DISABILITY PENSION

The following requirements must be met in order to qualify for a disability pension:

  • Partial or complete loss of working capacity,
  • Years of service

Partial or complete loss of work capacity can result from non-work related injury or disease, injury or accident at work, or occupational disease.

Partial loss of working capacity exists when an insured person has not experienced a complete loss of working capacity, but due to his or her  age, health condition, education and abilities is still capable to work on “adapted tasks” in relation to the tasks that he or she performed before such reduction of working capacity, and for which a change in the remaining work ability is determined, since such persons can work at least 70% of full time on adapted tasks with the same or similar professional skills and if such adapted tasks correspond to the tasks such persons previously performed.

Complete loss of working capacity is defined as permanent loss of working capacity, with no remaining working ability.

Disabled worker is an insured person who has acquired the right to a disability pension or the right to occupational rehabilitation based on reduced working capacity with the remaining working ability, or a partial or complete loss of working capacity.

 

Requirement regarding years of service

If the reduction of working capacity with the remaining working ability is the result of an accident at work or occupational disease, the insured person has the right to disability pension regardless of the length of qualifying periods (years of service) completed.

If partial or complete loss of working capacity occurred due to a non-work related injury or disease, and before the age of 65, an insured person acquires the right to disability pension provided that his or her qualifying periods (years of service) cover at least one third of his or her working life.

The working life encompasses the number of full years from the date the insured person reached the age of 20 to the date the partial or complete loss of working capacity occurred. An insured person’s working life shall be calculated from the age of 23, if he or she completed, after the age of 20, an undergraduate university study or a specialist study (university-level qualifications obtained on the basis of previous regulations) and, respectively, an insured person’s working life from the age of 26, if he or she completed an undergraduate university study and a graduate university study, or an integrated undergraduate and graduate university study, or a specialist professional graduate study (university-level qualifications obtained on the basis of previous regulations).

The working life period is reduced for the actual period which the insured person:

  • Spent in military service,
  • Spent registered as unemployed with the competent employment service.

 

The exceptional right to disability pension is acquired by an insured person:

  • Who became disabled before the age of 35, holding a specialist study degree (vocational specialist), if by the date he or she became disabled, he or she accrued at least two years of insurance periods, and an insured person holding university-level qualifications, if by the date he or she became disabled, he or she accrued at least one year of insurance periods, and when the disability occurred during insurance coverage or within one year after insurance termination,
  • Who became disabled before the age of 30, if he or she accrued at least one year of insurance periods, and when the disability occurred during insurance coverage or within one year after insurance termination.

 

Temporary disability pension

Temporary disability pension may be acquired by a disabled worker who, upon completion of his or her training through occupational rehabilitation, remains unemployed for an extended period of time.

Disabled worker is an insured person who has acquired the right to a disability pension or the right to occupational rehabilitation based on reduced working capacity with the remaining working ability, or a partial or complete loss of working capacity.

The right to this type of pension is acquired:

  • If the unemployment lasted at least five years after completion of occupational rehabilitation and until the age of 58, and
  • Provided that an employment offer through the competent employment service is accepted without delay, or that an offered job is not rejected.

A disabled worker who completed occupational rehabilitation, initially continued working, but became unemployed subsequently, also has the aforementioned right.

A period of occasional work for a total duration of six months is not considered to be an interruption of unemployment.

 

Your right to a disability pension pursuant to international agreements on social insurance

If you were insured in one or more countries with which the Republic of Croatia applies bilateral agreements on social insurance, the procedure for obtaining the right to disability pension is initiated with the competent pension institution in the contracting state of last insurance, or the contracting state in which you have residence. An application submitted in one contracting state shall be deemed as an application submitted in all contracting states in which you have completed your insurance periods.

When you submit an application for disability pension in one contracting state, the pension insurance holder of that state will take into account the insurance periods or residence periods in other contracting states if this is necessary for the recognition of the right to a disability pension.

Each contracting state applies its national regulations when determining the degree of disability. Medical assessment for persons who reside abroad is initiated on the basis of medical documentation submitted by a foreign pension and disability insurance holder. Based on complete and high quality medical analysis of the foreign expert and confidence in his work and the submitted medical documentation, an authorized expert in the Republic of Croatia will provide a finding and opinion for the purposes of Croatian pension insurance without the immediate examination of the applicant.

In proceedings for obtaining the right to a disability pension through the application of bilateral agreements on social insurance, the finding and opinion of a foreign expert is not binding on the holder of the pension insurance of other contracting state in respect of disablement determination. Authorised experts of each pension insurance holder make an independent assessment of the disability of insured persons and apply legal and medical definition of disability in accordance with their own legislation.

Disability pension will be paid regardless of where you reside (in which Member State).

1.2. Application for granting the right to disability pension / occupational rehabilitation

Annexes to applications for granting the right to foreign pensions (to be completed with the application under no. 1.2) for:

– Swiss Confederation

– Australia
– Canada

 

More info

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The procedure for exercising the right is initiated by the chosen doctor of primary health care in case of employed persons, or persons with the status of insured persons.

The procedure may also be initiated at the request of the party, if the person is unemployed, i.e. if the person is not insured at the time of filing the application. Applications are submitted to the branch office of the Institute according to the place of permanent and temporary residence of the applicant, and if the applicant’s place of residence is located abroad, the regional service of last insurance is competent for this matter. The overall medical documentation, within the prescribed scope and content, is prepared by the physician of the insured person, and such documentation, together with the opinion, is to be submitted to the Institute for the purpose of disability assessment.

An insured person is entitled to a disability pension from the date the partial or complete loss of working capacity occurred, but the right may also be exercised from a later date depending on the submitted application and the date on which loss of working capacity occurred.

The insured person and the beneficiary of disability pension are subject to a control check within 3 years from the date of established reduced working capacity, partial or complete loss of working capacity. In the event that a beneficiary does not respond to a control check, without any justified reasons, the payment of the pension will be suspended, and shall be re-established on the first day of the next month after the month in which the check was performed, but no longer than 12 months retroactively.

Disability pension beneficiaries due to their occupational disability and disability pension beneficiaries due to general inability to work cannot be entitled to an old-age pension if they were not insured after their disability pensions were realised.

Thus, only the criterion of reached age for acquiring the right to an old-age pension of a disability pension beneficiary due to occupational disability to work cannot be the basis for obtaining the right to an old-age pension. However, if a beneficiary of a disability pension due to occupational disability to work gets employed (hence as a policyholder) and meets the conditions for an old-age pension, he or she may exercise the right to such pension.

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