Riigikogu: Social Affairs Committee supports paying benefits to pensioners abroad
People who paid their contributions shouldn’t be refused a pension based on where they live, the committee’s chairman, MP Aivar Kokk (IRL), said on Monday. His committee supported a legislation change that would allow the state to freely pay pensions to residents of other countries.
“The changed legislation guarantees people’s rights, and people who live abroad have a better connection with the state,” Kokk said.
Minister of Social Protection Margus Tsahkna (IRL) explained introducing the proposed bill that both work incapacity and national pensions wouldn’t be included. Tsahkna said that work incapacity pensions would be replaced with a new kind of financial support in the course of the government’s work ability reform, and that national pensions would only be paid to Estonian residents.
People abroad with a right to benefit could receive old-age pension, superannuated pension, survivor’s pension, and special pensions. Those seeking early retirement would be excluded from the scheme, Tsahkna said.
According to current law, recipients of pensions have to be residents of Estonia. State pensions are currently only paid to residents of the European Union, the European Economic Area, and countries with which Estonia has social insurance agreements.
The government made the decision to extend payments in September 2014. The Ministry of Social Affairs explained the measure with the need to react to new trends in how people moved about during their lifetime. “People residing outside their country of birth is a rising trend. Currently Estonia lacks regulations that would allow the state to pay pensions to third-country residents based on domestic law. Because of this, individuals who take up residence in countries where EU law doesn’t apply or with which Estonia doesn’t have a social insurance agreement lose the right to their pensions,” the ministry wrote.
Applicants don’t have to come to Estonia in person, but can instead submit all the relevant documents by mail.
The Riigikogu will take up work on the bill on Apr. 13.