Retirement pension in Sweden

Svensk alderspension
Read about the regulations concerning Swedish retirement pension.

In Sweden, there are different types of pensions. This page considers retirement pension (allmän pension). Most people who work or have worked in Sweden also have occupational pension from their employers, and some have also saved money themselves towards their pension.

Retirement pension is the national pension for which the Swedish pensions authority, the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten) is responsible. It is made up of several different parts, such as income pension (inkomstpension), premium pension (premiepension), guaranteed pension (garantipension), housing supplement (bostadstillägg), personal income support (äldreförsörjningsstöd), and survivor’s pension (efterlevandepension.)

Are you entitled to Swedish retirement pension?

Everyone who has worked or lived in Sweden is entitled to retirement pension. The pension is based on all the income you have paid tax on. This also includes income such as unemployment benefit, sickness benefit or activity compensation (aktivitetsersättning) and parental allowance.

Every year, 18.5 percent of your pensionable income, i.e. salary and other taxable benefits up to 7.5 times the income base amount (inkomstbasbelopp) is set aside for your retirement pension. The income base amount is calculated by the Swedish Pensions Agency, but it is the Swedish Government that sets the amount each year. The amount is used, for example, to calculate the highest pensionable income. Much of the 18.5 percent goes to the income pension. The remaining smaller portion goes to the premium pension.

If you have low or no income, you may also be entitled to the guaranteed pension if you have lived in Sweden.

If you are self-employed

If you are self-employed, you must ensure that you save towards your pension yourself. In order to receive the same pension you would have received had you been employed, you must take out salary or surplus and pay taxes and fees. You must also compensate for the lack of occupational pension through private savings.

See how much your pension will be

If you have a Swedish electronic ID (bankID), you can log in to the website of the Swedish Pensions Agency (pensionsmyndigheten.se) and see a pension forecast of how much your monthly pension will be when you retire. The forecast shows retirement pension, occupational pension and your private pension savings. However, this is only if the pensions are earned in Sweden.

You also receive an annual report from the Swedish Pensions Agency and from any occupational pension companies showing how much you have earned towards your pension each year. If you are unsure about whether you have an occupational pension, contact your employer.

Calculation of Swedish pension if you have lived or worked in several countries

The Swedish retirement pension is only calculated on what you have earned in Sweden. The guaranteed pension can be affected by both the number of years your have worked or lived in another EU/EEA country, and the pension you may receive from that country or from another country outside the EU/EEA.

Payment of retirement pension

In Sweden, there is no fixed retirement age. It is up to you to decide the age at which you want to start drawing all or part of your pension (but no earlier than the month of your 62nd birthday). If you were born in 1958 or earlier, then you can start drawing your pension when you are 61. The time when you start drawing your pension is very significant for the size of your pension. From 2020 you are entitled to work until you are 68, and from 2023 until you are 69. After this age, your employer must give their approval if you want to continue working.

How do you apply for pension from Sweden and other Nordic countries when you live in Sweden?

If you live in Sweden, but have lived in other countries, you apply for pension in the other countries via the Swedish Pensions Agency website or by submitting a form. If you have worked in several countries, you should apply six months before you want your first payment. If you have only worked in Sweden, it is enough if you apply three months before you want your first payment.

Retirement pension is paid for the rest of your life.

How do you apply for pension from Sweden when you live in another Nordic country?

If you live in another Nordic country, and/or have been covered by social insurance in the country in which you live now, you should contact the pensions authority in that country to apply for pension from Sweden.

The pensions authority in that country will send your application to the Swedish Pensions Agency, which will process your application and pay your Swedish retirement pension. The case processing time between when your application is received by the Swedish Pensions Agency and when you receive your first payment is normally around four months, but in some situations may take up to six months or more.

You are entitled to both the pension you have earned through work and the guaranteed pension. The guaranteed pension is calculated on the basis of how many years you have lived in Sweden, the number of years you have worked or lived in another EU/EEA country, and the pension you may receive from that country or from another country outside the EU/EEA. You are entitled to the guaranteed pension if you live in the Nordic region, the EU/EEA or Switzerland, and the pension is paid according to temporary Swedish legislation. This legislation applies until December 2020. What will happen after that date is currently under discussion.

Remember to notify the Swedish Pensions Agency if you move to a new address.

Can you take Swedish retirement pension to another Nordic country?

You can take all the pension you have earned in Sweden, both your retirement pension and any occupational pension, to other countries. If you receive guaranteed pension, you can also take it with you to another Nordic country in accordance with current temporary Swedish legislation. This legislation applies until December 2020. What will happen after that date is currently under discussion.

What happens to the retirement pension when the person dies?

When a close relative dies, you may receive survivor’s pension as financial support. Survivor’s pension is part of the retirement pension, and consists of child’s pension (barnpension), adjustment pension (omställningspension) and widow’s pension. Which pension you are entitled to depends on whether you are under 18, a spouse/partner, or a widow(er).

Swedish survivor’s pension is based on Swedish conditions, and serves as financial support to cover part of the income that the deceased contributed to. The requirement for entitlement to Swedish survivor’s pension is that the deceased at some time worked or lived in Sweden.

Survivor’s pension is completely based on the deceased’s pensionable income that he or she earned in Sweden. It is not paid as a fixed amount that applies for everyone. If the deceased had a low pensionable income in Sweden, the survivor’s pension is also low. This applies regardless of whether the survivor has low or no pension in the country in which he or she lives.

Where should you pay tax if you receive Swedish retirement pension when you live abroad?

If you live abroad and have pension from Sweden, you normally pay a special income tax for people who live abroad (SINK). The SINK tax is either 0% or 25% of your income. The tax deduction is calculated on your monthly amount after deduction for a personal allowance. You only pay tax on the part of your pension income that exceeds the personal allowance.

What regulations apply to elderly people on the labour market?

You can start to draw your Swedish pension from the month of your 62nd birthday. If you were born in 1958 or earlier, then you can start drawing your pension when you are 61. You may take choose to draw a certain percentage of your Swedish pension - 25, 50, 75 or 100 percent. You may draw your pension and work at the same time, and if you change your mind and want to start working full-time, you can stop drawing your pension. Other regulations may apply for your occupational pension.

From 2020 you are entitled to work until you are 68, and from 2023 until you are 69. After that age, your employer must give their approval (samtycke).

If you draw your pension later, less tax is deducted. If you continue working instead of retiring, you pay a lower tax on your salary than you did in previous years. This applies from your 66th birthday.

Who should you contact if you have questions?

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