Article 1, paragraphs 179 to 186 of the 2017 Budget Law and subsequent amendments and integrations provides for a benefit to be paid by the State, paid by INPS to individuals who meet certain conditions required by law. The recipients must be at least 63 years of age and cannot already be enrolled in direct pension schemes in Italy or abroad. The benefit is paid, upon claim, until the recipient is eligible for an old-age pension, or until early retirement or for benefits received prior to the old-age pension, as referred to in Article 24, paragraph 6 of Decree Law No. 201 of 6th December 2011, converted by Law No. 214 of 22nd December 2011 (the Monti-Fornero Law).
This is an experimental measure in effect from 1st May 2017 to 31st December 2019, with the aim of assisting individuals with limited financial resources until they are eligible for old-age pensions.
The so-called APE social benefits are aimed at workers enrolled in the Compulsory General Insurance scheme for Employees, in both its exclusive and substitute forms, in the special pension schemes for self-employed workers, as well as in the Separate Pension Scheme (Gestione Separata) referred to in Article 2, paragraph 26 of Law No. 335 of August 1995, who:
a) are in a state of unemployment as a result of termination of employment due to dismissal, including collective dismissal, resignation for just cause or consensual termination as part of the procedure referred to in Article 7 of Law No. 604 of 15th July 1966. They could also be unemployed as a result of the termination of a fixed-term employment contract provided that they have had, in the 36 months prior to the termination of employment, periods of employment for at least 18 months, have received the full unemployment benefit due to them for at least 3 months and have worked for at least 30 years whilst paying contributions;
b) are assisting, at the time of the claim and for at least 6 months, their severely disabled spouse or cohabiting first-degree relative, pursuant to Article 3, paragraph 3 of the Law of 5th February 1992, n. 104, or a disabled relative or cohabiting second-degree relative if the parents or spouse of the severely disabled person are 70 years old or over, are suffering from a disabling disease, have died or are absent. The applicant must also have a contribution period of at least 30 years;
c) have a reduced ability to work that is greater than or equal to 74% and confirmed by the competent commissions for the confirmation of legal disability, and have worked for at least 30 years whilst paying contributions;
d) are employed on the allowance start date, having worked for at least 36 years whilst paying contributions and who have worked, for at least 7 of the past 10 years or at least 6 years of the past 7 years, in one or more of the following hard work activities:
- Work-men in the extractive, construction and building maintenance industries;
- Operators of crane or mobile machinery for drilling in the construction sector;
- Tanners of leather and fur;
- Train drivers and travelling personnel;
- HGV and truck drivers;
- Nurses and obstetricians shift-work;
- Personal care work for dependent persons;
- Kindergarten and nursery school teachers;
- Porters and moving goods operators and similar;
- Unqualified cleaners ;
- Ecological operators and other waste collection and separation operators;
- Agricultural, zootechnics and fishery workers;
- Coastal, inland or high sea fishers if employed or a member of a cooperative;
- Workers of the first and second melting in the steel sector and glass workers, working at high temperatures not already covered by Legislative Decree No. 67 of 21st April 2011
- Seafarers and crew members on board marine and inland waterway transport.
For the purposes of granting the allowance, the contribution requirements in points (a) to (d) shall be reduced by 12 months per child for women with children, up to a maximum of 2 years.
START DATE AND DURATION
The APE benefit starts on the first day of the month following the one in which the claim for the benefit was submitted, provided that all requirements and conditions stipulated by law, including termination of employment, have been met by that date.
The APE is paid monthly for 12 months of the year until the recipient reaches the age at which old-age pension can be claimed or until a direct pension is paid in advance or received prior to the old-age pension.
In order to assess whether the financial resources set aside for the allowance are sufficient, the number of recipients will be monitored. Monitoring is carried out by assessing the individuals who are closest to the age requirement. If two applicants have the same age the assessment is then based on the date at which the claim was submitted.
WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO?
The benefit is equal to the sum of the monthly pension instalment calculated at the time that the benefit was accessed (if less than €1,500) or equal to €1,500 (if the pension is equal to or greater than this amount). The sum of the benefit will not be reassessed or combined with the minimum payment.
If an individual made contribution payments, for any reason, to more than one pension scheme that participates in the APE benefit scheme, the calculation of the monthly pension instalment is made proportionally for each pension scheme, in relation to the respective membership periods completed, according to the calculation rules provided by each system and based on the respective reference salaries.
Imputed contributions are not paid during the period in which the recipient receives the benefit.
The APE benefit is terminated in the event of the death of the holder and cannot be transferred to the survivors.
The beneficiaries are not entitled to family allowances.
To be entitled to the benefit, applicants that meet the conditions stated by law must, at the time of the claim, fulfil the following requirements:
- Be at least 63 years of age;
- have paid contributions for at least 30 years; for workers who carry out so-called “hard work“ activities, the minimum required period for contribution payments is 36 years. For the purposes of granting the allowance, the contribution requirements are reduced, for women, by 12 months for every child, up to a maximum of two years;
- Not be in receipt of any direct pension.
Eligibility for the benefit is also subject to the termination of employment, self-employment or para-subordinate work carried out in Italy or abroad.
The benefit is not compatible with income support services related to involuntary unemployment, unemployment allowance (ASDI), or the allowance for the termination of commercial activities.
However, it can be claimed whilst the recipient is carrying out salaried or para-subordinate work but only if the income earned from said activity does not exceed €8,000 (gross) per year, or €4,800 (gross) for self-employed workers. If the annual limit is exceeded, the individual will lose the Social APE. In addition, the benefit received during the year in which the excess occurred will become undue and the INPS Office will recover it.
HOW CAN I CLAIM?
Individuals who, by 31st December 2019 will meet or could meet the requirements provided for by law must, prior to the claim for the benefit, submit a claim for confirmation of the conditions needed to be eligible for the benefit by 31st March 2019, 15th July 2019 and, in any circumstance, no later than 30th November 2019.
At the same time as the claim for the confirmation of conditions is submitted, or whilst awaiting a response for the claim, an applicant who already meets all of the requirements, including the termination of employment, may submit the claim to receive the benefit.
Claims, both for confirmation of the APE eligibility conditions and for accessing the benefit, must be addressed to the relevant local INPS offices and submitted electronically using the usual institutional channels.
For the evaluation of claims, a special protocol has been put in place by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, INPS, INAIL, ANPAL and INL. This involves how data can be exchanged with other authorities, how statements made by applicants and employers can be checked and the cases in which the INPS may refer to the National Labour Inspectorate.