State old age and survivors' insurance

State old age and survivors' insurance (AHV)

How does state old age and survivors' insurance work?

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.


  • Sozialversicherungsanstalt des Kantons Graubünden

    Social Insurance Institution of the Canton of GrisonsOttostrasse 247000 Chur081 257 41

Additional AHV/IV (state invalidity

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:


  • There is no waiting period for nationals of EU and EFTA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) states
  • Nationals of third states must live in Switzerland continuously for ten years
  • Refugees and stateless persons must live in Switzerland for five years continuously.
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