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If you've worked in several EU countries, you may have accumulated pension rights in each of them.
You'll have to apply to the pension authority in the country where you live or you last worked. If you've never worked in the country where you live, your host country will forward your claim to the one you last worked.
That country is then responsible for processing your claim and bringing together records of your contributions from all the countries you worked.
In some countries, the pension authority should send you your pension application form before reaching that country's retirement age. If you don't receive it, check with your pension authority to see whether they will automatically send it to you.
DOCUMENTS YOU’LL NEED
These vary from one country to another, but you usually have to supply your bank details and some form of identification.
For more exact details, contact the pension authority handling your claim.
DIFFERENCES IN RETIREMENTS AGES
In some EU countries, you will have to wait longer to start drawing your pension than in others.
You can only receive your assistance from the country where you now live (or last worked) once you have reached the legal retirement age in that country. If you have accumulated pension rights in other countries, you will only receive those parts of your pension once you have reached the legal retirement age in those countries.
So it's essential to find out in advance, from all the countries where you have worked, what your situation will be if you change the date you start receiving your pension.
If you take one pension earlier than the other, it might affect the amounts you receive.
You can get more advice from the relevant authority in the country where you live and/or in the countries where you worked.
In some EU countries, you must have worked for a minimum period of time to be entitled to a pension.
In such cases, the pension authority has to take into account all the periods you've worked in other EU countries, as if you'd been working in that country all along, to assess whether you're entitled to a pension (principle of aggregation of periods).
Periods of insurance of less than one year
If you have been covered for less than a year in one country, a special rule may apply, as some EU countries do not provide a pension for short periods: your months of insurance or residence in the country where you worked for a short time will not be lost but taken into account in the calculation of your pension by the countries where you worked longer.
How your pension is calculated
Pension authorities in each EU country you've worked in will look at the contributions you've paid into their system, how much you've paid in other countries, and for how long you've worked in different countries.
The EU-equivalent rate
Each pension authority will calculate the part of the pension it should pay, taking into account periods completed in all EU countries.
To do so, it will add together the periods you completed in all EU countries and work out how much pension you would get had you contributed into its own scheme over the entire time (called the theoretical amount).
This amount will then be adjusted to reflect the actual time you were covered in that country (called the pro-rata benefit).
The national rate
If you meet the conditions for entitlement to a national pension irrespective of any periods completed in other countries, the pension authority will also calculate the national pension (known as an independent benefit).
The national authority will then compare the pro-rata benefit and the independent benefit; you will receive whichever is higher from that EU country.
Payment of your pension
Each country that grants you a pension generally pays the corresponding amount into a bank account in your country of residence - if you live within the EU.
If you do not live in the EU, you might need to open a bank account in each EU country that pays you a pension.
Invalidity / survivors' pensions
The rules mentioned above also apply to calculating invalidity pensions and survivors' pensions. It is essential to know that:
If you claim an invalidity pension or incapacity benefit, each country you have worked in could insist on examining you separately — and may well reach different verdicts. One might assess you as seriously incapacitated, while another may not consider you hindered at all.
Some EU countries do not pay survivor's pensions. If your husband or wife works abroad and you are counting on the possibility of a survivor's pension, check whether they exist in that country.
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I'm Natalia Bertelli, an English/Spanish to Italian legal translator. Since 2008 I have been working on contracts, judicial deeds, certificates, corporate translations for foreign clients who want to do business in Italy, get a dual citizenship or simply settle in my beautiful country.