PENSIONISTS SITUATION IN HUNGARY

Hi,
I'm considering to move to Hungary from another EU country, as a pensionist, and I wonder if anyone can tell me about what I have to face concerning different issues like taxes - what taxes apply to pensions transfered from Europe? What taxes on real estate property apply? - Also concerning health insurance: do you have to produce one from your departed country? Or can you acquire it in Hungary prior to submiting you residence permit application? How is it for opening a bank account? What is requested?
Thank you in advance for your answer

Your questions have been discussed, many times, around the forum. You can use the category feature to find issues such as banking and heath insurance, for example.

Also be aware, that for those in your age group, few Hungarians speak English. This contrasts quite a bit from other countries in Central Europe (was in Poland this year, and even the rather old man selling bread from a little street stand spoke some English). So do consider language issues.

Thanks!
Which is the category feature?
rgds

CALAHEL :

Which is the category feature?

Um.... It is a rather obvious drop down list above the forums on any phone, tablet or PC when you enter the forums..... Often prefaced by "Search by".

Hi again! Please forget about category feature - I found it.
Thanks
rgds

Can't really give much more info as we are retired but collecting SS from the USA.
Health care we pay out of pocket for, we are on the HU national health but even though my husband is a HU citizen he is not covered for free insurance as many seniors here are.
You must of put in a min. of 15 years of work in HU to collect SS here and have the gov. give you free health coverage.
No idea if your home countries health coverage would work here long term or not.
We can't use our medicare from the US here so we have to arrange for the US medical not to be taken out from our monthly salary.
I call it salary because we worked for our SS and then some.
You might find a few older people here who can speak English but mostly even the younger people don't understand it all or even what you're going on about, different culture and it's sometimes hard for them to relate to your experiences elsewhere.
I used to chat a few times a week on my walk home from the gym here, about 7 years back with an elderly HU man.
I took the chance and spoke to him first though, asked if I could pet his Doberman dog who he was walking. I used to have a Dobbie too so it was easy to break the ice and talk with him.
This elderly man spoke perfect English and was smart, he went to school in the US and was a teacher there for a spell.
No way would anyone think by the way he dressed or acted that he was a English speaker.
If you're too bold though with people here they will usually go into a shell to hide, it's tricky at times.
Most times too vendors and people will think you are loaded with money just because you aren't Hungarian. Something to be aware of.
Prices for some things will be more for you, not always but no surprises either if they double charge you here and there.
Often you will not notice until it's too late to say anything about it.
Most doctors I've seen here do speak a level of English, some good and some just passing, still it's odd to be under their care and not fully understand what's up with your health.
My husband is Hungarian so my day to day life is pretty easy here, he handles all bills and issues and often doesn't even bother to stress me out by telling me what's up.
It's not an easy language to learn and the older one gets the harder it seems to learn.
Hungarians by their culture usually mind their own business and don't wish to be too involved in other people other then family and old friends. Helpful but not going to be BFF's ever.
The weird thing is you do not always see many elderly people out and about here, either they are all in old folks homes, living with relations or dead. Many older men are known to be big drinkers here.Our family doctor was treating my husband for about 2 years with the wrong sort of pills, she just thought he was a drinker because of his sex and age. Not true , he almost never drinks alcohol. They do not really get too deep into your health history here if you ever need medical care. It's not the best place to move to if you have any serious health issues that are going to be long lasting.
We went in a few weeks ago for a little check up, I only do this about every 2 years when my husband needs a paper to renew his driving here. The doctor wanted me to get some tests but my husband no, it's because he is too old and they do not do tests often after a certain age, they don't want to bother or waste money on someone they think is off to the bone yard soon. It's different then the US where they test even more as you age.

Marilyn Tassy :

Can't really give much more info as we are retired but collecting SS from the USA.
Health care we pay out of pocket for, we are on the HU national health but even though my husband is a HU citizen he is not covered for free insurance as many seniors here are.
You must of put in a min. of 15 years of work in HU to collect SS here and have the gov. give you free health coverage.
No idea if your home countries health coverage would work here long term or not.
....

If the OP is an EU citizen or paid into the EU country system (and sometimes not even that*), so long as they maintain their home country address in the first instance, they can get their home or residence country EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) which entitles the holder to healthcare treatment in other EU countries on the same basis as locals**.   Sometimes it's free healthcare and sometimes reimbursement by the home country.

If they move permanently to HU, they can apply for the HU version of the EHIC card.  There should not be any tests to ensure entitlement as it should be reciprocal.  It should be a straight swap but that would need to be confirmed by someone. 

*This may not apply  to British citizens from 1st Feb 2020 (because of Brexit) and the outcome of the forthcoming election (Brexit may actually get cancelled).   BTW, in the UK, so long as you are registered in the system, you can have an EHIC card.  They are really easy  and fast to get. Pretty quick to get in HU too.

**The reciprocal arrangements might be different - for example, prescriptions in the UK for over 60s are completely 100% free there but not free elsewhere in the EU.  Not sure about other EU countries.

Marilyn Tassy :

....
You must of put in a min. of 15 years of work in HU to collect SS here and have the gov. give you free health coverage.
...

We've been discussing this with some HU relatives who moved abroad (actually to the US) and we were wondering if it would be possible to pay into the HU system as an equivalent lump sum as a retrospective payment to bring up the number of years for some pension and health coverage?   

I know it's possible in the UK (but only a maximum of 7 years back at a cost of about £1K per year, i.e £7K) but I don't know about the rules HU. 

Maybe Mr Marilyn knows?

Yes, my husband asked years ago at the HU SS office if you could pay into the system for years owed but we opted to not do it.
It was because the payment was the min. SS in HU, forget now what it was but something like just under or around$200. a month. Plus it would of cost thousands to pay in for the missed years of work time here.
Some things don't seem exactly fair here. My husband was not able to do his military service here at age 18 due to health issues. The service time was for 2 years. In his case he was working full time in a machine shop here but had to pay an extra tax for 4 years to make up for missing his serivce years. Have to pay extra because your not up to health standards ? Somehow that seems messed up to me.
So to my mind you'd think they would bump up his owed working years by 2 extra ones.. I'm over thinking again, we don't want the hassle of dealing with the system here more then we have to.
The national health cost for each of us isn't too much although we try to never use it. I don't know the exact amount, but something around 7,500 forints each per month not including tips to the doctors though!
Guess it works out to be something like $70. a month for the 2 of us for coverage.
I know seniors got a tiny bit more this year, think one extra month of SS as a sort of bonus. They are talking about giving them another extra month in payments soon.
If you are not collecting SS in Hungary then you will not get a special senior citizen card that has a few perks here and there.
We don't get that card. It offers free events on the river, a boat cruise for free, musical events for free and trips here and there.
Very low income seniors here with SS who are citizens, not sure about ex-pats since we signed we would never ask for any aid here but low income Hungarians can go to senior centers for a free meal every day or if they are housebound they will deliver food each day to your home.
Our neighbor had that but often she just left the package in the lobby for anyone to take if they wanted it, guess the food wasn't that great.
I know if you are over age 70 they will cut you off from getting some medical tests with national health, you could pay at a private clinic if you wanted to take them I suppose.
I don't even go in for the tests I know most people take every year or two, no news is good news as far as medical issues go in my mind.
As far as I know for now at least, HU citizens , EU citizens and permenate residents in HU over the age of 65 can travel inside of Hungary for free. First class seats will cost however. This is subject to change as is everything here.My husband has this perk but rarely if ever uses it. I will let you all know if it is legit mid Dec. when I finally ammsuppose to get this perkand ride the rails like a hobo.Free travel sounds great but it might be like working in a ice cream shop, sounds great until you over eat and get sick.

fluffy2560 :

We've been discussing this with some HU relatives who moved abroad (actually to the US) and we were wondering if it would be possible to pay into the HU system as an equivalent lump sum as a retrospective payment to bring up the number of years for some pension and health coverage?

Something to consider: If they get HU retirement payments, and are eligible for US SS payments as well, the US may deduct their HU payments as "income" and pay out less to them from the US. It is complicated and depends on the income. They should contact their local US Social Security office for details.

As an aside: HU retirement payments are rather pathetic. If one can choose, one would be better off investing the money elsewhere.

True, some SS payments here are so low if not for family taking in the elderly then  would be in serious trouble.
Our ex- next door neighbor just gave her entire HU SS payment to her family and they took care of her with everything else, including her daily dose of beers.
My MIL had a pretty decent for HU SS but only because her husband had been a WW11 POW for over 5  years and he got some sort of monthly payment on top of his SS for his suffering for Hungary.She was frugal and didn't waste a thing grew most all of her own food and had chickens.
She even kept all the money we had been sending her for about 3 or 4 years time in a bank account just for us on her passing, We never expected our money back from her at all.
She was full of surprises.
She like my own mother used to hide money here and there, in walls in cheap old handbags, old coat pockets and literally under their mattresses.
I am not sure but I've heard that the min. here for SS is only 48,000 forints per month. This is also about what those street sweeper guys get , they seem homeless but do work cleaning up in the parks and on the streets . We see them gather sometimes on their break on the sidewalk and they all seem half plastered on drinks by noon time.
Whatever gets them through the day I suppose.

Hi, and thank you for your detailed information. Honestly speaking I am retired from Scandinavia (SW and NW), I live in Bulgaria, and I realise, upon what you write, that moving to Hungary brings no advantage for me, starting with taxes: here expats pay zero tax on their pensions (except if there are additional incomes earned in the Country - but again there would be no more than 10%. The same to taxes on real estate. I just payed about 90 Eur for two apartments (total 65 + 100 m2).
Therefore, better stick around and not go for risky experiences.
Best Regards

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

We've been discussing this with some HU relatives who moved abroad (actually to the US) and we were wondering if it would be possible to pay into the HU system as an equivalent lump sum as a retrospective payment to bring up the number of years for some pension and health coverage?

Something to consider: If they get HU retirement payments, and are eligible for US SS payments as well, the US may deduct their HU payments as "income" and pay out less to them from the US. It is complicated and depends on the income. They should contact their local US Social Security office for details.

As an aside: HU retirement payments are rather pathetic. If one can choose, one would be better off investing the money elsewhere.

I'll tell them at the weekend.   I suppose they might just stay in the USA until it becomes a moot point.

They went Hungary-Switzerland-UK-USA and had jobs in all those places for a few years before being recruited to the USA fairly recently.   

Both are highly qualified specialists so will no doubt get decent pensions from their jobs and/or contributions which will make HU pensions somewhat irrelevant.

New topic