The Austrian Pension System
The main principle of the Austrian pensions system is to maintain living standards via pension payments. It should be noted here that pensions are an insurance benefit and not a social benefit.
Pensions are not only granted in old age in Austria. For example, if a person's ability to work is limited, they can also receive a pension when they are still young. In the case of a person's death, their surviving dependants receive orphan's, widow's or widower's pensions.
In Austria, pensions are regulated by the General Pensions Act (Allgemeines Pensionsgesetzgesetz, APG), whereby depending on the insurance group the stipulations are found in the General Social Insurance Act (Allgemeines Sozialversicherungsgesetz, ASVG), the Act on Social Insurance for the Self-Employed (Gewerbliches Sozialversicherungsgesetz, GSVG), the Act on Social Insurance for the Liberal Professions (Freiberufliches-Sozialversicherungsgesetz, FSVG) and the Act on Social Insurance for Farmers (Bäuerliches Sozialversicherungsgesetz, BSVG).
There are four pension insurance institutions which implement this legislation. The largest of them is the Pensionsversicherungsanstalt (PVA, in the field of the ASVG), which is the insurance institution for employees. In addition, there are social insurance institutions for railways and mining (VAEB, in the field of the ASVG), for businesspeople (SVA, in the field of the GSVG and FSVG) and for farmers (SVB, in the field of the BSVG).
A person is entitled to receive a pension in the following cases:
- An ‘insured event' occurs - i.e. retirement age, invalidity or inability to work, death
- Fulfilment of the minimum insurance period
- Fulfilment of other conditions for entitlement