Bituah Leumi expert: Pensions abroad

Vol LXXII: You state that "a person who began receiving an old-age pension in Israel may continue receiving it abroad, under certain conditions." What are they?

bituah leumi 88 (photo credit: )
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" in English, last updated January 2009, 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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    * * * Vol LXXII Q: Does mas briut [health tax] that is deducted from the salary of my husband covers also myself? I am not working and my husband works. A: Yes, a married woman who does not work outside her household is exempt from payment of health insurance contributions, and is covered by force through her husband's contributions. Q: My employer is in the US and I get my salary paid in the US. How do I determine how much I need to pay to Bituach Leumi? Can my US employer make payments directly to Bituach Leumi? A: Only a person who works for an Israeli employer meets the definition of "employee" for purposes of payment of insurance contributions. Since your employer is not Israeli, you must pay insurance contributions either as a"self-employed", if you meet the definition (see our site: or, if you don't meet the definition, as a non-worker. In any case, you should go to your local NII branch and verify your status, in order to begin to pay regularly to the NII, and not accumulate a debt. Q: I started receiving old-age payments in Israel in 1998, my wife in 2002. We moved to the USA in 2003. Can we continue to receive payments for an unlimited time while in the USA? A: A person who begins receiving the old-age pension in Israel may generally continue receiving the pension (to a bank account in Israel) after he moves to the United States, but he must send a Certificate of Life annually to his local NII branch in Israel. This does not apply to the income supplement, which may be denied in accordance with the number of trips abroad and the duration of one's stay abroad. For more information, please see our site: Q: You state that "a person who began receiving an old-age pension in Israel may continue receiving it abroad, under certain conditions." Exactly what are the conditions? A: A person who intends to leave Israel for any reason must inform the National Insurance Institute. If he/she departs without doing so, he/she may accumulate debts that will be required to be repaid to the National Insurance Institute. If you live abroad for up to 6 months, your pension will be paid into your bank account in Israel. If you live abroad for more than 6 months, you must notify the National Insurance Institute (Old Age Department) of your stay abroad in writing. Under certain circumstances, the National Insurance Institute will continue to pay your pension, even while you are abroad. If you are in a country that has signed a social insurance treaty with Israel, your pension will be paid to you in that country, as specified in the treaty. If you leave for the United States or Belgium after becoming entitled to an old-age pension, your pension will also be paid during your stay in the United States or in Belgium. Those living abroad and receiving an old-age pension from the National Insurance Institute are required, once a year, to submit a Life Certificate to the National Insurance Institute in Israel. A person who is receiving an income supplement or an income support benefit must give notice to the NII local branch of any departure abroad. As of January 1, 2007, a person or his spouse who have reached retirement age also receive an income supplement for the period that they are abroad, provided that they went abroad a maximum of 3 times in one calendar year (from January through December), and for a maximum period of 72 days (consecutive or cumulative) in one calendar year. A person who goes abroad more than 3 times in one calendar year, or who stayed abroad more than 72 days in one calendar year, will not be paid an income supplement for the entire period he stayed abroad during that calendar year, including the month in which he went abroad and the month in which he returned from abroad. If a person goes abroad due to the death of an immediate family member (a spouse, parent, child, or sibling) for a maximum of 3 weeks, the trip is not included in the calculation of the time spent abroad during one calendar year. If a person receiving a special old-age benefit is living temporarily abroad and he continues to be an Israeli resident, he will continue to receive the special benefit only during the month in which he went abroad and the month in which he returned from abroad. The benefit may be resumed at the discretion of the National Insurance Institute in the month in which he returns to Israel. If a person who is receiving a special old-age benefit lives abroad for a prolonged period of time, his benefit is stopped from the month in which he left the country. Payment of the benefit will resume upon his return to Israel only if he is recognized as an Israeli resident. A spouse who remains in Israel must contact the National Insurance Institute branch closest to his place of residence to clarify his rights. Q: I would like to know when I can receive an Israeli pension -my D.O.B. is 08-10-1948 A: You will reach the retirement age, or the conditional age of entitlement to the NII old-age pension, at age 62, meaning that at this age your entitlement to the pension is subject to an income test. You'll reach the absolute age of entitlement to the NII old-age pension (regardless of income) at age 69. More information is available at our site: Q: What is the maximum that a 100% disabled person can earn per month without losing any of their rights? A: For a person with no bagrut, the amount that can be earned without the disability pension being affected is NIS 2,826. For a person with bagrut, the amount is NIS 3,391. For an academic, the amount is NIS 4,145. After this amount, the pension is reduced by a shekel for every shekel earned. The following information is from our site: Disability Insurance - Receiving a general disability pension while working You can work, earn a living and receive the disability pension if the National Insurance Institute determines that due to your medical condition, you cannot earn more than you are actually earning and that your (gross) monthly income from work fits into one of the following three categories: 1. It is up to 25% the average wage (in January 2007 the average wage was NIS 7,537 and 25% of this was NIS 1,884); 2. It has been reduced, and is up to half the income from work that you were earning before the disability (that is, before you began receiving the pension). In this case the entitlement is generally to a partial pension. How is it determined whether one's income from work has been reduced by at least half? Your (gross) monthly income from work after the disability is compared with this income before the disability, relative to the average wage in these two periods. Lump-sum payments such as clothing allowance and convalescence pay are also taken into account as monthly components in the calculation of your income. Your "income before the disability" is calculated as follows:
  • If you were an employee before the disability - according to your average income in the 6 out of 18 months preceding the disability (the 6 months in which your income was the highest);
  • If you were self-employed before the disability - according to your income in one of the 3 years preceding the year in which the disability began (the year in which your income was the highest). 3. If you did not work before the disability, or if your income from work (as an employee or self-employed worker) was low, your permitted income from work is determined according to your level of schooling, as follows:
  • For a person with an academic or parallel education level - up to 55% the average wage (NIS 4,145 in January 2007);
  • For a high-school graduate or person with a parallel education level - up to 45% the average wage (NIS 3,391 in January 2007);
  • For a person with a low level of schooling or lack of formal schooling - up to 37.5% the average wage (NIS 2,826 in January 2007). (In the first two above levels of schooling, it is imperative to submit education certificates.) In these cases the entitlement is generally to a partial pension. If, after you find work, you want to know how much you are permitted to earn, please contact the claims officer in your local NII branch. He/she will give you further explanations and guidelines regarding the wage documents that you are required to submit. If your medical condition deteriorates, you stop working, or your income from work is reduced, you may immediately apply for a re-examination of your claim. Furthermore, you are always required to notify the NII if you begin working or if there is a change in the scope of your work or wages. From time to time the National Insurance Institute initiates a re-examination of work capacity and entitlement to pension.
  • Q: Dear Sarah, do teachers in Israel have a government pension plan, or is it private? A: This is not a question for the National Insurance Institute. You should check with the Teachers Union or the Histadrut. * * * Send your questions >> 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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