The abbreviation AHV stands for Alters- und Hinterlassenen-Versicherung, or state old age and survivors' insurance. It was introduced in 1948 and is Switzerland’s most important social insurance.
Together with the retirement pension, the AHV helps to guarantee a materially secure retirement for insured persons when they stop working. In Switzerland the age of retirement is 64 for women and 65 for men (as of January 2016). The survivors' insurance within AHV helps to prevent the spouse and children from getting into financial difficulty after the family’s main provider has died.
AHV is based on the fundamental principle of solidarity. The professionally active population finances current pensions and relies on subsequent generations doing the same. Insurance is compulsory for everyone living and working in Switzerland, from 18 years of age. AHV is financed by contributions deducted from the employees’ wages, and contributions from employees, the state and the cantons.
Anyone who is nearing retirement should contact the relevant Compensation Office three to four months before they reach retirement age. If you have questions, the local branches of the Compensation Office can provide further assistance.
The additional AHV and IV (state invalidity insurance) benefits help when the insured person’s pension, other income and assets do not cover the minimum living expenses. Foreigners residing in the canton can also receive these additional benefits: