Ask Sarah, the Bituah Leumi expert Vol XIV - XXX

Vol XXX: I will have been in Israel 12 months from my aliyah until I am due to deliver my baby. Am I eligible for maternity leave?

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 1, 2005 12:26
Ask Sarah, the Bituah Leumi expert Vol XIV - XXX

bituah leumi 88. (photo credit: )

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 "National Insurance Programs in Israel, 2005" (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 Sara, please include month and year of birth, year of immigration and marital status. In some cases, the only way to get an accurate answer to a specific question is to contact your local NII branch and supply your ID number. NII phone information center: (08) 936 9696 or (08) 650 9999. For general information see the NII web site most information is on the site in English as well.
  • For Red Tape resources click here.
  • For Vols I to XIII click here.
    Vol XXX Q: I am writing to seek confirmation for my eligibility for the "Maternity Allowance" from the National Insurance Institute. I am an olah chadasha who made aliyah 18.04.2005. I began working 24.05.2005, and my first paycheck was issued for the month of 05.2005 for which Bituach Leumi was collected (3.44NIS for that month). I have been working continuously since 05.2005 through the present, and I plan to continue to work until I deliver my baby in, G-d willing, 04.2006. As I understand it, I have to work 10 out of the 14 months preceding maternity leave in order to be eligible for the full Maternity Allowance benefit. I will have been in Israel only 12 months (not 14) from my aliyah until my due date. However, if I work even only through March, I will have worked 11 continuous months in Israel. Therefore, it seems I would be eligible for the full Maternity Allowance of 12 weeks. Can you please confirm that this is correct? A: Yes, according to the information you gave me, you are eligible for the full maternity allowance of 12 weeks. Vol XXIX Q: I am currently working twice a week in a community center in Jerusalem earning nearly 1000 NIS, therefore I am looking for a parallel job to earn more money. I am paying both for the national and health insurance, but I have been told that if I am hired in two places I have to pay fifty percent of all what I earn. Is that true? How does it work? A: No, it's not true. You pay the NII national and health insurance contributions as a set percentage of your income, so that if you work in two places and earn a total of a certain amount in both places together, you pay the same NII contributions as if you earned that amount in one place only. The contributions for employees is approximately 5.58% for NII and 4.8% for health (the full rate) or 1.40% for NII and 3.10% for health (the reduced rate - paid on income that is up to 60% of the average wage). Vol XXVIII Q: I made aliya in 1998 and left Israel for USA, where I am also a citizen, in 2000 and have been living here ever since. In Israel I was unemployed and was not asked to contribute to my bituach leumi. Has my bituach leumi lapsed, if so how do I restart it again? Thank you, Melka A: Israeli residents abroad are obliged to pay NII contributions - both for social security branches and for health. If one lapses in one's payments, one can always pay back the debt. It is important to do so as soon as possible (so as not to have to pay a large amount of linkage and fines) and then to continue to pay regularly. A person who returns to Israel after having not paid the NII for over a year will have a waiting period (of two months for every year of absence from Israel) before he may receive health services. However, you may "redeem" this waiting period if you pay the amount of NIS 8,250 (a set amount, no matter what the length of the waiting period) to the NII 6 months before you return to Israel. In that case, you will be entitled to health services immediately upon your arrival in Israel. You may pay this amount through our internet site www.btl.gov.il (where you will also find detailed explanations for returning and non-residents). Since you've been staying abroad for over 5 years, it is possible that your status as Israeli resident has been denied. To check your present status, you should contact the local NII branch in the your area of residence in Israel. If you are not certain whether or not you will be returning to Israel, it is recommended that you make sure to pay the NII regularly (through a friend or relative in Israel), so that if you do return, your rights are ensured, and if you do not return, your money may be retrieved. Vol XXVII Q: My mother, born in November 1933 and father born in January 1934 wish to return to Israel within the next two years. They moved to Australia in approximately 1965 and have been to Israel regularly for visits but never for more than 3 months in one year and the last time was in about 1997. Unfortunately during the 1980's it was the fashion in Australia to cancel one's Israeli citizenship so that they could feel safer traveling abroad only on an Australian passport. Before they left Israel both worked and paid Bituach Leumi/health insurance etc. Upon returning to Israel, are they entitled to anything as far as age pension is concerned? Will this affect their Australian pension or visa versa? Hope you can help as I have no idea where to begin making enquiries to help them out, thank you. A: Entitlement to social security benefits in Israel is based on residency in the country. Once they come on aliyah and become residents of Israel again, they will be entitled to old-age pension here. If they come before they reach the retirement age (an age that varies with their month and date of birth; it can be determined ), they will be entitled to the regular statutory old-age pension; if they are past the retirement age, they will be eligible for the special old-age benefit (of the same rates), conditional on an income test (including their pension from Australia). You would have to check with the Australian authorities to find out whether a pension from Israel would affect their pension from there. As far as health insurance is concerned, since your parents have been living abroad for so long, they are defined right now as non-residents of Israel. A non- resident (or returning resident) who returns to Israel after over 2 years abroad is not entitled to health services for a period of 2 months for every year he was out of the country since 2001, the maximum therefore being 10 months (for the five years since 2001). They are obliged by the maximum waiting period - 10 months. However, they may "redeem" this waiting period if they pay the amount of NIS 8,250 ( a set amount, no matter what the length of the waiting period) to the NII 6 months before they return to Israel. In that case, they will be entitled to health services immediately upon your arrival in Israel. You may pay this amount through our internet site www.btl.gov.il (where you will also find detailed explanations for returning and non-residents). Vol XXVI Q: You mentioned in an answer to another question that if one is liable to make payments to Bituach Leumi and another country's national insurance, he must pay both to keep rights in both. Does this mean that he can choose to only pay one? Specifically, can I stop paying bituach leumi and give up my rights to it and just continue making Social Security payments in the US on my US source self employment income? Thanks. A: Regarding my answer to the previous question you mentioned, this applies when the other country does not have a bilateral social security convention with Israel, If there is such a convention, the person (generally concerns foreign workers) may be exempt from double payment of social security contributions. (By the way, Israel does not have such a convention with the United States.) Regarding your specific case, all residents of Israel are obliged to pay bituah leumi, so the answer is no, you may not stop paying and give up on your rights. * * * Vol XXV Q: Can you please explain to me why owning a car -- even a beat-up 15 year old junker that barely makes it around town -- disqualifies someone from income benefits? It's something I just don't understand: selling a car like that doesn't bring in any money, and in many cases is someone's livelihood. A: The rationale beyond the article of the Income Support Law under which a person who owns a vehicle is ineligible for benefit, is that ownership of a vehicle, even an old one, entails monthly costs - insurance, test, gas, ongoing maintenance, etc. - and that a person who can maintain a vehicle apparently has some sort of income. An income support benefit is granted to a person who has no source of income. By the way, a vehicle necessary for medical reasons does not disqualify one from income support. * * * Vol XXIV Q: My wife, daughter (born in Israel) and I left Israel in 2003 and intend to return next year. Before we left, we were told by Bituach Leumi that we should continue paying a monthly subscription (which would include a payment to Maccabi) and this would preserve our rights while we were away. We have therefore continued to pay the monthly amount we were advised to pay. We also pay an additional amount to Maccabi to maintain our family 'Magen Zahav' policy. Will we be penalized when we come back to Israel, or are our rights protected? A: I can't speak for Maccabi, to whom you pay dues for your supplementary health insurance, but as far as your basic health insurance is concerned - paid for by means of the National Insurance Institute - your rights are protected. Vol XXIII Q: My husband is receiving a Social Security pension from the US. He is also eligible for Israeli Bituah Leumi pension. Both authorities want to know what you are receiving from the other source so that they can reduce benefits. How do you handle this situation? A: Regarding what you need to provide from here for the SSA pension from the US - you can write to: btlfeed@nioi.gov.il - providing your ID number - and ask for authorizations of benefits that you are receiving from the NII (Israeli Bituah Leumi). I don't know what the SSA regulations are, but you can check on their site: www.ssa.gov. Regarding the NII pension itself - if your husband is at the absolute age of entitlement to old-age pension (the age varies according to month and year of birth), he'll receive his full pension without regard to any other income he may have. If he is only at the conditional age of entitlement to pension, also known as the retirement age (also varies according to month and year of birth), then his elgibility is subject to a means test, and the amount of pension he'll receive is reduced in accordance with his other income. You can find out the exact pension he'll be getting by contacting the NII at the e-mail address above. * * * Vol XXII Q: I got on Bituah Leumi as a student, my wife isn't qualified yet. Does anyone know if my baby can get on under me, or do both parents have to be on first? A: Yes, it is enough for one of the parents to be qualified in order for the child to be qualified. By the way, your wife can get a "student's companion" (A4) visa. Q: Does my baby really need an ishur shelo yihiye israeli not to be an Israeli citizen? The guy at Misrad Hapnim said that since both parents aren't Israeli, even though he was born here he is not an Israeli and will never have to serve in the army. Is this true or are they blowing me off? A: It's true. The NII gives the child a number only for purposes of the NII and health insurance. Q: I am receiving NIS 613 shekels in Kitzbat Yeladim, down from NIS 876 previous to that. This sounds a bit off. The web site has not been updated in a few months, and although they mention there were to be cuts in June, it still sounds drastic from the NIS 1,700+ shekels their website has recorded for 5 kids before June. I have 4 kids born before the deadline of May 2003. A: You should be still getting NIS 876 - unless one of the children reached the age of 18, or you have a debt to the NII. The latter possibility can be checked out at your local branch. Q: My wife and I are olim hadashim. We filled out forms at the NII office in Kfar Saba for our son to get the children's allowance on September 5, but still haven't received any payments to our bank account. Is it normal for them to take so long to process these forms? I've faxed them twice already to ask them what's going on, with no response. Is there a ombudsman or public complaints contact for NII to get someone to sort this out? A: Yes, there's a Public Complaints Dept. at the head office of the NII at Weizman Blvd.13, Jerusalem. Phone, (02) 670 9070, fax, (02) 652 5038, or you can go to "contact us" at the bottom left-hand side of our English site. * * * Vol XXI Q: I intend to spend one year studying at a yeshiva in Jerusalem; however, I am about 50 years old. Is it possible nevertherless to obtain a health insurance as a tourist in one of the Kupot Holim and pay accordingly? A: This is not a question for the NII, since you are not an Israeli resident and are therefore not covered in the national health insurance. I assume that the major sick funds in Israel offer private insurance to tourists, but you would have to check directly with them. For Health Funds click here. * * * Vol XX Q: I recently received a letter from Bituah Leumi showing some money Bituah Leumi owes me after they have decided that I am not considered an Israeli resident. I immigrated to Israel in 1992. I was born on January 22, 1963. I am married, my wife lives with me in USA. I left Israel for the US in 1998. I was paying to Bituah Leumi until 2004. I stopped paying in 2004. I spoke to Bituah Leumi today, and the representative told me that the only way to get the money is to provide Bituah Leumi with my account number in Israel. I do not have an account in Israel, but my wife still has one. The representative said "no." No checks, no transfers to account abroad, etc. How can I get my money then? A: From what I understand, after having spoken to a number of senior officials of the NII, the options are as follows: • To give a relative in Israel, or your wife, power of attorney, so that the money may be deposited in his/her account. • It is possible to transfer the money to an account abroad, as follows: A senior official from the Department of Collection of Contributions of the NII (who is authorized to sign a payment order) must sign a payment order (a specific NII form) and give it signed to the Finance Dept. in the head office of the NII. Ms. Sima Lang of the Finance Dept. informed me of the availability of this second option. Q: We are not olim yet, but we have been here for over four years so we have been granted Bituah Leumi. In order to obtain a Bituah Leumi identification number for my baby, we need updated visas (my husband is a student in yeshiva). The appointment that I have scheduled at Misrad Hapnim (the Interior Ministry) in order to renew our visas is a week and a half after my baby turns one year old. Is this (i.e. her age) going to present a problem for my daughter being eligible for a number? A: No, if the parents are entitled to Bituah Leumi, the child is automatically entitled as well, no matter what the age of the child. Q: My husband is British and in the process of acquiring Israeli residence. He is 55, retired from British Army Service and receives an Army pension. I am Israeli and neither self-employed nor employed at the moment. When my husband's residency in Israel is finalized (documentarily) will he have to pay NII contributions? And at what rate? Also are there family contributions or are all NII contributions individual? And finally what is the qualifying period for the state pension? A: A person who is not a resident of Israel is not insured in health or national insurance, and therefore is not required to pay insurance contributions. Contributions are on an individual, not a family, basis. The qualifying period for the NII old-age pension is different for an insured person and for a housewife. New immigrants not insured due to their age at time of immigration are eligible for a special old-age benefit, subject to means test. For detailed information on the qualifying period, contact your local NII branch or check the NII web site . Q: The question is: I have heard that both Israel and the US want to subtract a portion of the benefit one qualifies for from Social Security and Bituah Leumi from the amount the other country gives you. What can you tell me about this? A: For the policy of the Social Security Administration of the US, you would have to contact them . The social security pension that you receive from the US would be taken into consideration in determining eligibility for the special old-age pension in Israel (for those who are not eligible for the regular old-age pension due to their age at the time of immigration to Israel) or for determining the rate of regular old-age pension at the conditional age (or retirement age) - but not at the absolute age of entitlement to pension. Q: I am a 70-year-old male retired with a pension in Canada where we have lived since 1967, my wife is also retired with pension We are both Israeli citizens and plan to return and live in Israel in the coming year. My question is about health insurance eligibilty, and what would be the cost of private health insurance, for reasonably healthy adults with a company such as Macabi? A: All Israeli residents are insured in compulsory national health insurance. Employees pay health insurance contributions as a deduction from their salary. The deduction from income for health insurance is as follows: 3.1% of the part of income (liable for NII and health contributions), that is up to half the average wage (today half the average wage is NIS 3,482) and 4.80% of income that is equal to or higher than half the average wage. A married woman who does not work outside her household is exempt from payment of health insurance contributions. After retirement age, the deduction for health insurance is a uniform NIS 227 per month for a couple (deducted from the NII old-age pension, if such pension is paid). The national health insurance covers a set basket of services, identical in all sick funds. The complementary medical insurance offered by the health funds varies from fund to fund. When you come to Israel and register in the health fund of your choice, you can find out about the complementary insurance offered. * * * Vol XIX Q: I made aliya on July 3, 2001 at the age of 63. My husband is a toshav hozer after 40 years. The only benefit I have received from the State of Israel is the reduced tax on the vehicle I purchased here. The Misrad Haklita did not even pay for the ulpan I attended, claiming I was "too old." I went to the Bituah Leumi, where I was told that I am not eligible for a pension as I made aliya after the age of 60. Please let me know my status as to receiving a pension and what mortgage benefits I am entitled to when purchasing an apartment. A: A new immigrant who is not insured due to his age at the time of his immigration is not eligible for the regular NII old-age pension, but he/she is eligible for what we call the "special old-age benefit," which is essentially the same (the same rates). However, unlike the regular old-age pension, entitlement to this benefit is conditional on passing a means test. It could be that your income is of an amount above the level which would allow you to receive benefit. Q: I am a Israeli citizen, I worked in Israel for 10 years and paid Bituach Leumi. Am I entitled to Bituah Leumi? A: Entitlement to social security benefits in Israel is based on residency in the country. If you are not a resident of Israel (even if you paid Bituah Leumi for 10 years), and you did not start receiving old-age pension while in Israel, you will not be entitled to old-age pension abroad. The matter of residency is complex and based on a number of considerations. You should check your status with the NII local branch in your last area of residence in Israel. Q: Whenever I want to go to the Bituah Leumi in Jerusalem it is closed. What are its opening hours? A: The reception hours in the Jerusalem branch are from 8 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. every day, and for some branches (including maternity, children) also on Mondays from 3 to 5 p.m. * * * Vol XVIII Q: I am a Jew living in Israel. I came as a student in August of 2000. I am now on a work visa which is available to Jews who request them. Finally I found work of sorts and make a modest living. When I first began working my tlush maskoret had listed on it dmei briut and I thought I could sign up for health insurance. Formerly I had FEMI insurance through the university but I found it to be relatively expensive and generally useless as nothing I ever needed was covered. The following month my tlush did not have this deduction and my boss told me that as a foreign worker I don't have this right to this deduction. Is this true? Am I in a different category as a Jew who has not made Aliyah? What is the real story? What is the best and most cost effective way for me to get coverage for the remainder of my time here until I either leave or make aliya? A: Yes, what your boss said is true. A foreign resident, who is not a new immigrant, is not covered in national health insurance. Your only option until you decide to become a new immigrant is to take out private insurance. Q: I am in the UK, planning on making aliya in July 2006. I have been trying to get a definitive answer and solution to the following situation. Due to an accident two years ago, in which I badly injured my right leg I am now registered disabled in the UK. I have mobility problems and walk with a stick. I am also in receipt of UK state benefits applicable for disability. My UK driving license is now restricted to driving an adapted vehicle appropriate for my disability. When I make aliya I will need to purchase a car as a matter of urgency and have it adapted, if I am to have freedom to move around. I understand there are tax concessions and financial aid available for the purchase of a car required for disabled use. I have been led to understand that I can only be registered as a disabled person in Israel once I have officially made aliya. I have also been led to understand that the process to get registered as disabled in Israel can take three to nine months! Obviously this is far too long for me to wait, and could hamper my aliya plans. I would like to know how it could be arranged sooner? I have been told Israeli doctors would need to examine me. Could I prove my disability status from the UK? Can I be registered disabled on arrival? Could it be possible for me to make aliya now for the purposes of getting a Bituach Leumi number and starting the process - but not actually living in Israel until next year? What is the definitive answer? - I have had many opinions, but no proper course of action has been set. I would appreciate any advice and instructions you can provide. A: You don't mention your age. Both the disability pension and the mobility allowance are paid only up to retirement age (in some cases, the mobility allowance may continue to be paid to entitled persons after they have passed the retirement age), which right now is a flexible age, depending on each person's month and year of birth. I will now assume that you are under retirement age. For a new immigrant, entitlement to disability pension begins only after 12 months have elapsed since he became a new immigrant. Before that, immigrants receive benefits from the Ministry of Absorption or Jewish Agency. Mobility benefits are provided to all entitled Israeli residents, but it is necessary that a medical board of the Israeli Ministry of Health determine one's eligibility based on one's percentage of mobility limitation. Mobility benefits include a standing loan to cover taxes on a car (you may be exempt from the taxes anyway as a new immigrant; you would have to find information about this from the appropriate body) and a monthly allowance, the rate of which depends on a number of factors: how much you earn from work, your percentage of mobility limitation and more. If you need special accessories installed in your car, these must be authorized by the Medical Institute of Road Safety, to whom the NII will refer you. More information can be found on the NII website . Q: I was injured six months ago. I have been trying to get Bituah Leumi payments because I cannot work for these months. They keep asking for the same documents again and again. They keep telling me that I will recieve payment, but after six months there is still nothing. What can I do, to who can I turn? A: I'll give you a few numbers that you can try contacting: • The liaison bureau of the NII: (02) 670 9753, fax (02) 651 2683. • The work injury branch in the NII head office (02) 670 9692, fax (02) 652 8572. • The phone information center: (08) 936 9696, fax (08) 946 3119, or (08) 650 9999, fax (08) 650 9986. Make sure to indicate your ID number and how to get back to you. * * * Vol XVII Q: I am not an Israeli citizen. But own a flat in Israel, which I stay in 2/3/4 times a year, spending between 4/6 months a year there. Is there any Israeli medical insurance I can purchase on an annual basis? Currently my stay in Israel is covered by my out of county travel insurance. A: Since you're not an Israeli citizen, you are not insured in the national medical insurance. To purchase private insurance, contact any of the health funds or a private insurance company. Q: What is retirement age for a man born in 1953? A: The retirement age for a man born in 1953 (in May 1942 and thereafter!) is 67. Q: I made aliya from Montreal to Jerusalem in September 1998.I was born on December 16,1948. I am single. I came back to Canada On July 29,2004 - intending to stay only for a 6-week visit with my parents. Unfortunately,during my visit my dear Ima got ill and was admitted to hospital just before I was due to return. She passed away on December 1,2004. I have not been able to return since my Abba needs me here. At this point in time it is doubtful that I will be returning since I have established a new life for myself in Montreal. Here is the issue which aggravates me tremendously. Bituah Leumi continues to send to my former address in Jerusalem pinkas chekim demanding I pay the premiums. I have sent them a few e-mails - in English - but they never answered me. Had I known that I was not planning to return, I would have informed them. One never knows what the future holds in store - death - accident etc. How do I get them to cancel my coverage? The charges are accumulating, and I have no money with which to pay them. Additionally, they are demanding premium payments from me for the year 2004.I had been employed at Machon Lev as an English teacher up until the time I left. From January 2004-July 2004 I had paid premiums which were deducted from my monthly paychecks. So what do they want from my life? Having this terrible burden placed on me with charges building up every month will certainly dissuade me from returning to Israel,as I may wish to come 5-10 years from now. Please, I beg of you, try to help me remedy this very aggravating issue. A: All persons defined as Israeli residents are obligated to pay NII contributions, and have rights to benefits. If you no longer wish to be considered an Israeli resident, write a (regular) letter to the NII local branch in Jerusalem, providing your ID number and requesting to cancel your residency status. Since you're not sure whether or when you'll be returning to Israel, this would be the best course of action. The address of the Jerusalem branch: The National Insurance Institute, Shimon Ben Shatach St. 4, Jerusalem 91007. * * * Vol XVI Q: My husband suffers from depression and takes meds but is still only half functional and is not making much of a living. I am exhausted from caring for the family and also trying to support the family. How can one possibly prove that a person is 60% disabled from depression? Also I have a special needs son who does not need to be supervised 100% of the time, but his care is a significant burden for me. He has a psychiatric diagnosis. How can I successfully apply for benefits for him? Last I suffered a pretty severe hearing loss, but was denied benefits because I became hard of hearing as an adult and I don't have a steady job. What about benefits for me? A: Your husband should submit a claim for a general disability pension. Entitlement is based both on medical disability (including mental impairments) and on functional loss. He should also submit a claim for attendance allowance, paid to disabled persons dependent on the help of others for the performance of everyday tasks or in need of supervision. If your son is under the age of 18, you should submit a claim for benefit for disabled child. Here also mental disability is recognized and can be proved. If he is 18 or over, he should submit a claim for general disability pension. Hearing loss may also be recognized as a disability for pension purposes. If you work or were working and the hearing loss caused you a functional loss of at least 50% and a medical disability of at least 60% (or, if a housewife, a medical disability of at least 50%), you may be entitled to disability pension. If a previous claim was denied, and the situation has deteriorated, you may submit a new claim, which will be reviewed on its own merits. Q: My father is a 65-year-old oleh hadash with certain definite disabilities. Can he apply for nechut as he has never worked here and he made aliya after the age of 65? A: The age of aliya is not a factor in eligibility for disability pension (as it is in the case of the old-age pension). However, disability pension is paid only up to the retirement age, which has changed; it used to be 65 for men, and now it is gradually rising, so for every person the retirment age is different, depending on his month and year of birth. If he was born up to June 1939, his retirement age is 65, so that past that age he will not be entitled to a disability pension. If he was born in July or August 1939, his retirement age is 65 and four months, up till which age he may be entitled to a disability pension. However, it should be taken into account that for a new immigrant, entitlement to a disability pension begins only after 12 months have elapsed since he became a new immigrant. Before that date, he should be eligible for benefits from the Ministry of Absorption or Jewish Agency. Q: I was born in April 1945. I am married and made aliya in 1991. I have been working since then. Could you please tell me how much pension I will get when I retire (eligibility in Dec 2005). I will have no other income. When I retire, if I decide towork part time perhaps two days a week. Will this affect the amount of the pension I receive? A: The basic old-age pension for a single person is NIS 1,107. However, various increments may be added to this sum: the income supplement, for someone who has no source of income other than the pension; the seniority increment, for someone who has over 10 years' insurance, or work (2% for every year beyond 10); a dependents' increment, if you are supporting your husband, etc. If you are not supporting your husband, then when you reach retirement age, you may work and earn a sum of up to NIS 3,969 without this affecting the amount of your old-age pension. * * * Vol XV Q: Some months ago read in the papers that pensions were being increased (by around NIS 200 per couple and NIS 120 for a single person.) What has happened, was this ever passed and if so from what month will pensioners receive this? I keep on seeing in the papers that benefits are supposed to be improving, but no one I know has ever received them. A:
  • In January 2005 the pension of all recipients of old-age and survivor's pensions were increased by 1.9%.
  • Up until May 2005 (since July 2002, under the Economy Arrangements Law), the pensions paid to those who received the basic old-age pension, without income supplement, were reduced by 4%. Since that date, these pensions are reduced by 1% only.
  • From January to May 2005, the pensions paid to those who receive pensions plus income supplement were increased by approximately NIS 60 to a single person and NIS 110 to a couple. After this date (till December 2005), they are increased by NIS 170 to a single person and NIS 230 to a couple. Q: I made aliya in 1999 and obtained permission from Bituah Leumi to buy and own a motor scooter (up to 100cc), which I have done. Some considerable time later, I was told that "at some time in the future," the law may be changed to allow me to buy and own a "small car".... I currently drive around on a 50cc motor scooter, which I love. I would like to know what the current situation is, about being permitted to buy and own a small car. A: Possession of a car rules out eligibility for the income support benefit, unless the claimant is disabled in his legs or needs the vehicle for medical reasons. This subject quite often rises in discussions on possible legislative changes, but as of now the law has not been changed. Q: I was born in October 1946 (made aliya in 1978) so I will be eligible for kitzbat zikna when I'm 61 and some months, if I understand the changes to the law correctly. I would like to know what is the maximum amount, if any, that I can earn and still receive the full allowance. What is the mandatory retirement age now for those born in 1946? A: Yes. You'll be eligible for the old-age pension - conditional on a means test - when you reach the age of 61 and 8 months. The maximum amount that you may earn and still receive a full pension at that age is NIS 3,969. (Past that amount, 60 agurot are deducted for every shekel you earn). At the age of 68, you'll be entitled to the full old-age pension no matter how much you may be earning. Q: My wife and I plan to make aliya in three years at age 55 when we become eligible to receive pensions. In anticipation of aliya, we purchased an apartment in Israel five years ago. We will probably not work for wages (volunteer instead) since our income will be adequate for our needs. Our remaining concern is receiving health insurance after the initial free period. What will be the anticapated charge based on a combined income of approximately NIS 15,000 per month before taxes? A: The deduction from income for health insurance is as follows: 3.1% of the part of income (liable for NII and health contributions) that is up to half the average wage (today half the average wage is NIS 3,482) and 4.80% of income that is equal to or higher than half the average wage. After retirement age, the deduction for health insurance is a uniform NIS 227 per month for a couple. A married woman who does not work outside her household is exempt from payment of health insurance contributions. * * * Vol XIV Q: I contributed to Bituah Leumi from 1975 to 1987. We then moved to England and then to Spain. Is there a way I can merge my Israeli Bituah Leumi to the Spanish one. Is there some sort of agreement between Israel and EU countries? If the answer is no, are my contibutions to the NII lost, or at some stage I can recover these? A: Every resident of Israel must pay insurance contributiions to the NII, and this money is not returned to him (unless it was determined retroactively that he was not a resident during the period of his payments). This principle, of paying to insure against possible contingencies, is the same as in any private insurance company. Persons defined as Israeli residents who reside in a country that has a bilateral social security Convention with Israel or vice versa (generally applied to foreign workers), such the UK, do not have to pay contributions to both countries, but only to one. If such persons reside in a country that does not have a bilateral social security Convention with Israel, such as Spain, he must pay contributions to both countries if he wants to maintain his rights in both. In your case, I understand that you are no longer an Israeli resident, so there is no question of "merging" contributions in any case. Q: I worked in Israel and paid Bituah Leumi and income tax from 1971 to 2003. My husband died in a work-related accident and I have been getting survivor's pension since spring of 1997. I retired in 2003 after over 31 years of employment. I am presently 65 1/2. Can I get both survivor's and old age payments now that I am 65? Will the old age pension start autmatically, or do I have to go down to the NII office?. A: You will not be getting the full old-age pension plus the full survivor's pension, but one full pension and part of the other one the exact combination depending on the sums you specifically are entitled to. You have to go down to your local NII branch to submit a claim, and there they will tell you exactly how much you will get. Q: I must admit that my question must be a very rare one indeed. I lived in Israel from 1996 to 2004. I have since left the country permanently. However, during my years in Israel I paid my dues to Bituah Leumi. I am now 67 years of age and believe that they may want to pay me a pension, but since I now pay my taxes in the UK and receive a pension there, I do not wish to receive a pension from Israel. It will just complicate my tax situation. How can it be avoided? I do not speak, nor read Hebrew. A: If you don't submit a claim for old-age pension to the NII, you won't get the pension. Q My wife and I plan to make aliya in three years at age 55 when we become eligible to receive pensions. In anticipation of aliya, we purchased an apartment in Israel five years ago. We will probably not work for wages (volunteer instead) since our income will be adequate for our needs. Our remaining concern is receiving kupot holim (health insurance) after the initial free period. What will be the anticipated charge based on a combined income of approximately NIS 15,000 per month before taxes. A: The deduction from income for health insurance is as follows: 3.1% of the part of income (liable for NII and health contributions) that is up to half the average wage (today half the average wage is NIS 3,482) and 4.80% of income that is equal to or higher than half the average wage. After retirement age, the deduction for health insurance is a uniform NIS 227 per month for a couple. A married woman who does not work outside her household is exempt from payment of health insurance contributions. Send your comments >> Cafe Oleh experts have been chosen for their knowledge and reputation. Cafe Oleh does not take responsibility for any advice they offer.
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