If you have worked or currently are working in Belgium, and pay into Belgian social security, you are entitled to a Belgian state pension when you retire. In addition to this, you might also have a complementary pension plan in place or contribute to an individual savings plan.
When you contribute for so many years, you will ask yourself at some point how much you may expect to receive from your total pension pot. Before this question can be answered, it is important to understand the basics of the Belgian pension system and how to navigate around them.
The Belgian pension system basically revolves around three pillars:
- statutory ‘legal’ state pension (first pillar);
- complementary ‘extra-legal’ pension (second pillar);
- individual retirement savings plan (third pillar).
In principle, payment of your Belgian state pension begins when you reach the age of 65 years. This will increase to 66 years in 2025 and to 67 years in 2030. You will need to have worked 45 years to get the maximum pension. In case you have worked for only 42 years, for example, your pension amount will be calculated proportionally.
If you live in another country upon retirement, you will still need to apply with the Belgian pension service to claim your state pension. Your contributions to the Belgian public system can never be rolled over to another country. This is only possible for the second and third pillar plans.
Complementary pension schemes are in place to supplement public pension benefits. These are administrated via an insurance company or a pension fund provider. Different options are available for employees and self-employed. Finally, there are also personal retirement saving plans to which you can voluntarily contribute. The contributions will give you a (limited) tax deduction.
While the final pension amount will only be known upon retirement, you probably want to get an estimate of your total pension pot well before. As we often get this question from clients, we hereby list some useful online tools that will help you to keep track of your Belgian pension entitlements:
1. On the website MyPension, you can consult your personal pension file where you will find relevant information about your statutory and complementary pension(s). The website also has a tool available that allows you to plan your retirement based on simulations that immediately map out the financial consequences.
2. Pensioenmanager.be is a free online platform that helps both employees and self-employed with their extra-legal pension planning. When you grant access to your personal file on MyPension, it analyses your current contracts, allows you to make simulations and make comparisons for different scenarios.
3. Demande de pension is a joint initiative of the different pension services in Belgium. As an employee or self-employed you can submit your (early) pension application online via this website. After submitting the online form, your application will automatically be sent to the competent pension service.
4. On the website of the Federal Pension Service you will find some general information about retirement age, application, payment, additional income, living abroad, required certificates, etc.
5. More information about early retirement and other topics is also available on the website of the non-profit organization Fediplus.