The Social Insurance Rights of the nationals of every country who emigrate or are employed temporarily abroad can be secured through special provisions of the national legislation of the country they reside, bilateral or multilateral agreements on social security and conventions of international organizations such as the International Labour Organization and the Council of Europe.
Cyprus is a country with a large number of emigrants and a large number of employees who used to work and are working temporarily in foreign countries. Agreements on social security that have been concluded with other countries facilitate the persons concerned to retain or acquire rights for pensions and benefits. Furthermore, Regulations of the European Union protect the social security rights of the workers who exercise the right of freedom of movement within the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area countries and Switzerland.
The Cyprus Social Insurance Scheme covers compulsorily every gainfully occupied person working in Cyprus, either as an employed or a self-employed person. The Scheme is financed by contributions payable by the insured persons, the employers and the State. There is only one Social Insurance Scheme (SIS) and how much contribution you pay, and how you pay it depends on
- How much you earn and
- Whether you work for someone or for yourself.
As a general rule you are subject to the Social Security Legislation of only one Member State (MSs) at a time – the State where you are working. Therefore, if you are working in Cyprus you are subject to the Cypriot Social Security Legislation. Working and paying contributions in the Republic of Cyprus gives you entitlement to a number of Cyprus social security benefits. The benefits provided under the Social Insurance Scheme are divided into three basic categories, grants, benefits and pensions:
Marriage grant (abolished for marriages occurred since 1.1.2013),
Maternity grant and
Orphan’s benefit and
Missing person’s allowance.
Old age pension and
In addition to the above basic categories, the Social Insurance Scheme provides benefits for industrial accidents and occupational diseases. These benefits are injury benefit, disablement benefit and death benefit. Employed persons are entitled to all the above benefits, whereas self-employed persons are not entitled to unemployment benefit and benefits due to industrial accidents and occupational diseases. Voluntary insured persons are entitled to marriage grant (abolished for marriages occurred since 1.1.2013), maternity grant, funeral grant, orphan’s benefit, as well as old age pension and widow’s pension.
For entitlement to a grant, a benefit or a pension, except benefits for industrial accidents and occupational diseases, it is necessary for the insured person to have paid and/or assimilated contributory periods for a minimum time period defined by the legislation for each benefit.
Having said that, there are two pension schemes you may be entitled to apply for.
Social Pension Scheme
Social Pension is payable to persons who have their habitual residence in the Republic of Cyprus, have completed the age of 65, are not entitled to a pension or other similar payment from any source the amount of which is equal or higher to the amount of social pension and satisfy the residence conditions specified in the Law.
These conditions are:
(a) legal residence in Cyprus, the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, for a total period of at least 20 years from the date the claimant reaches the age of 40, or
(b) legal residence in Cyprus, the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, for a total period of at least 35 years from the date the claimant reaches the age of 18
If you reside in Cyprus and you do not meet the residence criteria for the payment of Social Pension, then the periods of residence which you have completed in any other EU Member State will be aggregated. Please, have in mind that this benefit will not be exported if you transfer your residence abroad. Also, the amount of 336.38EUR per month must be paid to the Cyprus Social Insurance Scheme to be eligible for the Social Pension Scheme. The amount fluctuates depending on other pension or benefits received from other countries.
Age Pensıon Scheme
Age Pension is payable to employed, self-employed and voluntary contributors. An insured person is entitled to old age pension at the age of 65 provided that certain insurance conditions are satisfied (insurance is paid for the last 15 years). If the person satisfies certain stricter insurance conditions then he/she is entitled to old age pension at the age of 63. (insurance is paid for the last 33 years).
If you have worked or working in the Republic of Cyprus, but have been told that you do not have entitlement to Cyprus social security benefits as you have not paid enough national insurance contributions in Cyprus, you must make sure you declare the contributions you have made in other MS to enquire if they can be used to make up any entitlement as though they were paid in Cyprus. You should also state any previous periods of contributions in the MS you have previously worked.
Whether is preferable to apply for the Age Pension Scheme or the Social Pension Scheme is a matter that will be examined on the basis of your individual facts and personal information. Once you complete the questionnaire sent to you and returned back to us, we will be then in the position to advice you accordingly.
On another note, followıng the recent amendments of the Will and Succession Cap 195 (Aug. 2015), Art 42 that gave UK cıtızens the rıght and freedom to dıstrıbute theır estate upon death as they seem fıt and wıthout beıng bound by the per strıpe system, this exclusive right has now been abolished.
For further inquiries on this subject please contact the author of this article, Mr. Andreas Parparinos at [email protected].