Age and Survivors' Insurance

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The Old Age and Survivors Insurance ( OASI ) is obligatory pension insurance of Switzerland . Together with disability insurance and supplementary benefits (Switzerland), it forms the first - state - pillar of the Swiss three- pillar system and serves to adequately secure subsistence needs. The AHV is financed according to the pay-as-you-go system and has the character of a solidarity work.

Women receive old-age pensions from the age of 64, men from the age of 65. There is the possibility to register before the 64th / 65th Year of age to draw AHV pensions, but only under certain conditions and with a pension reduction. The drawing of the AHV pension can also be postponed for up to five years. Depending on the length of the deferral, a supplement is granted to the pension. Widows and widowers receive survivors' pensions if they have underage children or children in education in the same household. Furthermore, women will always receive a pension after the death of their husband, provided they have reached the age of 45. In the case of a registered partnership , the surviving part also receives a pension. It currently corresponds to the widower's pension.

Origin and history

Statutory pension insurance has been protecting its insured persons since 1889 in the event of a reduction in their ability to work or in the event of their ability to work being at risk, and in old age or in the event of their surviving dependents' death. This was triggered by the poverty of the factory workers. Such efforts were rejected by the people in the 1930s. The federal government then transferred a small contribution to the predecessor organization of the Pro Senectute , which supports the elderly in need. Today's AHV emerged from the wages and earnings equalization fund for military men, which was redesigned during active service during the Second World War . On July 6, 1947, the AHV was adopted in a referendum based on a similar concept. On January 1, 1948, the AHV could be introduced. In order to adapt it to the needs of the times and the changed demographics , a total of ten revisions have been made so far. The 10th AHV revision, which was approved by a majority of 60.7% of the electorate in 1995, is still considered a milestone in that it pushed through a system change in the direction of a pension that takes into account both individual and both sexes. Switzerland owes this AHV revision to the so-called spouse splitting, in which BR Ruth Dreifuss was also significantly involved. The same revision also approved a gradual increase in the retirement age for women from 62 to 64 years. The 11th revision, which included raising the retirement age for women to 65, was submitted to the people for a vote on May 16, 2004 and rejected. The 2020 pension reform was also rejected (with 52.7%) on September 24, 2017. This reform included changes to the AHV (greater flexibility, increase in the women's retirement age from 64 to 65, an increase in new pensions by CHF 70 per month) and to the BVG (Reduction of the pension conversion rate from 6.8 to 6%). A majority of the reform plan received a positive assessment of the overall package from the left-green camp, the trade unions and the political center, but this was not enough for a majority. In 2019, those entitled to vote approved the TRAF proposal (lowering corporate taxes combined with an annual contribution of CHF 2 billion into the AHV).


The AHV largely has the same structure as the disability insurance, with which it is also closely related in organizational terms.

Two areas of the AHV are organized centrally. The Federal Social Insurance Office guarantees the uniform application of the statutory provisions. The Central Compensation Office (ZAS) in Geneva manages the overall accounts of the AHV and assigns each insured person their insurance number. All other tasks are carried out by the compensation offices. The more than one hundred funds are funded by associations, employers, the cantons and the federal government. The compensation offices are also the contact persons for the insured.


The following are compulsorily insured with the AHV:

  • All persons residing in Switzerland from the age of 20 (employed persons from the age of 18), including students and economically inactive persons, but excluding persons who are compulsorily insured in other countries on the basis of intergovernmental agreements (especially the "Bilaterals II" )
  • Employees who live abroad but work in Switzerland
  • Swiss citizens who are employed by a Swiss employer abroad

Citizens of Switzerland, the EU or EFTA who have been compulsorily insured with the AHV for at least five years and immediately afterwards take up residence outside Switzerland, the EU and EFTA can take out voluntary insurance .


The AHV is mainly financed through the income-related contributions of the insured. With the exception of the children, all insured persons are obliged to pay contributions. Further funds flow into the AHV from the federal government (from value added tax as well as tobacco and alcohol taxes) and from the cantons. The state contributions amount to around 20% of the income. In the case of employed persons, the employer and employee share the premium each half (each 4.35% of the gross wage). For self-employed people, the contribution is based on income (max. 9.95% of earned income).

The AHV finances the pensions according to the pay-as-you-go system , which means that it does not accumulate any capital, but instead uses the income immediately to pay the pensions. The redistribution takes place via the AHV compensation funds and the AHV compensation fund . The AHV compensation fund serves as a reserve for fluctuations in the inflow of funds and, according to the law, should have one year's pensions in reserve, i.e. In other words, it should be so high that the benefits for one year could be financed from it without any inflow of funds.

There are constant discussions between the bourgeoisie and the left about the financing and performance of the AHV. While some are watching the demographics and the unfavorable development between contributors and beneficiaries with concern and are calling for reforms (including reductions in benefits, higher contributions, higher retirement age, abolition of the mixed index ), others trust in the intergenerational contract and continued productivity growth ; they want to expand the AHV and make the retirement age more flexible without reducing pensions. This socio-political debate leads to repeated attempts to revise the AHV.


When a benefit claim arises, the pension is paid out by the responsible compensation office. The pensions are adjusted every two years in line with wage and price developments (mixed index). If the inflation rate is higher than 4% in a year, the pension will be adjusted earlier. If the pension does not cover the subsistence needs, so-called supplementary benefits are paid out.

The retirement pension is determined on the basis of the average annual income, the contribution years (maximum 44 years) as well as the credited parenting and care periods. The minimum pension is 1,185 and the maximum pension is 2,370 francs per month (as of 2019). 44 years of contributions and an average annual income of CHF 85,320 or more are required for the maximum pension (as of 2019).

Married couples receive a maximum of 150% of the maximum pension together due to the ceiling (cap, from French ceiling ). In addition to tax regulations, this cap is also seen as a marriage penalty.

AHV number

Each insured person receives their personal insurance number, also known as the AHV number. The assignment by the ZAS ensures that a certain number is not assigned to several living people. The correct designation according to the Federal Law on Old-Age and Survivors' Insurance (AHVG) is' (AHV) insurance number '. However, the colloquial term 'AHV number' is often used (also in written correspondence with authorities, health insurances and insurance companies).


When the AHV was introduced, the AHV number had 8 digits, and in 1964 a fourth, three-digit number block was added, making the number 11 digits. The AHV numbers assigned until June 30, 2008 are structured as follows:

  • First 3 digits: start of the surname
  • Next 2 digits: year of birth
  • Next 3 digits: birthday and gender
The 1st digit of this group: quarter of birth; gender
quarter male Female
1st quarter, beginning of January 1 5
2nd quarter, beginning of April 2 6th
3rd quarter, beginning of July 3 7th
4th quarter, beginning of October 4th 8th
2nd and 3rd digits of this group: Number of days from the beginning of the quarter to the birthday, a new month always begins after 31 days (573 = woman with birthday on March 11th [31 + 31 + 11 = 73] )
  • Last 3 digits: serial number, nationality, check digit
1st digit of this group: serial number, from 1 to 9
2nd digit of this group: 1 to 4 for Swiss citizens, 5 to 8 for foreigners and stateless persons
3rd digit of this group: Check digit, can be calculated from all preceding digits.

The four number blocks are each separated by a point. Example of an AHV number: 123.45.678.113 - from this it can be determined that the person was female, Swiss and born on June 16, 1945 and that their (single) name begins with the letters As or At.

Insurance number since July 1, 2008

The system with 11-digit AHV numbers came up against technical, organizational and data protection limits, which is why a new 13-digit social security number was introduced on July 1, 2008 (French: numéro de sécurité sociale , NSS). The new number no longer contains personal identifiers ; the limits of their use are stipulated by law. It is also used in disability insurance , the income compensation scheme and the automatic exchange of information (for tax purposes) .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  2. , accessed on April 15, 2020
  3. .18297085.95 + reduced_1.18297085.pdf
  5. Olivier Pauchard: The 11th AHV revision failed. , October 1, 2010, accessed on September 24, 2017 : "That would have saved CHF 800 million."
  6. , accessed on April 5, 2020
  7. ^ Therese Wüthrich : The old age provision 2020. Raising the women's retirement age - cause for controversy. Swiss journal contradiction 69/36. Vol., 1st half of 2017, ISBN 978-3-85869-753-0 , p. 139
  9. Changes to January 1, 2020. AHV / IV information center in cooperation with the Federal Social Insurance Office, November 2019, p. 6 , accessed on December 27, 2019 .
  10. Changes to January 1, 2019 (PDF; 584 kB), information sheet from the AHV / IV information center, accessed June 26, 2019
  11. Federal Law on Old-Age and Survivors' Insurance (AHVG), accessed on October 27, 2018
  12. The new AHV number or social security number for Switzerland website of Proxena GmbH, accessed on March 27, 2017
  13. Federal Act on the International Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters (AIAG), accessed on October 27, 2018