A concise guide to obtaining retirement benefits for expats working in Italy.
Working in Italy on a short or a long term is nowadays more and more common for expats coming from all over the world, though very little is known about the retirement pension rights that can be accumulated during such work assignments and, specifically, how to claim and/or apply for them.
Social security (or insurance) is referred to as Previdenza Sociale in Italy and it is managed by INPS – Istituto Nazionale per la Previdenza Sociale (National Institute for Social Security/Insurance), a local government body which handles, among several other things, retirement benefits. Once on an assignment in Italy, your employer will register you to both INPS and INAIL (National Workplace Accidents Insurance Institute), which should, per sé, automatically entitle you to retirement pension benefits. If, on the other end, you are self-employed, you must contact INPS in order to be advised on your own specific situation.
According to the last INPS regulations and recent pension reforms, currently, both male female expat employees must have paid pension contributions for at least 5 years. Women must have attained at least 60 years of age, whereas men must be at least 65 years old, and both must have retired from all employment. Nevertheless, the retirement age is expected to be raised to 66 years old by 2018 for both male and female contributors.
The application for retirement benefits must be made by submitting all of the forms, properly completed, to INPS. Such forms can be found in Italian on the INPS website, and they are best filled out possibly with the aid of an English speaking Italian solicitor who will be knowledgeable and familiar with the entire procedure and an expert in international law issues.
In addition to the aforementioned, it must be clarified that the pension amount due is most likely to be rather small, though it is possible to pay for private pension plans. In fact, “closed pension funds” are available for employees of certain companies, members of specific occupations as well as private parties.
In light of the fact that pension planning always works on a case-by-case basis, it is strongly recommended, and safe nonetheless, for the expat to avail him/herself of a local expert’s help, who will provide the right professional advice in order to avoid incurring in any problems and/or hindrances.