Liberty News - AHV registration for the self-employed goes digital

A new web application is to simplify AHV registration for the self-employed. A standardized online application should simplify the application process. This should reduce the administrative workload for the compensation offices.

The Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) and the AHV compensation funds want to improve the information on self-employment from 2025. To this end, various options are being examined to reduce the workload for the compensation offices. Marian Nedi from the FSIO provides an overview in «Social Security CHSS».

Administrative hurdles to be removed

The step into self-employment is associated with administrative hurdles, as Nedi illustrates with an example: A 39-year-old physiotherapist - let's call her Luisa Frey - has opened a therapy and fitness center together with a former colleague. When Luisa wants to register for old-age and survivors' insurance (AHV), the question arises: Does she even count as self-employed under AHV law?

A Google search gets her nowhere. Luisa therefore wants to find out directly from her AHV compensation fund. But which of the more than 80 compensation offices is responsible for her? Each fund has its own way of handling the registration and recognition procedure for self-employment. Even a glance at the Federal Law on Old Age and Survivors' Insurance, which regulates responsibilities, is not self-explanatory for Luisa as a non-lawyer.

According to Nedi, this example illustrates that young entrepreneurs are often overwhelmed when it comes to OASI registration. Clarifying the status also involves a certain amount of work for the AHV compensation offices: They have to inform the applicants and the clarifications are relatively time-consuming, as every case is different. In 2022, 55'000 applications for recognition of self-employment were submitted to the AHV throughout Switzerland.

Process for determining status to become simpler and more transparent

The Federal Council has recognized the hurdles associated with determining whether a person in gainful employment is classified as self-employed or employed. The government has instructed the administration to speed up the process of determining status and to make it simpler and more transparent. This goal is to be achieved by means of a digital tool.

«eStatus» project

A project team, which includes IT specialists as well as representatives from the association and cantonal compensation offices and the FSIO, is currently developing a web application. The development is to take place in stages. The stages are based on the following objectives:

·         Applicants should receive simple, quick and comprehensible information on the contribution status and the clarification process.
·         The application process is to be simplified for applicants.
·         The processing time is to be reduced by providing the compensation offices with support in preparing and structuring the documents.

The first step is to improve the information situation and create a common online application form. The second step will be to examine how the compensation offices can be supported in processing the applications.

Clear information for everyone

Today, a potentially confusing number of sources provide information about self-employment on a wide variety of channels. The «eStatus» project focuses on the digital space in order to reach people who cannot be reached via other channels. Information is to be provided in easy-to-understand language, including appealing images and graphics. The aim is to make all information available on a single established platform. Today's providers can then refer to it.

Registration procedure to become faster and more standardized

Back to Luisa Frey. She is investing in new training equipment and therapy tables for the therapy and fitness center. She is dependent on capital for these purchases and the salary of a secretary and is therefore planning to withdraw part of her second pillar pension assets. The recognition of her self-employment by the compensation office makes it easier for her to withdraw her pension assets. She now hopes that her fund will offer a fast, online registration procedure.

This is where the first phase of the «eStatus» project comes in: a standardized online application form throughout Switzerland is intended to standardize the application process and promote legal equality in determining status. The plan is to make the improved information service and online application available in the course of 2025. However, applications will still be able to be submitted in paper form.

Processing time to be shortened

A second phase of the project will examine how the compensation offices can be supported in processing applications. For example, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is conceivable. This could support the compensation offices in extracting and sorting documents and preparing them in such a way that the most important information is displayed at a glance.

The project managers also see a major benefit in the creation of a «DNA» of the individual case. This means that AI recognizes similar cases that have already been assessed by other compensation offices and creates a proposal so that the compensation office administrators can make the status decision more quickly. «However, the final decision will still be made by the administrators themselves in future», Nedi is convinced.