When do I qualify for a pension paid by the Federal Pensions Service?
You qualify for a retirement pension if you were a salaried person in the private sector in Belgium or abroad for an employer established in Belgium.
Those who work in Belgium in a 'detached' capacity don't become part of the Belgian social security system, they remain part of the social security system of the country from which they are sent to Belgium.
By salaried persons we mean those who work under a labour contract for an employer in the private sector, i.e. workers, employees (office workers), miners, contractual civil servants (as opposed to statutory civil servants), seafarers, professional journalists and civil aviation crews, etc.
If the person whom you divorced was employed in a similar capacity during the marriage you, the former spouse, are equally entitled to a pension.
If you are the surviving spouse of such a salaried person you qualify for a survivor's pension.
If you are voluntary or legally separated from such a salaried person, you may claim part of the retirement pension from which your spouse benefits or could benefit at the age of 65 providing all banned professional activities are stopped.
At what age can I retire?
For men and women the retirement pension as well as the pension as a divorced person becomes effective the 1st day of the month following the 65th birthday. In other words: if your 65th birthday is in November, your retirement starts on December 1st. Do take into account that retirement at 65 is no longer compulsory: provided your employer agrees, you can work beyond that normal retirement age.
You can retire earlier, at the earliest the month following your 60th birthday, providing the total career (salaried person + self-employed + civil servant) in Belgium and in countries that have such an agreement with Belgium, is sufficiently long.
Until 2012, 35 years were required, but from 2013 on this will gradually change to 40 years and a minimum age of 62. Moreover you must have performed at least one third of a full-time employment during each of these years of employment.
However, early retirement is not possible in Belgium if you are entitled to a full time conventional early retirement pension. In this special system the person concerned is at charge of the employment ministry until normal retirement age, i.e. 65.
To benefit from a survivor's pension you have to be at least 45 years old, unless you:
Should you fail to meet these conditions, you are entitled to a temporary survivor's pension for up to a year.
- are at least 66% permanently disabled;
- have charge of a child;
- are the widow of a miner who worked underground for at least 20 years.
As voluntary or legally separated spouse, you can claim part of your spouse’s retirement pension at any age.
For miners, seafarers and members of civil aviation flight crews special rules apply for the retirement age:
- seafarers and surface miners: at 60 years;
- underground miners: at 55 years, or at any age after at least 25 career years in case of normal and primary employment as underground miner;
- civil aviation flight crews: at 55 years or at any age after 34 years of normal and primary employment as a member of a cabin crew or after 30 years employment as member of a pilot crew.