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Welfare When pensions were first handed out

A look back at Switzerland’s old-age pension scheme, as well as survivors' and invalidity insurance, which are an integral part of the social security system. (SRF, swissinfo.ch)

Switzerland’s social security system to ensure the livelihood of Swiss citizens as they retire and get older consists of three ‘pillars’: old-age and survivors/disability insurance (‘first’ pillar), a professional pension plan (the ‘second’ pillar) and optional private investments (‘third’ pillar).

Old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI) was first introduced in 1948 and has since been revised ten times. The next revision is planned in 2020. In 1948 the minimum pension was CHF40 ($41). It currently stands at CHF1,100. 

The retirement age for men - 65 years - has remained unchanged since 1948. The retirement age for women was also initially set at 65. In 1957 it was lowered to 63 and in 1964 it went down to 62 years. In 2001 the age limit was raised to 63, and then went back up to 64 in 2005. The reform in 2020 will return the threshold for women to 65, as it was in 1948.

On September 25 the Swiss will vote for the popular initiative ‘OASIplus: for a decent old-age pension’, which calls for the old-age pension payment to be increased by 10%.

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