The persons who are relocating to reside in any Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area (hereinafter EU/EEA, including Switzerland) do not lose the entitlements they have gained before, for example, to receive benefits and pensions if social insurance contributions have been made. All the social insurance periods, irrespective of the EU/EEA Member State where they have been accrued, are summed up for the purpose of determining the entitlement to benefits and pension. In order to avoid a situation where the migrating worker is insured, i.e. makes social insurance contributions in several countries, the legal acts of one member state only may be applied in relation to a person.
The above principles are included in the EU legal act - Regulation. The purpose of the Regulation is to ensure that the workers crossing the borders within the EU/EEA and Switzerland would not face a less advantageous situation from the point of view of the social insurance rights than if they had stayed in their home country.
On 1 May 2010 the Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 on the coordination of the social security systems adopted by the European Parliament and Council on 29 April 2004 (Regulation No.883/2004) and the Regulation No. 987/2009 of 16 September 2009 of the procedure of the implementation of the Regulation No. 883/2004 entered into force. We would like to remind that as from the moment when Latvia joined the European Union (EU) on 1 May 2004 the coordination of the social security systems has been done in compliance with the Council Regulation No.1408/71 on the application of the social security schemes to employed persons, self-employed persons and their family members moving within the territory of the Community (Regulation No. 1408/71) and the Regulation No.574/72 defining the procedure of the implementation of the Regulation No.1408/71.
As from 1 January 2011 the Regulation No.883/2004 applies also to the citizens of third countries, stateless persons and refugees who move within the territory of the Community and are legally employed (and in the case of Latvia it means that as from 1 January 2011 the Regulation applies also to non-citizens).
As from 1 April 2012 the Regulation No.883/2004 and the Regulation No.987/2009 apply also to Switzerland based upon the Joint Committee Resolution No. 1/2012 adopted on 31 March 2012 on the Agreement concerning the free movement of persons between the European Community and its Member States on one side and the Confederation of Switzerland on the other side.
As from 1 June 2012 the Regulation No.883/2004 and the Regulation No.987/2009 apply also to the member states of the EEA - Norway, Lichteinstein and Iceland based upon the Resolution No. 76/2011 of the EEA Joint Committee.
The basic principles of the coordination rules protect the persons who move within the territories of the member states of the EU/EEA. The purposes of movement may differ and include tourism, commencement of new employment, etc. According to the regulation a person may be insured in one EU/EEA member state only at a time and equal treatment has to be guaranteed to all persons in the field of social security. For the purpose of determining the entitlement to services, for example, pensions and benefits, the insurance periods accrued in all the EU/EEA member states have to be aggregated, and the export of the relevant benefits has to be ensured. For example, in case of a person who receives the pension from Latvia and who wants to move for residing in another EU/EEA member state the payment of the pension to the bank account of the new place of residence will be ensured. This is referred to as the export of pension.
All the above referred basic principles of coordination have been maintained in the Regulation No.883/2004. The new rules apply to the group of persons, determination of the applicable legislation if a person is employed in several EU/EEA member states at the same time, the terms of the export periods of directing employees and the unemployed benefits, the provision of health care services in EU/EEA, etc. The transfer to electronic information exchange by the EU/EEA member states presents one of the most important modernisation features of the coordination. The member states have to ensure this until 30 April 2014, thus considerably improving and making faster the process of granting the services.
The Regulation is applicable to the following pensions and benefits:
- Old-age pensions;
- Disability pensions;
- Pensions in case of losing a supporter;
- Early pension;
- Compensations in relation to accidents at work and occupational diseases;
- Sickness, maternity and paternity benefits;
- Unemployed benefits;
- Funeral benefits;
- Family benefits.
The Regulation No.883/2004 only coordinates the national legislation of member states in the area of social security. This means that the member states are free to choose which persons must be socially insured, what benefits and based upon what rules have to be granted, what the social insurance payment rate should be, how benefits have to be calculated and for how long time they have to be granted.
Prior to commencing employment in another member state we kindly ask you to study the information concerning the terms of the relevant country in the field of employment and social security:
- Movement within the European Union
- My social security - Pensions in Europe
- Social insurance coordination: work, travel, study and retire in any European Country
- Social insurance coordination: work at any European country
- MISSOC tables on the systems of the EU/EEA member stated in employment law, social security and other fields
In Latvia there are two competent institutions providing services in compliance with the Regulation No.883/2004: the State Social Insurance Agency (VSAA) and the National Health Service (NVD).See detailed information on the granting of services at the websites of the institutions in compliance with the competence of these institutions. Information on the granting of pensions and benefits can be found at the website of VSAA www.vsaa.lv and the information concerning the organisation of the health care can be found at the website of NVD http://www.vmnvd.gov.lv/.