10.11.1.30 Austria's Social Security System
The Austrian social security system is contribution-based and the payment of insurance contributions is compulsory. Austria also offers non-contributory welfare supplements.
Austria's contributory benefits
The Austrian contributory benefits payable under the Agreement are:
- Austrian retirement pension,
- Austrian early retirement pension,
- Austrian disability pension,
- Austrian surviving spouse's pension,
- Austrian orphan's pension,
- Austrian Personal care benefit, and
- Austrian additional amounts for dependent children.
Using the Agreement, a person can count periods of Australian working life residence as periods of Austrian insurance (i.e. contributions) in order to qualify, providing the person has at least 12 months real Austrian insurance.
Austria's non-contributory benefits
Austrian non-contributory compensatory supplement (Ausgleichszulage) may be paid to pensioners who receive small pensions and have little or no other income. This payment is income tested and cannot legally be paid outside Austria. It is exempt income under the Agreement (10.11.8.60). Austria also pays a number of other welfare payments of a compensatory nature to war victims and victims of war crimes. The SSAct excludes Austrian restitution payments from assessable income under the Australian income test (18.104.22.168).
Portability & rate of Austrian benefits
Austria's contributory pensions and payments are paid abroad. Non-contributory benefits cannot be paid outside Austria. The rate of the contributory benefits is tied to the amount of contributions and the final salary before becoming eligible for benefit. Non-contributory benefits are flat rate and means tested.
Contribution conditions for Austria
Under Austrian law, insurance is compulsory. Insurance takes effect automatically when someone begins work. Insurance covers health care, workers' compensation and pensions. Insurance for pensioners covers health care only. School children and students are insured against accidents. Employees and their employers pay contributions.
Credited contributions for Austria
Under Austria's laws, some periods can be deemed as accruing insurance, even though no contributions were made.
Example: Periods of war service, periods of forced labour during the Second World War, periods spent on benefits (e.g. disability benefit) and periods in higher education.
Under the Agreement, periods of war service with either the Axis or Allied forces will be recognised as periods of Austrian insurance for Australian citizens, provided they were Austrian citizens immediately before 13 March 1938. The benefits arising from these periods are payable in Australia to Australian and Austrian citizens.
Under Austrian law, Austrian citizens, German citizens and ethnic Germans ('Volksdeutsche') who were resident in Austria on 11 July 1953, 1 January 1961 or 27 November 1961 can count certain periods of employment outside Austria as periods of Austrian insurance, even if no contributions were made to Austria. The places of employment which count for this purpose are Gdansk (or Danzig), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the former USSR, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslavia, Albania and the former German Reich. Pensions arising from these periods of deemed insurance are payable in Australia to Australian and Austrian citizens.
Administration - Austrian social security system
The Austrian social security system is administered by a structure that reflects the various pension schemes available (i.e. civil servants, miners, blue-collar workers, etc.). There are 3 branches of insurance - health, workers' compensation and pensions. There are many insurance institutions and some of them service 2, or all 3, branches of social security insurance.