As of the 28th of September, 2010 the Agreement with the Republic of Belarus regarding cooperation within the field of social security has come into effect. The Agreement regulates a person’s social insurance and entitlement to certain benefits such as the unemployment benefit or social security benefit, if the person goes to work to another country. However, the Agreements biggest influence is upon the pension sector, as according to the regulations of the Agreement, each contracting country pays the pension for its own periods of insurance.
Entitlement to receive a pension from the Republic of Belarus
According to the Agreement, Latvian residents can claim a pension from the Republic of Belarus for employment or equivalent periods within the territory of Belarus, if they have not already received a pension for these periods from the Republic of Latvia (LR).
When establishing entitlement to a Belarus pension, the set pension age, necessary insurance length and other regulations of the national legislation have to be taken into account.
If a person’s insurance length in Belarus is shorter than the required period stated in the national legislation of Belarus, then the competent institution in Belarus can use the insurance periods in Latvia when deciding upon a person’s entitlement to a pension. However, the pension must be calculated only for the insurance periods in Belarus.
If the insurance period in Belarus is shorter than one year, then a person cannot claim for a pension from the Republic of Belarus.
A Belarus pension can be claimed by people who have reached the regulatory age in Belarus, as well as Latvian age pension receivers whose length in Belarus has not been included in the Latvian insurance length, for example Latvian non-citizens. In the same way it is possible to receive a disablement, service and survivor’s pension for insurance periods in Belarus, if all the necessary requirements for the pension granting have been fulfilled.
To claim a pension for employment or equivalent periods in Belarus, a person must go to any division of the State Social Insurance Agency (SSIA) and submit a pension claim, documents which certify employment or equivalent periods within the territory of Belarus, as well as other documents which are necessary for the granting of the certain pension. The received claim and documents will be sent to the competent institution in Belarus for review. If a Belarus pension is granted, it will be paid via the SSIA once every quarter.In the claim the person has to indicate their bank account in the LR credit institution where they will receive their pension.
Entitlement to receive a pension from the Republic of Latvia
For Latvian citizens who will be retiring after the Agreement comes into effect, their employment or equivalent periodsin Belarus will not be included in their Latvian insurance length for which a pension is paid, as according to the national legislation of Belarus – for these periods the pension has to be paid by the competent institution of Belarus. The insurance periods in Belarus which have been approved by the competent institution of Belarus, are only taken into account when establishing entitlement to a Latvian pension if the Latvian insurance length is not long enough to grant a pension.
Insurance periods in Belarus are added to the Latvian insurance length (for which a Latvian pension is paid) only in cases when the insurance length in Belarus is shorter than one year and this has been approved by the competent institution of Belarus, therefore taking into account the insurance periods a person becomes entitled to receiving a Latvian pension.
If the pension has been granted before the Agreement comes into effect and employment or equivalent periodsin Belarus have already been taken into account when calculating a Latvian pension, then this pension is not meant to be reconsidered. Belarus citizens can also apply for a Latvian pension, if they have accumulated employment or equivalent periods within the territory of Latvia and for these a pension has not been granted by Belarus or another country, for example the Russian Federation. A pension claim and documents certifying the insurance length until the 31st December, 1995 should be submitted to the competent institution of Belarus which will forward them to the SSIA for review. If a person is entitled to a Latvian pension, it will be paid once every quarter via the competent institution of Belarus which will transfer it to a person’s bank account in the Belarus credit institution.
Payment of a pension in cases of residential change
The regulations of the Agreement state that after a pension claimant has permanently moved to Belarus, he/she is still going to continue receiving a Latvian pension. In order to receive a pension in Belarus, the pension claimant should submit a claim for receiving a Latvian pension in Belarusto the SSIA, before departing from Latvia. Upon arrival in Belarus, the person should declare and submit an application to the competent institution of Belarus, stating their new address and bank account in the Belarus credit institution where they will receive the Latvian pension. However, persons residing in Belarus are not entitled to receiving the granted (until the 31st December, 2011) additional payment to Latvian old-age or disablement pensions for the insurance length until the 31st December, 1995. Therefore, upon residential change the additional payments will be discontinued.
If a Belarus pension recipient permanently moves to Latvia, then the competent institution of Belarus will continue to pay the granted pension via the SSIA.