top of page

Ergänzungsleistungen zur AHV/IV (EL)

Supplementary benefits for AHV/IV (EL)


The standard book "Ergänzungsleistungen zur AHV/IV" ("Supplementary benefits for AHV/IV"), which has been published by Schulthess Verlag Zurich since 1995, is a matter close to my heart that goes far beyond scientific interest. Uwe Koch, my much valued co-author since 2000, and I have refered to the following quote by Marshall Sahlins and put it in German at the beginning of the 3rd edition published in June 2021:

Poverty is not a certain small amount of goods, nor is it just a relation between means and ends; above all it is a relation between people. Poverty is a social status. As such it is the invention of civilization. It has grown with civilization, at once as an invidious distinction between classes and more importantly as a tributary relation.

(Marschall Sahlins, Stone Age Economics, New York, 2017, p. 36)

Marshall Sahlins puts it in a nutshell: Poverty and wealth affect people. They evoke in us humans feelings, and sensations : Compassion, contempt, shame, pride, pity, scorn. In addition, they provoke statements, attitudes and regulations on the social level: Economic help, discrimination, powerlessness, exaggeration, mercy, exclusion, inclusion, guilt, indifference and solidarity.

Originally only intended as a transitional solution, the supplementary benefits for the AHV/IV found their way into the Federal Constitution on January 1, 2008 and thus recognition at constitutional level that they have long enjoyed in practice: Livelihood security in old age, in the event of disability and death and in financing home stays. Despite certain shortcomings, they can actually serve as a model for a schematic livelihood and basic security.  A high level of individual justice, but also general legal security and legal equality are guaranteed.

About the book:

In the first edition from 1995, the system of supplementary benefits for AHV/IV was presented in detail for the first time. In the second of 2009, in particular, the relevant provisions on the general part of social security law and the reformulation of the federal law within the framework of the reorganization of financial equalization were included. The 3rd edition contains the innovations of the reform of the Supplementary Benefits Act, which came into force in 2021, and the latest federal and cantonal jurisprudence (status at the end of 2020).


The book is aimed primarily at practitioners who deal with the supplementary benefits for AHV/IV, be it as employees of a counseling center for old age and disability or as legal representatives. It serves as a reference work for the specialists at the offices for the implementation of the supplementary benefits or in the course of studies and for the interested readership.

 Extract (in German)

bottom of page