Social security and insurance

Switzerland has concluded international social security agreements with 44 countries. The main purpose of these agreements is to ensure that citizens of the states parties to the agreements are treated equally, to determine the applicable legislation and to regulate the payment of social security benefits abroad. The Philippines and Switzerland have signed a social security agreement that was concluded on 17 September 2001.

Retirement benefits

The Philippine social security system offers qualified beneficiaries either a monthly pension or a lump sum payment upon retirement. To qualify, beneficiaries must have paid at least 120 monthly contributions and be over 60 years of age. Special rules apply for workers in arduous or hazardous occupations. For more detailed information, please visit the Philippine social security system website. 

Health and accident insurance

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is a tax-exempt, government-owned health insurance company attached to the Department of Health. As the Philippine social security system only pays out minimal benefits, joining an additional occupational pension scheme and taking out health and accident insurance is strongly recommended. Before moving to and taking up employment in the Philippines (or any other country), check whether your insurance will provide sufficient cover in the event of an illness or accident. It is often advisable to take out international health insurance for the duration of your stay abroad.

As health and accident insurance is not compulsory in the Philippines, pensioners and persons not in gainful employment should ensure they have adequate insurance cover. Private hospitals refuse to provide treatment to patients who have no insurance or are unable to show they have sufficient funds to pay their hospital bill. Hospitals sometimes refuse to release deceased patients' bodies to families until outstanding bills are paid. Because public hospitals have fewer resources than private ones, their patients can expect longer waiting times. 

Unemployment insurance

The state social security system in the Philippines offers only minimal benefits to the unemployed.

The Philippine social security system website provides detailed information on the conditions that must be met to qualify for unemployment benefit. 

Swiss old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI) and invalidity insurance (IV)

Payment of ordinary pensions

Ordinary OASI and IV pension payments (except quarter pensions under the IV scheme) for Swiss nationals can be transferred to their place of residence anywhere in the world. The pension is paid out directly by the Swiss compensation office, generally in the currency of the country of residence. You may also choose to have your benefits paid into a personal postal or bank account in Switzerland. Helplessness allowances and supplementary benefits are only paid if you are resident in Switzerland.

Voluntary OASI/IV

Swiss nationals who do not live in an EU/EFTA member state may join the voluntary OASI/IV scheme if they had compulsory insurance cover for at least five consecutive years immediately prior to their departure. Enrolment in the Swiss voluntary OASI/IV system does not exempt you from enrolling in a compulsory insurance system in your country of residence or employment. Employed persons contribute 10.1% of their salary to the pension fund. The minimum annual contribution is CHF 950. The voluntary OASI/IV system offers protection against the risks of old age, disability and death, in particular to persons who are not gainfully employed and who in many cases are not entitled to join a foreign social security scheme.

Special provisions for people employed by a Swiss company

Special provisions apply to persons who live abroad and are employed and on the payroll of an employer based in Switzerland and to their accompanying spouses abroad provided they are not gainfully employed. For further information, please contact your OASI office.

OASI pensioners (1st pillar) and pension fund beneficiaries (2nd pillar)

Make sure that pension payments from your old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI), your pension fund or other insurance policies you have taken out are being properly transferred to you. Whenever you change your address, you must inform the OASI compensation office, your pension fund and insurance provider. The Swiss Compensation Office (SCO) sends all persons who are receiving benefits a certificate of life and marital status form each year. To ensure uninterrupted payment of your pension, please return the form to the SCO within 90 days, duly endorsed by your local authority, or any other officially recognised administration.

Taxation of pension fund income

Switzerland imposes a withholding tax on pension fund income if the beneficiary resides abroad. Double taxation agreements sometimes allow the withholding tax to be waived or to be reclaimed by the pension recipient in their country of residence.

Social assistance for Swiss citizens abroad

In certain circumstances, the FDFA's Social Assistance Service for the Swiss Abroad (SAS) provides social assistance to Swiss nationals living abroad who have run into financial difficulty. If you find yourself in financial distress, you must first make every effort to manage with your own resources. If you really cannot manage on your own, you should try to get financial help from your family or from friends or acquaintances. You should also find out what social assistance or other support you can receive from the authorities in your country of residence. Support from the SAS should be a measure of last resort.


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