Polish veterans' benefits transfer abroad

With the act of 14th March 2014 amending the act on veterans and some of the people being the victims of repression during the war and the post-war period and certain other laws(Journal of Laws pos. 496)   the ability to transfer benefits eligible for Polish veterans abroad to their place of residence was introduced.

What are the benefits of the new act for Veterans/people repressed?

Veteran's benefits (benefits eligible for people having veteran status, such as supplements for veterans or benefits in the amount of the veterans allowance) are not covered by the EU or bilateral coordination. This means that the provisions of the EU regulations and the bilateral international agreements relating to the possible transfer abroad of benefits to the place of residence of the recipient are not applied.

Due to the lack of a legal basis, the veterans' benefits were previously paid on the account of the beneficiary in Poland or to a person authorized by the retiree to receive the benefit in Poland. If together with the veterans' benefit an old age or invalidity pension was granted to a veteran, which are subject to the coordination and can be transferred abroad (e.g. USA), then the old age or invalidity pension was paid to a foreign account of the veteran, while the veteran's benefits were paid in Poland.

The act introduced now allows to transfer the veterans' benefits with old age or invalidity pension abroad to the country of residence of the veteran. In practice, this means two benefits for the persons mentioned above:

  • At the request of the veteran his veterans' benefits will be transfered to his place of residence in each country of the world;
  • Old age and invalidity pensions granted to beneficiaries residing in the non-contractual countries (countries other than the Member States belonging to the EU/EFTA or countries with which Poland has international agreements in the field of social security), are paid on accounts in Poland or to persons in Poland who are authorized to receive benefits. At the request of the veteran his old age or invalidity pension will be sent along with the veterans' benefit to the non-contractual state, for example to Mexico, South Africa or Israel.

Who can apply for benefit transfer abroad?

The payment of veterans' benefits abroad can request veterans, to whom the ZUS granted the benefit even before the entry into force of the amending Act and pays it into an account in Poland or to an authorized person in Poland, as well as veterans who just apply for benefits.

Since when and into which countries the ZUS can transfer the benefits abroad?

The ZUS has a legal basis to start transfer of benefits eligible for veterans abroad into place of residence starting from:

  • 18th October 2014 - in relation to veterans and repressed persons residing in the Member States of the European Union and the European Free Trade Agreement and the countries, with which Poland has bilateral international agreements in the field of social security, that is to the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Spain, Netherlands, Ireland, Iceland, Canada, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Macedonia, Malta, Germany, Norway. Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, USA, Hungary, United Kingdom, Italy.
  • 18 April 2015 - in relation to veterans in the remaining countries of the world (i.e. countries outside the European Union, the European Free Trade Agreement and the countries with which Poland has no bilateral social security agreement).

Which benefits for veterans are subject to transfer abroad?

At the request of the veteran residing abroad, the ZUS will pay to the bank account of the eligible person abroad following veterans' benefits:

  • veteran's allowance,
  • compensatory allowance,
  • energy lump-sum charge,
  • benefits in the amount of the veterans allowance,
  • benefits granted by way of exception: old-age pension, pension for incapacity for work, survivor's pension, together with additions: attendance allowance, for complete orphans, veteran's allowance,
  • invalidity pension for war or military invalid, granted to the veteran on the basis of the Act of 29th May 1974 on the supply of war and military invalids and their families (Journal of Laws 2010 no 101, pos. 648 as amended),
  • pension for incapacity for work granted on the basis of the veteran law (among others benefits in respect of staying in camps, being enslaved, in the NKVD prisons, gulags).

Together with veteran's benefits to the veteran's place of residence are also transfered the granted to the veteran old age or invalidity benefits (old age pension, invalidity pension).

In case there are problems with transferring by the Bank to the country, the ZUS can pay out benefits in a different form, indicated by the ZUS.

Where to submit an application for transfer of the veterans' benefits?

The application for transfer the benefit abroad can be sent to the proper Division for Implementation of International Agreements indicated below depending on the type of transferred benefit or on the ZUS-branch, which pays out the current benefit. The application can also be submitted in each organizational unit of the ZUS.

The applications for the old age and invalidity pension as well as for veterans' benefits or their transfer for veterans living outside Poland are processed by appointed units of the ZUS engaged in implementing international agreements, the so-called Divisions for Implementation of International Agreements (Wydziały Realizacji Umów Międzynarodowych - WRUM). Applications for the transfer of veterans' benefits will be processed by the WRUMs appropriate for issuing the decision to grant to the veteran the old age or invalidity benefit.

Which WRUMs are competent to deal with applications of the veterans living abroad?

Applications for the transfer of veterans' benefits are proceeded by WRUMs according to the following rules:

  1. The competent unit for proceeding the application for transfer the veterans allowance, paid together with the compensatory allowance and energy lump-sum charge submitted by the veteran, who worked in the contractual country (EU/EFTA States or countries with which Poland has international agreements) or who lives in one of those countries, is the WRUM competent for that country. A list of the WRUMs and the countries assigned and addresses of these units can be found here).

Example

Mr Mieczysław is a veteran and lives in Canada. For several years Mr Mieczyslaw receives a pension from the ZUS granted on the basis of Polish and Canadian periods of work and the veteran's allowance, compensatory allowance and energy lump-sum charge. The benefit has been granted and now is paid in Poland by 1st ZUS Branch in Łódź, Division for Implementation of International Agreements, which has been assigned to proceed the applications of people who have worked or live in Canada. The pension is paid to a bank account in Canada, while the veteran's allowance, compensatory allowance and energy lump-sum charge are paid to the bank account in Poland. The application for transfer of veterans' benefits together with old-age pension on an account held in Canada should Mr Mieczyslaw submitt in the Branch Office, which is paying out the current benefit. On the basis of this application, the pension with the veteran's allowance, compensatory allowance and energy lump-sum charge will be transferred to Mr Mieczysław to a bank account in Canada.

  1. The Unit competent for proceeding of the veteran's application for granting and transfer of veteran's allowance paid together with the compensatory allowance and energy lump-sum charge submitted by the veteran who worked or lived in the non-contractual country (not belonging to the EU/EFTA countries or countries with which Poland has international agreements), is:

Oddział ZUS w Łodzi
Wydział Realizacji
Umów Międzynarodowych
ul. Piłsudskiego 12
35-075 Rzeszów
Tel. to COT (+48) 22 560-16-00

Example

Mr Kazimierz is a veteran, lives in South Africa, and gets from the ZUS an old-age pension along with the veteran's allowance, compensatory allowance and energy lump-sum charge paid into an account in Poland by the ZUS branch in Bydgoszcz which was competent to grant the benefit because of the last place of residence in Poland. From 18th April 2015 at the request of Mr Kazimierz submitted not earlier than on 18th February 2015 the old-age pension along with veteran's allowance, compensatory allowance and energy lump-sum charge will be transferred to Mr Kazimierz to South Africa. The application can Mr Kazimierz submit in the ZUS branch, which granted and pays the benefit, ie. in the Branch Office in Bydgoszcz. This branch will forward the application to the adequate Department in the ZUS Branch in Rzeszów appointed to transfer the benefits to non-contractual countries. The application can Mr Kazimierz also submit directly to the ZUS branch in Rzeszów.

  1. The competent unit to proceed the veteran's application to grant and transfer the benefit in the amount of the veterans allowance, compensatory allowance and a lump sum of energy submitted by persons living abroad, both in the contractual and non-contractual countries is:

I Oddział ZUS w Warszawie
Wydział Realizacji
Umów Międzynarodowych
ul. Kasprowicza 151
01-949 Warszawa
Tel. to COT (+48) 22 560-16-00

The payment of benefit in the amount of veterans' allowance is made on a quarterly basis in the third month of the quarter.

Example 1

Mr Stanislaw residingin Israeldoes not get the Polish old-age nor invalidity pension. In the Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression he gained the status of a veteran and would like to get the benefit in the amount of the veterans allowance to a bank account in Israel. Mr Stanislaw may submit to the ZUS an application for granting and transferring the benefit to a bank account in Israel. The unit of the ZUS competent to proceed the above mentioned application is the WRUM in 1st ZUS Branch in Warsaw. If Mr Stanisław submits the application in April 2015, the benefit in the amount of the veterans allowance will be paid out - for the first time - in the last month of the quarter, in this case in June 2015, covering the sum of benefits due for April, May and June 2015. Then Mr Stanisław will be receiving the payment from the ZUS on a quarterly basis.

Example 2

Mr. Antoni is a veteran living in Germany, and his old age pension he gets from the German pension system. From the ZUS he receives  the benefit in the amount of the veterans allowance  paid in Poland into the hands of Mrs Eugenia living in Poland, which is authorized by him to receive his payment. Mr Antoni is interested in receiving the benefits to a bank account in Germany.
For that purpose he should submit an application to 1st ZUS Branch in Warsaw.

On which form, you can submit the application for transfer of the veterans' benefit?

The application for transfer abroad of veterans' benefit, which has been granted before the 18th October 2014 in the case of the contractual countries or before 18th April 2015, the veteran may submit in the form of an ordinary letter to the ZUS. The application can be also submitted on the prepared for this purpose ZUS-RZ-WDK-01 form Application of the veteran/repressed person for payment abroad to the place of residence of: veterans allowance/benefit in the amount of veterans' allowance/compensatory allowance/energy lump-sum charge granted by way of exception, which is available in the ZUS Offices and on thewebsite.

In the ZUS Offices and on thewebsite there is also the ZUS-ER-DKK-01 form available Application for benefit in the amount of veterans' allowance/veterans allowance/compensatory allowance/energy lump-sum charge, on which veterans and repressed persons may submit an application for granting the benefit in the amount of veterans' allowance/veterans allowance/compensatory allowance/energy lump-sum charge.  

This information is addressed particularly to veterans and repressed persons, who have not applied for granting the benefit in the amount of veterans' allowance (paid together with the compensatory allowance and energy lump-sum charge). Previously, these benefits might be paid only in Poland, and in the case of persons living abroad it could cause the costs associated with getting the payment of these benefits, for example set up and operate a bank account in Poland, which outweighed their value. The new law allowing to transfer of these benefits to the veterans and the repressed persons living in any country of the world can cause that many of them decides only now to apply to the ZUS for granting the benefit in the amount of veterans' allowance with the compensatory allowance and energy lump-sum charge.

Veterans who will apply for the benefit after 18th October 2014. in the case of the contractual countries or after 18th April 2015, do not need to submit an additional application for transfer. Details of the Account to which the ZUS should provide old age or invalidity pension together with the veterans' benefit should be given in the application for old age, invalidity pension or other benefit.

The application for transfer of veterans' benefits can be submitted to the ZUS personally or through a representative (in writing or orally in the ZUS, just an ordinary power of attorney without necessity of having notarial form), as well as through the Polish consular.

In the case the application is sent by mail, please confirm the authenticity of your handwritten signature on the application by the Consulate of the Republic of Poland or by the competent authority or a person authorized to do such attests in the country of your residence.

Information on the veterans' benefit transfer can be also obtained:

  • in the Center of the Phone Service of the ZUS (COT) at tel. (+ 48) 22 560-16-00 - from mobile phones and fixed domestic landlines,
  • n the Foreign Pensions Department of the ZUS by e-mail: drz@zus.pl (also in English).

Legal framework:

  • The Act of 14th March 2014 changing the act on combatants and certain persons who were victims of war and post-war repressions and other acts (Journal of Laws pos. 496),
  • The Act of 24th January 1991 about veterans and some of the people who are the victims of repression of war and the post-war period (Journal of Laws 2014, pos. 1206 as amended).
  • The Ordinance of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 23rd July 2014 to grant the veterans and others eligible persons the benefit in the amount of veterans' allowance, the compensatory allowance as well as the energy lump-sum charge (Journal of Laws pos. 999).

Redakcja: Departament Rent Zagranicznych