Switzerland has a comprehensive social security system. All people living or working in Switzerland, as well as their dependants, receive broad protection against risks that are too great for the individual to bear.
The Swiss social security system has various types of insurance:
- old-age and survivors' insurance (AHV)
- invalidity (disability) benefit (IV)
- illness and accident insurance
- unemployment benefit
- family and maternity allowances
These provide protection in the form of benefits, allowances or compensation for loss of earnings, as well as covering medical costs.
Most social security funds are financed by personal and employer contributions based on earnings. However, for compulsory health insurance, individuals must take out personal policies with private health insurers.
Meeting minimum living costs
People on a low income may request help with health insurance costs. Those with a low income receiving AHV or IV may also claim supplementary benefits. These means-tested benefits and health insurance subsidies are financed by federal and cantonal governments.
International social security agreements
Reciprocal arrangements allow workers to combine social insurance contributions paid in Switzerland and abroad.
The Free Movement of People Agreement between Switzerland and the EU coordinates the social security systems between different member states. Bulgaria and Romania are so far not included.
The agreement essentially gives citizens equal access to member states’ labour markets. It also provides for mutual recognition of professional qualifications and reciprocal social security arrangements.
Social security agreements with non-EU countries : Switzerland has made reciprocal arrangements with various countries. See individual agreements for details in the link beyond.
Countries with no social security agreement with Switzerland: Information is available on what happens to your contributions when you leave Switzerland.
The Swiss Constitution guarantees basic subsistence to anyone in serious distress living in Switzerland. This includes failed asyslum seekers or undocumented migrants.