Voluntary social insurance offers retired participants flexible payment methods to enjoy pension

28/03/2024 10:55 AM

According to the provisions outlined in the Social Insurance Law, voluntary social insurance participants who have reached the retirement age but haven't fulfilled the required number of years of insurance contributions can opt for a lump sum payment in order to become eligible for pension.

The existing Social Insurance Law unequivocally outlines two distinct categories of social insurance. Compulsory social insurance is applicable to individuals employed under labour contracts, civil servants, public employees, as well as police and military officers. On the other hand, voluntary social insurance caters specifically to freelance workers.

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The law clearly establishes the number of years of social insurance contributions and the retirement age for employees who participate in compulsory social insurance. However, the conditions and benefits for voluntary social insurance participation remain flexible.

Accordingly, voluntary social insurance is available to Vietnamese citizens aged 15 years or older who are not required to have compulsory social insurance. Unlike compulsory social insurance, there is no maximum age limit for participants in voluntary social insurance programmes.

Participants have the flexibility to pay voluntary social insurance premiums based on their preferred frequency. They can choose to make payments monthly, every three months, every six months, or annually. Alternatively, participants can opt to make a single payment for multiple years in advance, but the interval between such payments should not exceed five years (60 months).

Employees who are qualified to receive pension can pay lump-sum premiums for the remaining years but the remaining payment period must not exceed 10 years.

For individuals who have reached the retirement age but do not meet the 20-year payment conditions for social insurance, there is an option to continue paying voluntary social insurance. By choosing this option, participants can make a one-time payment for the remaining years and immediately enjoy the benefits of a pension later.

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In terms of eligibility requirements, voluntary insurance participants must meet the same criteria as those under compulsory social insurance. This means that they must have paid social insurance premiums for a minimum of 20 years and have reached the designated retirement age. However, for individuals who join the program at a later stage in life and have not accumulated enough years of social insurance contributions by the time they reach retirement age, there is an option available to them. They have the opportunity to make a lump sum payment for the remaining years of required social insurance premiums in order to qualify for pension benefits.

In case a social insurance participant has reached the retirement age and has a remaining period of social insurance payment of no more than 10 years (120 months), they have the option to receive a one-time payment for the remaining years, which will provide them with a full 20 years of pension benefits. The time to start receiving the pension is calculated from the month immediately following the month of the full payment for the remaining years.

For example, by the end of 2024, Ms. Nguyen Thu M. has reached the retirement age, but has only participated in voluntary social insurance for 12 years, with eight years remaining. This year she can pay a lump sum premium for the eight missing years, to enjoy pension from January 2025.

For those who have joined the compulsory social insurance and are eligible for pension age but lack at most six months of social insurance payment to qualify for pension, the employees are entitled to make a one-time payment for the remaining months.

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If they lack more than 10 years of social insurance premium payment, they can pay voluntary social insurance premium similar to people in the working age, until the deficit is no more than 10 years. In those cases, they can pay lump sum premiums for the remaining years to enjoy their pension as soon as possible.

For example, by the end of 2024, Ms. Tran Thi H. has reached the retirement age, but has participated in voluntary social insurance for only eight years and lacks 12 years. If she wishes to continue her membership, from January 2025 to the end of December 2026, Ms. H. must continue to pay voluntary social insurance as in previous years. By 2027, if Ms. H. has paid the full 10 years, with the remaining number of years not exceeding 10, she will be able to pay a lump sum premium for the remaining 10 years and receive her pension in 2027.

The draft amended Law on Social Insurance has proposed reducing the minimum number of years of paying social insurance premiums from 20 years to 15 years in order to allow freelance workers to enjoy healthcare benefits of social security network when they reach the old age./.