Social security not only means insuring oneself in advance against possible difficulties, but also being able to get help if specific problems have arisen. Social compensation is meant for such situations and is thus an important element of state social benefits.
If a person is affected by damage which has occurred due to measures taken by the state or is in a field in which the state bears special responsibility, victims and their surviving dependants can apply for financial compensation. Social compensation provides for a wide range of benefits.
Claims can be asserted by war victims and prisoners of war, victims of political persecution, those who have suffered damage during military service, those harmed by vaccinations, and victims of crime.
There have been new regulations for benefits for Thalidomide victims since 1.7.2015.
Would you like to apply for social compensation? You can find application forms and further information on the website of the Sozialministeriumservice.
Victims of damage caused by vaccinations
All those persons (including non-Austrian citizens) who have suffered damage to their health due to the following are entitled to compensation:
- The smallpox vaccine which was compulsory until 1980
- A vaccination mentioned in the mother-child pass
- A vaccination recommended in a ruling by the Ministry of Health.
Entitlement to a disability pension or supplementary payments is only given when the vaccination took place in Austria.
A comprehensive list of benefits can be viewed on the web pages of the Sozialministeriumservice, to which applications for compensation can be made.
Persons damaged in conjunction with the armed forces
The Armed Forces Victims' Benefits Act (HVG) lays down the entitlements of:
- Persons on national military service
- Women undergoing military training
- Conscripts (members of the militia, for example) whose health has been damaged during their military service or in an accident on the way to or from it, and which was not due to their own gross negligence
- Civilians who, due to no fault of their own, have been injured by weapons, military vehicles or actions of the federal armed forces
- The surviving dependants of all these persons.
The possible benefits for those who have suffered damage in these ways include damaged persons' pensions (in the case of their ability to work being reduced by 20% for at least three months), various supplements, and occupational and social rehabilitation programmes.
Surviving dependants can - among other things - assert their entitlement to a survivor's pension.
Further details as well as application forms for these benefits are available from the website of the Sozialministeriumservice.
Victims of crime
The Victims of Crime Act regulates the entitlements of persons who are victims of a criminal act.
The following persons are entitled:
- EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens
- Persons legally resident in Austria who are harmed in that country
- The victim has suffered physical injury or damage to his/her health
- The crime carries a penalty of more than six months imprisonment.
Surviving dependants are entitled to benefits if the offence caused the death of the victim. The application must be submitted within two years of the crime.
Benefits are not awarded if the victim or surviving dependant was:
- Involved in the crime
- Provoked the perpetrator
- Was guilty of not helping to solve the case.