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Invalidity, Incapacity and Disability Pensions

Whether it is a serious illness or accident or mental problems: those who are no longer able to work can apply for an invalidity or disability pension.

In Austria, there are different terms depending on the occupational group:

For “blue-collar workers” the term invalidity is used, while for “white-collar workers” incapacity is used. Certain conditions must be fulfilled to obtain a pension of this kind.

Since 1 January 2014, new regulations have applied (IP Neu) for all those who were born after 31 December 1963. For those born in 1963 or earlier, the previous legal provisions continue to apply.

Changes resulting from the new invalidity pension

If a person is temporarily incapacitated or so seriously ill that they are sometimes unable to work, they receive rehabilitation benefit and efforts are made to reintegrate them into working life. Those who can no longer carry out the occupation they have trained for are retrained and receive retraining allowance. Invalidity, incapacity or disability pensions are only granted when retraining is not meaningful or unreasonable. The goal is the person’s reintegration into the labour market.

Preconditions for an invalidity, incapacity or disability pension

If the following conditions are present, an invalidity/incapacity or disability pension will be granted:

  • lasting invalidity or disability has been medically confirmed;
  • the person does not yet fulfil the conditions for an old-age pension;
  • they have acquired the necessary qualifying period (minimum insurance period), and
  • measures leading to occupational rehabilitation are not meaningful or cannot be reasonably expected.

Possibilities in the case of temporary invalidity, incapacity or disability

Persons who temporarily suffer from invalidity and are unable to work can take advantage of measures for medical and occupational rehabilitation, or retraining.

The principle here is that rehabilitation should be pursued before a pension is granted. This means that the first step is to examine whether a person’s ability to work can be restored by means of medical or occupational rehabilitation. The necessary medical, occupational and labour market-related reports are all drawn up by the Competence Centre for Assessment. Depending on whether medical or occupational measures are taken, either rehabilitation benefit or retraining benefit is granted.

This applies to persons who have been invalided or unable to work for at least six months.

Applications for an invalidity, incapacity or disability pension

Those affected should initially speak to the doctor who is treating them. First of all, an application for an assessment should be made to the person’s social insurance institution. The assessment establishes whether the person is presumably going to be unable to work over the long term. Subsequently, an application for an invalidity, incapacity or disability pension is made. This application is primarily an application for rehabilitation services including rehabilitation benefit.

A legal entitlement to occupational rehabilitation

Since 1 January 2017 there has been a legal entitlement to occupational rehabilitation for those persons who – due to the state of their health – fulfil the conditions for an invalidity, incapacity or disability pension, or will do so in the foreseeable future.
Insured persons are entitled to occupational rehabilitation measures when:

  • in the last 15 years before the effective date they have been in employment for at least 90 months in an occupation they have either trained for or for which they have been trained ‘on the job’, and
  • due to their state of health they fulfil the requirements for an invalidity, incapacity or disability pension, or probably fulfil them, or will fulfil them in the foreseeable future.

Their entitlement is also given if they have not completed the required 90 months of compulsory insurance on the effective date, but:

  • have acquired at least twelve months of compulsory insurance in the last 36 calendar months before the effective date, or
  • during the last 36 compulsory insurance months before the effective date, they have been in employment for at least 180 months in an occupation for which they had trained, or for which they had been trained “on the job”.
last update: 8 November 2019