bituah leumi 88.
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Sarah Gargi is director of the Publications Department in Research and Planning Administration at the head office of the National Insurance Institute, Jerusalem.
If you are interested in receiving a free copy of "Your Rights at the National Insurance Institute" (in English), offering a concise description of social security programs, definitions, conditions of entitlement, and rates of payment, please email your request; include your name and mailing address.
Click here to send us your questions for Sarah, please include month and year of birth, year of immigration and marital status.
NOTE: Sarah can only answer questions of a general nature. For specific cases, contact the Public Enquiries Dept. at email@example.com, or call 08-9369696 or 08-6509999. Make sure to supply your ID number. For general information see the NII web site most information is on the site in English as well.
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Q: I, immigrated to Israel 1973. My birth year is 1936. 1973 to 1982 I lived in Israel. I returned June 2003 to Israel, total working years is 3 years. Total years I lived here 13. Bituach leumi refused me in old age pension. I'm looking your opinion. Thank you.
A: In order to be entitled to an old-age pension, you have to have 60 insurance months (months during which you paid NII contributions) out of the last 10 years preceding pensionable age, or 144 months altogether - all as an Israeli resident. As this is an address for general enquiries only, we cannot examine your specific case, but the notification of the denial of pension to you should have included the reason for the denial - possibly a debt in NII contributions. You can try writing to the Division for Public Inquiries (fax: 02-6525038) or calling them (02-6709070), providing your ID number. For information on rules of entitlement to the old-age pension, you can look at our site: www.btl.gov.il. The site is available in English as well.
Q: I was born March 8, 1944 and have a question related to retirement benefits. I was self-employed for about one year - having my own business. Is the bituach leumi I paid credited toward my eligiblity for retirement benefits when I am 65 or 66 or older?
I lived in Israel from 1975-1985, as a member of a kibbutz. I also did my regular army service in Nachal, along with regular reserves. I assume that the kibbutz paid my Bituach L'umei during my time as a member. I made no payments after leaving Israel. Am I eligible to receive any benefits - I assume that I would need to make back payments.
A: Since you've been out of Israel for about 20 years, you are not considered an israeli resident any more (residence is generally canceled after 5 years abroad) and you are therefore not eligible for any benefits. The NII contributions paid on your behalf while you were in Israel insured you for that specific period only. If and when you return, you do not need to make any back payments, but you should report as soon as possible to the NII local branch closest to your place of residence, so as to determine your residency status. Check our site (in English as well) at www.btl.gov.il.
Q: I was born June 21, 1947 (I'm 60) and made aliyah in Jan. 93. I am divorced 22 years. I have worked enough months to be eligible for BL. At what age can I begin to collect and may I work part time and still collect, or do I have to retire completely? Thank you.
A: At age 62 you'll reach the retirement age, which means that your entitlement to the full old-age pension is conditional on an income test. If you work part-time, you may be entitled to a partial pension. At the age of 68 and 8 months, you'll be entitled to the full old-age pension, irrespective of your income. You can find details on our site (available also in English): www.btl.gov.il.
Q: Dear Sarah, I would like to get some information in regards to Bituach Leumi.
Can a family (married + 3kids) returning to Israel (summer 2008) as Toshav Chozer receive Social Security from the US and Bituach Leumi from Israel upon reaching retirement age?
Husband born: 1962, Wife born: 1966. Can a senior (82 years old) receiving Social Security from the US also receive Bituach Leumi or some kind of senior payment if he/she decides to return to Israel after 30 years? Born: 1925
A: I don't know the laws for receiving social security from the US, but G-d willing you both have enough years before you to become entitled to the old-age pension when you reach that age, provided that you pay contributions regularly.
Returning residents will be entitled to the regular old-age pension only if they have accumulated an insurance period while in Israel (60 months out of the 10 years preceding pensionable age or 144 months altogether); if they are not entitled to this pension, they may be entitled to a special old-age pension provided that their income is lower than a set amount determined in the law. For more information, see our site (available also in English): www.btl.gov.il.
Q: Please can you tell me if I am entitled to an old age pension as an Olah Basheinit and also can you tell me at what age one can claim the old age pension.
A: Yes, returning residents may be entitled to the old-age pension, once their residency is determined by the NII, at the same conditions as Israelis. The age of entitlement varies with one's month and year of birth (see table and general information on our site: www.btl.gov.il)
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Q: My parents, aged 73 and 69 currently live in the US and wish to be buried in Israel. They are contemplating making aliya and spending one or two months a year here and want to know if this move will benefit them in any way in terms of receiving burial covered by NII.
A: Audrey, I'm very glad to have your e-mail now, because I didn't keep your phone number, and I later received a reply from Shimon Navon from our Old-age and Survivors' branch (phone # 02-6709384), as follows:
" Entitlement to burial in Israel without cost to the deceased person's family is in the following cases: 1) decease in Israel; 2) decease abroad of a person who was an Israeli resident at the time of his decease."
I apologize for the incorrect reply that I gave you previously, by phone.
Q: I was self-employed during years 2005-2006. The contributions made to Bituach Leumi are they credited to my account for retirement benefits when I am eligible at age 65/66?
A: Yes, all NII contributions - of employees and self-employed - are taken into account.
Q: I made aliyah in fall 2006 and immediately started sherut leumi. Two weeks before the end of my year in sherut leumi, I married a guy who works full time. I have never had a bill sent to me, and therefore have never paid bituach leumi. When I asked friends, I was told I never had to pay because first I was a bat sherut, and then I was an akeret bayit. Will I suddenly get a bill for the past 2 years, or was I never supposed to have gotten a bill?
A: Your friends are right. A married housewife who does not work outside her home is exempt from payment of NII contributions.
Q: How can you find out, before making aliyah, if your medications are in the 'basket'? Does coverage for various medications vary by which insurance company you use in Israel? How can you find out the cost of those medications that are covered and those that are not covered?
A: Under the National Health Insurance Law (1995), every Israeli resident is covered in national health insurance, whether or not he is a member of a sick fund (kupat holim). Every Israeli resident must register himself in one of the sick funds. (The major ones: Klalit, Leumit, Meuhedet and Maccabi). He may join the sick fund of his choice, and the fund must provide him with the uniform basket of services determined in the law. If a resident wishes to have supplementary health insurance - in addition to the basic basket - he may contact his sick fund directly. The role of the NII in health insurance is as a collecting organ : we collect the basic health insurance contributions from residents and distribute them to the sick funds, and also administer the file of persons insured. For information about medications, you should try contacting the Ministry of Health or the sick funds, all of which have internet sites.
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Q: I'm married, 40 years old, and my family plans to make aliyah (Katin Hozer) in 2008. Can you tell me whether unearned income, like interest, is also taxed for NII contributions? If not, how are NII contributions calculated if unearned income is the only income a family has, at least in the beginning?
A: Yes, unearned income is taxed for NII contributions, on the basis of the amount reported to the income tax authority.
Q: I am planning on making Aliyah in 2008 and I am a Katin Hozer. I will be 61 when I get to Israel and my question is " will I be able to get bituach Leumi - health insurance when I arrive in Israel and how much will it cost per month.
A: A "katin hozer" is entitled to health services upon arrival in Israel, without a waiting period, as soon as he is recognized as a resident by the NII. (You should report to your NII local branch as soon as possible after your aliyah). The cost depends on your work status(self-employed, employee, other) and your income.
Q: I have been employed and paying Bituach Leumi in Israel since the year 2000 (at which time I was 50 years old). I am a citizen since 2001. At what age will I be eligible for old-age pension? (I am female, married.) How many years (or months) ahead of this age must I have been working/paying B.L.?
Is there a means test, and what does it involve?
A: You will reach retirement age at age 62, which means you can get the old-age pension conditional on a means test. The means test sets a maximum income (not from pension) of about NIS 5,600 a month for a couple. When income is above the maximum determined in the means test, a partial pension may be paid. At age 70 you'll be entitled to an old age pension irrespective of income.
Q: Dear Sarah,
I became an Oleh Hadash in 1999 and worked in Israel for several months and paid Betuah Leumi, monthly. I am 64 years old and will be 65 on Nov. 9, 2007. I was born 11/9/42. I am married. I had Maccabee health plan.
I left Israel in August 2000, and returned for visit a few years ago, and I attempted to clarify my health/Betuah Leumi status, but the office was on strike.
Questions: 1) Do I still have my Macabee health and what do I need to do to keep it current. I want to return to live in Israel within 6 months and would like to have health care when I return? 2) Does Betuah Leumi provide for Long term care insurance or coverage, and if so, is there a fee or other qualifications. Long term care = providing for those who need long term care in home or in a facility if too disabled or too sick? 3) What else should I be aware of regarding my Betuah Leumi status and what other benefits might their be for me and my family upon return to Israel?
Thank you for your time and effort.
A: Since you've been 7 years abroad, you have lost your residence status and when you return to Israel, you have a waiting period of 2 months for every year that you were abroad since 2001, for entilement to health services.
You can redeem this waiting period by paying a one-time payment - NIS 8,730 - to the NII by credit card, through our site (www.btl.gov.il), in which case you'll be entitled to health services 6 months after making the payment.
Long-term care benefits are service benefits paid to elderly persons dependent to a large extent on the help of others for the performance of everyday functions (dressing, eating, washing, etc.) or in need of supervision.
You can find out more information on this and other NII benefits from our site.
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