Pensions in Greece are offered through a government program that includes a non-earnings component (the national pension) and personal pension contributions. Due to the nation’s financial difficulties, the Greek pension system has undergone a massive revamp in recent years.
What Exactly Is A Greek Pension Refund?
Greece’s pension system is split into two main categories: social insurance and supplemental pension plans.
Government grants and company and employee contributions support pensions under social insurance. Old age, disability, survivor, and special categories are just a few of the categories these pensions fall under. The pension amount is determined by the length of time a person has paid into the social insurance system and the pattern of their wages.
Supplementary pension plans are optional and typically provided by employers or sectoral funds. These programs give additional retirement benefits on top of the social insurance pension and are often funded by employee and employer payments.
Greece has made several reforms in recent years to address the pension system’s sustainability, which a mix of demographic shifts, economic downturns, and insufficient funding has hampered. These reforms include raising the retirement age, changing how pensions are calculated, and raising employee and company contributions.
Can You Get Your Pension Money Back If You Leave Greek?
When you reach retirement age, you can receive your pension benefits if you pay into the Greek pension system before leaving Greece. However, the regulations and procedures for getting pension benefits can be complex and vary depending on various factors, including your particular pension plan, the amount of time you contributed, and the nation you moved to.
What Are The Requirements To Ask For Your Pension Contributions?
The national pension is not earnings-related and is financed directly from the State budget. Fifteen years of insurance and 15 years of residence in Greece are the minimum required criteria for eligibility to get the pension. The national pension’s total amount is EUR 384, which equates to 20 years of insurance and 40 years of residence in Greece from the age of fifteen till the pension eligibility age. From 20 to 15 years of insurance, the full payment is decreased by 2% (the national pension for 15 years is EUR 345.60). Every year of residence of fewer than 40 years results in a 1/40 reduction in that sum.
The contributory pension, specifically from January 1, 2002, until the date of the retirement application, is determined by the number of years of insurance and the pensionable income earned during working life. The accrual rate varies from 0.77% per year up to 15 years, rising progressively to 2.55% for the final year.
It was reduced to 0.5% from the 36th to the 40th year and beyond. Until 2024, the Greek Statistical Authority’s average annual Consumer Price Index was used to inflate past earnings. From 2025 onward, the Hellenic Statistical Authority’s annual wage change inflated earnings.
Who Can Get A Greek Pension Refund
- If you have accrued 40 insurance years (12,000 contribution days) and are 62 years old, or if you have 15 insurance years (4,500 contribution days) and are 67, you are eligible for a full pension.
- For women, the requirements are 62 years of age, which will be gradually raised to 67 by 2022, and 12,000 contribution days, of which 10,000 have been accomplished as of January 1, 2013.
- Ten thousand days of service and 67 years of age apply to men.
- Five thousand five hundred contribution days and 67 years of age are required for moms and bereaved dads of minor children.
- Less strict rules apply to moms of minors and those who work in physically demanding jobs.
- If you are 62 and have accrued at least 4,500 insurance days, you are eligible for a reduced pension.
- Also, you began receiving insurance after January 1, 1993, and have accrued 20 years of coverage. In that case, you are eligible for a reduced early pension when you turn 62 if you are the mother of an underage or disabled child (6,000 days of employment).
If your first insurance coverage began before January 1, 1993, you might be eligible for a reduced early pension under the following conditions:
- If you have completed 15 insurance years (4,500 insurance days), of which 100 days must have been in the five years immediately before the pension, you will be eligible for a pension at age 62.
- If you are a male and have accumulated 10,000 insurance days, you can receive a pension at age 62. If you are a female and have accumulated 12,000 insurance days, you can receive a pension at age 62. Of these insurance days, 100 must have been accumulated yearly in the five years before the pension.
- If you have accrued 35 insurance years (10,500 insurance days), involve physically demanding labor at 62.
- If you have completed 18 insurance years and are the mother or widowed father of a disabled child, you are eligible for benefits at age 50. (5,500 insurance days).
To determine eligibility for a pension, any periods during which an invalidity pension, illness benefits, or unemployment benefits were received may also be added to the number of insurance days. Notional years of insurance are also considered in some situations.
Can A Reduced Pension Be Converted To A Full Pension
The conversion of a reduced old-age pension into a full pension is never possible.
Further Increase In Retirement Age
Gradually raised the retirement age from 65 to 67; by 2027, it is expected to reach 68. The purpose of this reform was to encourage people to put off retirement and work longer, which would lower the cost of pensions.
Minimum Pension Fund
Greek pensioners with inadequate or no pension benefits were meant to receive a minimum level of support by introducing a minimum pension in 2016. Initially established at 384 euros per month, the minimum pension was steadily raised to 650 euros per month in 2021.
Before January 1, 2020, the self employed earning was based on their income. But, as of that day, there will be six insurance categories, and each person will select one year to determine how much insurance they will receive for the following year. According to this program, the higher category a person chooses will result in more significant monthly contributions, resulting in higher pension amounts.
The insured people must fall under the same category of health insurance. In 2021, the self-employed will default to be placed in the lower group with a monthly pension contribution of EUR 155. This indicates a contribution base of EUR 775, given the average contribution rate of 20%.
Pension For Unemployed
There are primarily two pension programs for jobless people in Greece:
The Social Solidarity Benefit is a means-tested benefit that offers money to people with no other support or income source. The applicant must be a Greek national or a legal resident of Greece, be at least 67 years old, have a disability, and have little or no income to be eligible for this benefit. The benefit amount fluctuates depending on the applicant’s income and family situation.
Benefits for those who have lost their jobs and are actively looking for work are known as unemployment benefits. The applicant must have worked and contributed to social security for at least 125 days in the past one year to be eligible for this benefit. The benefit amount is determined by the applicant’s prior earnings and the period of unemployment.
Brexit: Greek Pension Refund For UK Nationals
UK citizens who have made payments to the Greek pension system may be entitled to a return due to Brexit. However, the regulations governing pension returns may change based on unique circumstances and the particular pension plan.
The Greek social security system may be able to reimburse UK citizens who have paid into it but have not yet reached retirement age. However, this reimbursement has a few requirements and limitations, including a minimum contribution time and a maximum refund sum. Speaking with the relevant Greek authorities or seeking expert counsel is advised, as the specific requirements can differ based on the pension plan.
It’s also vital to remember that Brexit can affect how eligible UK citizens residing in Greece are for certain benefits or pensions. For instance, certain UK state pensions or benefits may no longer be available to British nationals residing in Greece. To learn how Brexit affects your pension or benefit claims in Greece, speak with the relevant authorities or obtain expert advice.
The number of children determines the non-contributory periods that can be regularised (300 days can be purchased for the first kid, 600 days for each additional child, and a maximum of 1500 days for three children) for the aim of obtaining pension eligibility for the periods as mentioned above, as well as to calculate.
The prerequisites for purchasing back the periods mentioned above are the fulfillment of at least 3600 working days or 12 years of insurance and eligibility for old age pension under rules effective as of January 1, 2011 forward.
Pension Refund For Greek Citizens Living In An EU, EEA, Or Switzerland
It is legal to continue working after you have retired from Greece, but you must notify the appropriate e-EFKA pensions department.
The reductions provided for e-EFKA pensioners who take up employment or acquire status or activity compulsorily subject to e-EFKA insurance do not apply to you if, after you have retired by e-EFKA, you work in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, according to the provisions of the Greek law currently in effect.
Taxation On Pension Income
General tax laws apply to pension benefits. For those who were paralyzed in battle, for war victims and their families, for the blind, and for people with paraplegia, there are some exemptions.
How Do You Claim Your Greek Pension Refund?
You can consider two options available to you in order to claim your pension fund.
Claim Your Greek Pension Refund Yourself
Once you are done with the relevant contributions in the social security of Greece, that is, at least 4,500 days of contributions, for the retirement age of 67 (equivalent to 15 years) or for age 62, insured individuals having a record of 12,000 working days of contributions (40 years), you are eligible for a full pension. The next thing is to gather and present the required papers, such as proof of your contributions and personal identification, to get your Greek pension return. It is advised to speak with the relevant Greek authorities or seek professional assistance as the particular documentation needs can vary depending on the pension plan.
When you have acquired all the required paperwork, you can submit your request for a pension return to the Greek government. It is advised to be patient and check in with the authorities frequently to make sure your claim is being completed because the claim procedure can take some time.
Consult Professionals To Claim Your Greek Pension Refund For You
A qualified advisor can help with the claim procedure, offer advice on the precise documents needed, and ensure that your claim is processed as fast and effectively as possible. Also, they can assist you in overcoming any language obstacles and offer advice on any difficulties or problems that might develop along the way.
It is advised to choose a professional advisor who is knowledgeable about Greek pension refunds and with a successful track record. When choosing an advisor, consider variables including experience, reputation, and costs.
It is crucial to remember that engaging a professional advisor to get your Greek pension refund can come with extra costs or fees; these might differ depending on the advisor in question and the services offered. However, for many people, getting a professional advisor’s advice can speed up the procedure and improve the chances that their claim will be accepted.
How Long Will It Take To Get Your Pension Money?
The exact pension plan, the pension’s value, and the manner of distribution are just a few of the variables that affect how long it takes to collect your pension in Greece.
Suppose you are qualified for a Greek pension and have already submitted your application. In that case, the time it takes to complete it will depend on how complicated your application is and the particular conditions of the pension plan. Your first pension payment typically takes several weeks to many months.
Suppose there are any problems or obstacles with your application, such as a lack of supporting evidence or inconsistencies in your employment history. In that case, the processing period may take longer.
The mode of payment also has an impact on how quickly you receive your pension. If you have chosen to have your pension deposited directly into a Greek bank account, the money may become accessible soon after the pension application has been finalized. It can take longer for a check to arrive and clear if you have requested that it be addressed to you.
It is advised that if you are suffering delays in getting your Greek pension, you contact the relevant Greek authorities or seek professional guidance to figure out how your application is progressing and whether there are any potential problems.
Due to economic difficulties and the need for system reform, the Greek pension system has recently experienced substantial modifications. The Greek pension system can therefore be challenging to navigate and necessitates careful consideration of the unique pension plan and each individual’s circumstances.
If you need assistance understanding the complex procedure and ensuring that your claim is completed as quickly as possible, speaking with a qualified advisor with experience dealing with Greek pension refunds may be beneficial.
Overall, it can be challenging to comprehend the Greek pension system and eligibility rules, but taking the time to learn more and seek professional guidance will help you ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to.