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 "National Insurance Programs in Israel" in English, last updated January 2008, offering a description of social security programs, definitions, conditions of entitlement, and rates of payment, please email your request; include your name and regular mailing address (NOT email address).
Click here to send us your questions for Sarah
and please leave your comments on the Q&A below.
NOTE: Sarah can only answer questions of a general nature. For specific cases, please call the Public Enquiries Dept. between 13.00 and 15.00, Sundays through Thursdays, at: 02-6709070 or call the national phone center at *6050. 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: Do I lose my pension rights if I stay out of Israel more than 5 years without residing at least 90 days? (I pay Bituach Leumi every month)
A: As long as you are defined as an Israeli resident, and pay your insurance contributions, you are covered in national insurance.
The above is generally the case regarding short periods of stay abroad.
There are other considerations in the residency test aside from length of stay abroad.
In any case, the residency test is activated when the person returns to Israel to live.
It is thus recommended that you continue to pay insurance contributions abroad (unless you are certain that you have no intention of returning to live in Israel any time soon, in which case you should ask for your Israeli residency to be revoked - see appropriate form on our site: www.btl.gov.il).
Q: How long would it take for a non- Jewish spouse to receive rights to National Health Insurance after entering Israel?
A: Only persons who are defined as Israeli residents (Jews and non-Jews) are entitled to health insurance.
There is a residency test for persons who enter Israel, which may take a number of months. The time period is not defined in law.
It would be wise to continue your health insurance from abroad until the health insurance in Israel takes effect.
Also, it is recommended to report to the local branch of the National Insurance Institute as soon as possible after arriving in Israel.
Q: I married an Israeli in the year 1997. I worked only for three years from 2000-2003. Am I entitled to get a separate pension when I reach the age of 67?
A: The answer to your enquiry depends on information that I do not have, such as the month and year of your birth and your age when you came to Israel. You can find detailed information on our site, including tables that show when each woman is entitled to old-age pension with income test (conditional age of entitlement to old-age pension) and without income test (absolute age of entitlement). The site address: www.btl.gov.il.
Q: I made aliyah in 1993 and have been paying into the fund since then. I will be 61 years of age in 2 months. Is it worth it for me to keep paying? Will I be able to apply for benefits at 65 or 67?
A: You will be able to apply for an old-age pension at age 67, which for you is the age that you may be first eligible for a pension, conditional on income. That is, there is a certain low income that you may earn at age 67 and be entitled to the full pension, a certain high income that if you earn, you will be not entitled to any pension, and if you earn anything in between, you will be entitled to a partial pension. (These rates of income and other details are available on our site: www.btl.gov.il). In the meantime, you are obligated to continue paying insurance contributions.
Q: I worked for about two years in Israel as a temporary resident. I am now almost 60. If we make Aliyah (again) will we receive a pension?
A: On the assumption that you are a man, you didn't work long enough in Israel to meet the qualifying period of entitlement to the old-age pension (which is 60 months of insurance within the last 10 years preceding pensionable age, or 144 insurance months altogether). Therefore, you will not be entitled to the regular old-age pension, but you may be eligible for the special old-age benefit, at the same rate as the regular pension, but conditional on a means test. More and comprehensive information may be found on our site: www.btl.gov.il.
Q: When I get NII retirement benefits, how much they will be? I was born in 1944, am getting US Social Security for the past 2 years. I called *6050 but cant understand the Hebrew.
A: You will reach the conditional age of entitlement to the old-age pension at age 67. This means that at age 67, you can apply for a pension; if your income is lower than a determined minimum, you will be entitled to the full pension; if it is over a determined maximum, you will not be entitled to any pension; if it is between the two, you will be entitled to a partial pension. The amounts of these incomes and other comprehensive information may be found on our site: www.btl.gov.il.
Q: Our family is receiving an old age pension with an income supplement. Will my wife's earnings be deducted if she finds work?
A: The idea of the income supplement is to supplement the old-age pension up to the increased rate of the income support benefit, mostly for those who have no other source of income other than their old-age pension, or whose other income is lower than a determined amount. Therefore all income (of both spouses) is taken into account in determining eligibility for income supplement. For the exact income amounts taken into account and other important information, see our site: www.btl.gov.il.
Q: Is an Israeli citizen living abroad entitled to kizvat ziknah [old-age pension]?
A: Entitlement to old-age pension and other benefits from the NII are based on residence in Israel. Residents of Israel alone have all the rights and obligations under national Insurance. Therefore, only a person who began receiving the old-age pension in Israel may continue receiving it abroad, under certain conditions.
Q: Should my employer pay my bituah leumi if I'm a new olah (been in Israel for 4 months) and work as a nanny off the books? Will it affect me at the end of the year if they don't pay?
A: Yes, every employer is obligated to pay insurance contributions for all his employees. If the employer does not pay, the rights of his employees are not impaired, since the obligation is the employer's. See our site for more information: www.btl.gov.il.
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