Depending on the canton, pensioners receive more money – Switzerland: standard

Pensioners with a tight budget are entitled to Additional advantages (EL). Whether or not they actually receive this support also depends on where they live. Because the cantons are responsible for the implementation of the EL, and sometimes they are very different. This is indicated in a new report from the Swiss Federal Audit Office. It criticizes the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO), which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the EL. From the point of view of financial control, however, the BSV "prefers to play a role of the observer and intervenes cautiously". Rumor has it that the financial control has compiled comparative data with the survey it has conducted for its report to the cantons, which the BSV did not even know.

Where does the playroom end?

The reticence of citizenship has led to major differences in enforcement in the cantons, which can have serious consequences for affected pensioners. This illustrates the report, among other things, with figures on the so-called asset waiver. If parents give their children a share of the assets or grant a hereditary privilege, this will be partially credited if they have to apply for EL later. The big question is whether the EL body finds out and how stubborn it examines. The data from the Financial Control Survey reveal significant differences: in three canteens, the EL body expects more than 18% of all new applications to abandon their assets, compared with less than 4% in four cantons. The names of the cantons concerned are not disclosed by the financial control in the report, the cantons appear as figures in all graphs. Depending on where you live, a pensioner who does not release the waiver has different chances to get away with it.

From the point of view of financial control, such inequalities violate the law. Differences on this scale go beyond the scope of federal law, according to the report. The BSV contradicts the question: "The EL agencies have a wide margin of discretion, especially when it comes to renouncing assets."

Striking differences can be seen in a second point, which is especially important for retirees IV: if they are fully or partially capable of working, but do not strive for a job, the EL body can give them a so-called hypothetical income – the EL Contribution is then correspondingly smaller. The determination of this hypothetical income is complicated and controversial, apparently so, some EL bodies in case of doubt waive or intentionally intervene deeply, which they do the IV retires a favor. The number of cases in which the cantonal EL office completely renounced the hypothetical income varies from 9 to 70 percent, depending on the canton. There is a lot at stake for IV pensioners: in individual cases this decision is usually for them up to 12,000 francs a year, as the financial controller writes.

The odds vary enormously

In general, the cantonal EL bodies seem to be of different severity. According to the survey, the speed of negative decisions varies enormously: in a canton 44 percent of all new EL applications were rejected, on the other side of the scale is a more generous canton, which only declined 18 percent. How such differences are achieved can not be explained by the BSV because it contains no data at all. However, the Office has high expectations for the new EL register, which will be introduced in 2018. Thanks to this, the BSV will learn, among other things, how the EL agencies work with the hypothetical income. The more detailed register should also provide information on other issues raised by financial control.

In general, the BSV does not reject the criticism. It also agrees with the recommendation of the Financial Control Board to draw up a risk analysis with targeted statistics for the monitoring of EL enforcement, which to date – unlike other social security systems – is lacking. The BSV justified this, among other things, with the fact that the EL, in contrast to the AHV or the IV, is a joint task of the Confederation and the cantons. That is why the supervision possibilities here are generally much weaker, especially because the cantons finance most of the EL.


Created: 20.08.2018, 23:16 clock

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