AHV payout and non-employed contributions for married couples

I read up a bit on AHV regulations, especially regarding married couples and early retirement and would like to double-check my conclusions.
The search function lead to some previous discussions, but I couldn’t really find the specific topics.

Can any of you comment or contradict these (or point me to previous answer if I missed them)?

  1. For a single, maximum rent is rounded 29k per year. This requires 44 years of contribution with an average salary of at least 86k.
    • Doesn’t include the 13th AHV, yet
    • Since its average, you can compensate lower income in one year (say, 80k) with another year (say, 92k)
    • However, you can’t compensate missing years later on (say, one year based on 200k and one with [edit:] no contributions, more than 5 years back)
  2. Since the maximum for married couples is capped at 150% of a single (43k), you only need a combined 66 years of contribution (1.5 * 44) to reach the married maximum
    • Income is not only averaged between years but also between spouses when above the maximum
      edit: Not correct, see comments below

Unrelated to the number of years or the maximum:

  1. If one spouse is non-employed
    • you don’t have to do AHV contributions, but can voluntarily as long as the other one is employed at least 50% with a salary of 19k (514*2 / 5.3%), disregarding of wealth or dividend income
    • Otherwise, it’s mandatory to contribute based on applicable wealth (plus any relevant income * 20)
  2. If you pay non-employed contributions (whether voluntarily or not), the wealth is converted back (by 5.3%?) and included in the average salary calculations as per the respective scala


  • A married couple can achieve the maximum (150% capped) AHV without being insured all 44 years, whereas a single can’t 100% with missing years
  • Non-employed insurance may or may not be compulsory given the circumstances, but always available as an option

This is my understanding too.

I imagined that the total salary was combined and you needed 44 years of 86k salary to get the full pension (getting 50% free). Admittedly, this was just a guess so I don’t know if this is how it really works.

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It depends on what you mean with missing year. You can’t compensate actual gaps (no AHV contribution at all, e.g., because you didn’t live in Switzerland in that year). However, if you’re referring to years where you don’t have an AHV income but still contribute the minimum to AHV as unemployed person, you can compensate with a higher salary in other years.


Second sentence confirms my understanding. Yes, I meant actually missing years, like studying without voluntary contributions, and working abroad without contributions. All more than 5 years back.
It’s the running up question for point 2.

I can imagine quite a bit, as well :wink: Yet, unfortunately, I understand it’s not a bonus, it’s a disadvantage for those with enough contributions from both spouses (income and years). It’s supposed to be compensated by the widower’s pension that unmarried couples wouldn’t “enjoy”.

The conclusion I’d like to confirm is that a married couple can reach the max 43k without the full contribution years from both, for example.

Not sure about that. If you take AHV earlier and get only 2.2k/month and your wife is retiring 5 years after you (at 65) your combined AHV will be reduced too as far as I know. Eventhough you end up with >4k together, it will be less than 150%.

So I would doublecheck.

There’s an AHV calculator that you can plug numbers in to check.

This. I would run a simulation under a couple of scenarios to get a better feeling of what’s likely to happen

I’d like to understand the mechanics and regulations behind it, not hard numbers for a specific case. The calculator does not confirm my conclusions above. I’d like to understand why. The tool has a disclaimer that it’s using a simplified calculation.

That’s what I’m trying to do with this thread :smiley: My interest here is to understand the rules first, only then check with an online tool next.

I haven’t even considered staged retirement ages, or early or late receipts. I think those questions become more relevant and are case-by-case if AHV age is 5-10 years ahead (and hopefully the difference isn’t even relevant by then).


As I understand it, the cap is reduced if you have gaps, so I think the above is not correct.

Art. 53 bis 245 Summe der Renten bei Ehepaaren mit unvollständiger Beitragsdauer

Weisen nicht beide Ehegatten eine vollständige Beitragsdauer auf, so entspricht der Höchstbetrag der beiden Renten einem Prozentsatz des maximalen Betrages bei Vollrenten (Art. 35 Abs. 1 AHVG). Dieser wird ermittelt, indem die Summe aus dem Prozentanteil der niedrigeren Rentenskala und dem doppelten Prozentanteil der höheren Rentenskala (Art. 52) durch drei geteilt wird.

If you each have 33 years (75%) of contributions, your cap is at 75% of 44k = 33k. If one has 44 years of contributions and the other has 22 years of contributions, your cap is at 83%¹ of 44k = 37k. That’s if I’ve correctly interpreted the quoted text.

¹ (2*100% + 50%) / 3


Yeah that’s what I was thinking. CHF 2’450 (44 years) + CHF 1’225 (22 years) would usually equal CHF 3’675 (which is the max. AHV of a married couple). But you would only get CHF 3’063 as the 2nd person is missing those years.

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Thanks, I missed that point. So, it’s the same logic here: you can compensate lower income, but no missing years.

Any confirmation or correction on the non-employed conditions?

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And my understanding is that missing years would be years before you move to Switzerland (or were not in Switzerland) as otherwise you’d have some form of AHV contribution.

Correct, I refer to time spend working and studying abroad. While enrolled here, you pay the minimum, even with 0 income.

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If you receive unemployment benefits, you will still be contributing to AHV but to 70-80% of you r previous salary.
Not sure how to contribute if you are unemployed and do not receive any benefit.

From savings on a wealth basis.

That questions is not on receiving benefits. It’s rather specific whether there’s any caveat to this section, in the case where one partner works, the other doesn’t:


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My guess is that you’d be credited with a split salary, so 50% of what your partner makes (50/50), essentially counting as a contribution year.