 3% of the assessment base per year up to a maximum of 10.5% or by 15% of the total percentage due (calculated by multiplying 2% by the years of insurance), whichever is more favorable to the pensioner. Increase for deferred retirement is 4% of assessment base per year. Maximum benefit is 80% of assessment base (up to 90% in the case of late retirement).

Child's supplement: €29.07 for each child under age 18 (27 if student, no limit if child is disabled.)

Income-tested allowance: Amount raising pension to €630.92 a month for an individual, €900.13 for a married couple, plus €67.15 for each child for which a person receives a child's supplement.

Schedule of payments: 14 payments a year.

Benefit adjustment: Adjusted annually.

Care benefit: Pensioners in need of personal care may be entitled to a monthly benefit varying from €145.40 up to €1,531.50 (in 7 levels) depending on the amount of care required. The benefit is paid 12 times per year.

Permanent Disability Benefits

Disability pension: See old-age pension. If younger than age 56.5, insurance is projected to that age for benefit purposes. Maximum is 60% of assessment base.

Care benefit: Pensioners in need of personal care may be entitled to a monthly benefit varying from €145.40 up to €1,531.50 (in 7 levels) depending on the amount of care required. The benefit is paid 12 times per year.

Survivor Benefits

Survivor pension: Widow or widower receives up to 60% of pension of insured. Rates under 60% may be increased to 60%, depending on the beneficiary's total income.

Income-tested allowance: Amount raising survivor pension to €630.92 a month.

Orphan's pension: 40% of spouse pension, or 60% if full orphan, for each orphan under age 18 (27 if student, no limit if orphan is disabled).

Income-tested allowance: Amount raising orphan's pension to €235.63, or full orphan's pension to €353.79; after age 24, raises orphan's pension to €418.70 and full orphan's pension to €630.92 a month.

Schedule of payments: 14 payments a year.

Benefit adjustment: Adjusted annually.

Care benefit: Pensioners in need of personal care may be entitled to a monthly benefit varying from €145.40 up to €1,531.50 (in 7 levels) depending on the amount of care required. The benefit is paid 12 times per year.

Administrative Organization

Federal Ministry of Social Security and Generations performs general supervision.

Manual Workers' Pension Insurance Institution and Salaried Employees' Pension Insurance Institution (single institution from 2003) administers pensions (separate institutions for railroads, mining, and agricultural and nonagricultural self-employed).

Self-governing agencies are managed by elected representatives of insured persons and employers.

Sickness funds collect contributions, transmit them to pension insurance institutions, and maintain contribution records for individual workers. Special funds equalize surpluses and deficits between various systems.

Sickness and Maternity

Regulatory Framework

First law: 1888.

Current laws: 1955 (employees), 1960 (maternity), 1974 (cash benefits for wage earners), and 1979 (self-employed).

Type of program: Social insurance system; cash and medical benefits.

Coverage

Employed persons earning €301.54 or more a month, apprentices, and pensioners.

Special systems for public and railway employees and self-employed in agriculture, trade, and industry.

Source of Funds

Insured person: Wage earners, 3.95% of wages; salaried employees, 3.4% of salary; pensioners, 3.75% of pension.

Employer: Wage earners, 3.65% of payroll; salaried employees, 3.5%.

Government: 70% of cash maternity benefits.

Maximum earnings for contribution and benefit calculation purposes are €3,270 a month (amount adjusted annually).

Qualifying Conditions

Sickness and maternity benefits: Currently in covered employment.

Sickness and Maternity Benefits

Sickness benefit: Employer pays 100% of earnings for up to 12 weeks (plus additional 4 weeks at 50%) depending on length of service.

After right to full benefit from employer is exhausted, sickness funds pay 50% (60% after 6 weeks) of covered earnings (25% to those receiving 50% of earnings from employer) plus family supplements for 26 to 52 weeks depending on length of contributions. Maximum is 75% of covered earnings.

Maternity benefit: Equals 100% of earnings for 8 weeks before the expected date of childbirth and 8 weeks after giving birth (12 to 16 weeks after childbirth in special cases).

Workers' Medical Benefits

Service benefits are ordinarily provided by doctors, hospitals, and pharmacists under contract with and paid directly by sickness funds; some funds operate own clinics or hospitals. Includes medical (including psychotherapy), maternity, and dental care; hospitalization; medicines; appliances; home nursing; preventive examinations; and transportation.

Patients pay €4.14 per prescription, part of the cost for dental care, and up to 20% of the cost of appliances. Cost-sharing is at least €21.80 for appliances. Exceptions for patients of limited means.

No limit on duration of benefits.

Dependents' Medical Benefits

Same as for insured person but with 10% cost-sharing during first 4 weeks of hospitalization. Wife receives same maternity care as insured woman.

Administrative Organization

Federal Ministry of Social Security and Generations performs general supervision. Nine district and nine occupational sickness funds administer contributions and benefits. Special funds for railroad, mining, and public employees.

Self-governing agencies, managed by elected representatives of insured persons and employers.

Work Injury

Regulatory Framework

First law: 1887.

Current law: 1955.

Type of program: Social insurance system.

Coverage

Employed and self-employed persons, apprentices, and students.

Special system for public employees.

Source of Funds

Insured person: Employed persons, none. Self-employed persons contribute.

Employer: 1.4% of payroll.

Government: Federal government contributes to accident insurance of farmers.

Maximum assessment base per employee for contribution and benefit calculation purposes is €3,270 a month (amount adjusted annually).

Family Allowances Equalization Fund reimburses the General Accident Insurance Fund for accident insurance of students.

Qualifying Conditions

Work injury benefits: No minimum qualifying period.

Temporary Disability Benefits

Temporary disability benefit: If sick, the claimant receives sickness benefit until decision on permanent disability is made. For sickness benefit, the employer pays 100% of earnings for up to 12 weeks (plus additional 4 weeks at 50%) depending on length of service.

After right to full benefit from employer is exhausted, sickness funds pay 50% (60% after 6 weeks) of covered earnings (25% to those receiving 50% of earnings from employer) plus family supplements for 26 to 52 weeks depending on length of contributions. Maximum is 75% of covered earnings.

Permanent Disability Benefits

Permanent disability pension: Full pension if 100% reduction in earning capacity: 66.6% of assessment base (average earnings during last year prior to disablement). A prorated partial pension is payable from 20% reduction in earning capacity.

Supplementary pension: Payable at 20% of disability pension if reduction in earning capacity is 50% to 70%; 50% if reduction is higher.

Child's supplement: 10% of disability pension if 50% or higher reduction in earning capacity for each child under age 18 (27 if in vocational training, no age limit if child is disabled). Maximum is €76.31.

Total of disability pension, supplementary pension, and child's supplements cannot exceed 100% of assessment base.

Care benefit: Those in need of personal care may be entitled to a monthly benefit varying from €145.40 up to €1,531.50 (in 7 levels) depending on the amount of care required. The benefit is paid 12 times per year.

Benefit adjustment: Adjusted annually.

Workers' Medical Benefits

Comprehensive care, including rehabilitation (first 4 weeks provided under sickness insurance). Allowances for training and relocation.

Survivor Benefits

Survivor pension: 40% of assessment base (average earnings during last year prior to disablement) if age 60 or disabled; otherwise, 20% of earnings, payable to widow or to dependent disabled widower.

Orphan's pension: 20% of assessment base for each orphan, or 30% if full orphan and under age 18 (27 if student, no limit if orphan is disabled).

Total of survivor and orphan's pensions cannot exceed 80% of assessment base.

Schedule of payments: 14 per year.

Benefit adjustment: Adjusted annually.

Other benefits: Partial reimbursement of funeral and transportation costs (at least €945).

Administrative Organization

Federal Ministry of Social Security and Generations performs general supervision.

General Accident Insurance Institution administers long-term benefits (separate institution for railway employees, public employees, and agricultural self-employed).

Sickness funds collect contributions and transmit them to accident insurance institutions.

Unemployment

Regulatory Framework

First law: 1920.

Current law: 1977.

Type of program: Compulsory insurance system.

Coverage

Employed persons (except public employees) earning €301.54 or more a month, and apprentices.

Source of Funds

Insured person: 3% of earnings.

Employer: 3% of payroll.

Government: Any deficit.

Maximum earnings for contribution and benefit calculation purposes is €3,230 a month (amount adjusted annually).

Qualifying Conditions

Unemployment benefit: 28 weeks of contributions in last 12 months; or 52 weeks in last 24 months if first claim (reference period extended for sickness, unemployment, noninsured employment, and so on). Registered at employment office; capable of and willing to work. Unemployment not due to voluntary departure without good reason, misconduct, work stoppage, or refusal of suitable offer (disqualification usually lasts 4 weeks).

Unemployment Benefits

55% of net earnings.

Minimum benefit is €4.08 a day; maximum benefit is €33.82 a day. Dependents' supplements are 1/30 of €29.07 a day for each dependent, but total benefit including base amount cannot be more than 80% of net earnings.

Payable for up to 20 weeks. Payment can be extended to 30 weeks (if 156 weeks of insurance in last 5 years); to 39 weeks (aged 40 or older if 312 weeks of insurance in last 10 years); to 52 weeks (aged 50 or older if 468 weeks of insurance in last 15 years); and to 78 weeks (certain groups of older workers if 780 weeks of insurance in the last 25 years).

Emergency assistance (92% to 95% of unemployment benefit, according to number of dependents) is payable to unemployed citizens without time limit when insurance benefits are exhausted.

Administrative Organization

Federal Ministry of Economy and Labor administers benefits.

Regional offices of the labor market service pay benefits and offer job-seeking services.

Family Allowances

Regulatory Framework

First law: 1948.

Current law: 1967.

Type of program: Universal system.

Coverage

Permanent residents with one or more children. (Aliens are eligible if employed for more than 3 months or resident for at least 5 consecutive years.)

Source of Funds

Insured person: None.

A portion of the land tax is allocated to finance family allowances for agricultural self-employed persons.

Employer: 4.5% of payroll.

Government: States contribute €1.74 per year for each inhabitant. A portion of federal income tax receipts is transferred to the Family Allowances Equalization Fund.

Federal government, states, and municipalities with more than 2,000 inhabitants pay family allowances out of their own budget but do not pay employer contributions.

Qualifying Conditions

Family allowances: Child must be under age 18; under age 26 if in vocational training or if severely disabled.

Family Allowance Benefits

€105.40 a month for each child up to age 10, thereafter €123.60 a month until age 18, then €145.40. A supplement of €131 for a severely disabled child.

Administrative Organization

Federal Ministry of Social Security and Generations administers the program through Family Allowances Equalization Fund attached to Ministry.

Tax administration pays allowances directly to recipients; surpluses are accumulated in a reserve fund.

Separate organization for public employees.