National Insurance Institute of Israel (Bituach Leumi) – Old-Age Pension
What is an Old-Age Pension?
The Old-Age Pension is meant to ensure a regular monthly income for residents of Israel in their old age, thus providing them with a minimal quality of life during this period in their lives. The applicant may receive the pension depending on his/age, and provided he/she, was insured by Bituach Leumi for the length of time required by law. When a person continues to work after retirement age, or when his income without the pension is higher than a specified amount, his pension is postponed until he reaches the age which entitles him to a Bituach Leumi pension regardless of his income. Those who receive only an Old-Age Pension or have a low income will, in certain circumstances, be eligible for an additional “income supplement”.
A resident of Israel who paid Bituach Leumi fees according to law for the minimum period set by Bituach Leumi (qualification period) is eligible for an Old-Age Pension. A person meets the terms of the qualification period if he was insured for 60 months during the last ten years preceding the age which entitles him to an Old-Age Pension; or if he was insured for 144 months before reaching the age which entitles him to an Old-Age Pension; or if he was insured for a minimum of 60 months, provided that the number of months he was insured from the day he first became a resident of Israel is greater than the number of months he was not insured.
A married woman is entitled to an Old-Age Pension if she worked a minimum of five consecutive years out of the ten years preceding her pension age, or for 144 months, even if these were not consecutive. As of 1996 homemakers are also entitled to an Old Age Pension, provided that they have been residents of Israel for a minimum of five years before the age of 65. In this case they receive only the basic pension which does not include a seniority supplement.
Two specific points in time are related to the age of eligibility for an Old-Age Pension: retirement age, which is dependent upon income, and eligibility age which does not depend upon income.
* Retirement age – the definition of “retirement age” for the purpose of an Old-Age Pension of Bituach Leumi is the age at which a person is eligible for the Pension only if his income from employment is not higher than the maximum income set by Bituach Leumi, and the income not from employment (such as from assets or interest on savings) is not higher than double the maximum income. Pensions from the workplace are not taken into account in this calculation. Until June 30, 2004 this age was 65 for men and 60 for women. Since July 1, 2004 the age has been rising gradually, and will ultimately be 67 for men and 64 for women.
* The age of eligibility for an Old-Age Pension – the age at which eligibility for the Old-Age Pension is no longer connected to income. Until June 30, 2004 this was 70 for men and 65 for women. Since July 1, 2004 the age for women has gradually risen until eventually the age for both men and women will be 70. If eligibility for an Old-Age Pension has been postponed because of high income, the recipient will be granted (upon reaching the age of non-income-related eligibility) a postponement increase which is 5% of the total Pension (including seniority supplements) for every year of postponement.
In the website of Bituach Leumi you will find a calculator for calculating the age of eligibility for an Old-Age Pension. The calculator will help you determine when you will be eligible for an Old-Age Pension,based on your date of birth.
A resident of Israel who is not insured with Old-Age insurance and is not eligible for an Old-Age Pension, because he moved to Israel for the first time after age 60-62 (according to month of birth ), will be paid a special pension by Bituach Leumi according to the conditions specified by law.
Similarly, a toshav chozer (returning Israeli citizen) who has not completed the qualification period, but is recognized as a resident of Israel, can, under certain conditions, receive a special Old-Age Pension.
The full amount of the Old-Age Pension, correct for Jan 2014, as specified in the website of Bituach Leumi, is as follows: the basic monthly Old-Age Pension for a single person is 1,531 NIS ( as of January 1, 2014), and for a couple (the pension for a couple consists of the pension of a single person plus an addition for the spouse) – 2,301 NIS ( as of January 1, 2014). The full amount of the basic monthly Old-Age Pension for ages 80 and up is: for a single person – 1,617 NIS ( as of January 1, 2014) and for a couple (the pension for a couple consists of the pension of a single person over 80 plus an addition for the spouse) – 2,387 NIS (as of January 1, 2014).
If each of the partners in a couple, separately,meets the criteria for an Old-Age Pension, each will receive a pension for a single person. A seniority supplement is added to this sum. The Old-Age Pension will include a seniority supplement for those who have been insured more than ten years prior to the age when they are first eligible for a pension. The rate for the seniority supplement is 2% of the pension for each full year of insurance, after the first ten years. The supplement cannot not be higher than 50% of the pension.
In order to receive an Old-Age Pension, you must submit a claim on a Claim for Old-Age Pension form to the Bituach Leumi office near you home. Submit the form close to the day you reach the appropriate age for eligibility, and not later than 12 months after this time. If the month of your birth is not recorded in your identity card, April 1 of the year you were born will be considered your birth date. If you submitted your claim after the time you became eligible, Bituach Leumi can pay you pension benefits for up to 12 months retroactively.
For many elderly people, the Old-Age Pension does not suffice for maintaining a minimal quality of life. This is particularly true for elderly individuals who have no additional source of income. To assit them, Bituach Leumi has determined that elderly persons who meet certain criteria may receive an income supplement, in addition to the Old-Age Pension.
An income supplement is a supplementary payment which is paid to elderly people in addition to the Old-Age Pension, to ensure that they are able to support themselves with dignity. The supplement is meant to bring the person’s income to the minimal sum needed for subsistence, if he has no other income or if his additional income is lower than the minimum established by Bituach Leumi. (For more information: Income Supplement to an Old Age Pension).
For full information about the eligibility requirements for receiving an Old-Age Pension and various supplements, you can consult the Counseling Service for the Elderly at Bituach Leumi. This service operates in all branches of Bituach Leumi, and its purpose is to help the elderly and their families in solving problems typical of old age. The service is open to any elderly person in Israel who needs assistance. It is provided in a warm and pleasant atmosphere. An elderly person who turns to the Counseling Service will find an attentive ear, and if necessary, the counselor will refer him to other services in his community.
For information about the Counseling Service for the Elderly click here