In circular no. 62 of 25 May 2022, INPS clarified changes introduced by Budget Law 2022 and the new APE Sociale provisions.
The circular (i) lists the heavy labour categories of professions and workers who can access the benefit with a contribution requirement reduced to 32 years, (ii) shows the new application models and the related forms for employers’ attestations, (iii) describes the APE Sociale compatibility with the various forms of income support, and (iv) clarifies APE Sociale in cases of termination due to “failure to pass the probationary period” or “cessation of business.”
APE Sociale is a financial benefit introduced by Budget Law 2017 and disbursed by INPS to individuals, who need special protection, are at least 63 years old, have a precise contribution requirement, and are not already holders of a direct pension in Italy or abroad. The allowance payment continues until the beneficiary reaches the age to qualify for an old age pension or an early retirement pension.
Changes introduced by Budget Law 2022
Among the most significant changes introduced by Budget Law 2022, is the 31 December 2022 APE Sociale validity extension. This ensures that those who met the requirements in previous years and did not submit the relevant application for verification, or who were disqualified from the benefit, can reapply. Unemployed workers may apply for the benefit without having to wait for at least three months to elapse after their unemployment benefit was used.
In addition to revising and supplementing the list of professions falling within the “heavy” labour category that can apply for verification of access to the APE Sociale (social security benefit) Budget Law 2022 has reduced the contribution seniority requirement for the following categories of workers to 32 years; (i) construction workers with a national collective labour agreement for employees of construction companies and similar (ii) ceramists and (iii) plant operators for moulding ceramic and terracotta items
Under the case law clarifications, (according to which termination by the employer during or at the end of the probationary period is equivalent to individual dismissal) it was clarified that those dismissed for “failure to pass the probationary period” and unemployed persons due to the cessation of business must be granted access to the APE Sociale. This is without prejudice to the other legal requirements.
APE Sociale compatibility with other income support measures
The Budget Law explained the incompatibility of this benefit with direct pension payments, income support related to involuntary unemployment and compensation provided for the cessation of business. There was nothing about its compatibility with other measures such as the Citizenship Income (RdC) and the Emergency Income (Rem). INPS intervened on this point in the circular under review.
Since Decree Law no. 4/2019 (establishing the Citizenship Income) does not provide for any form of incompatibility or (total or partial) prohibition of combining with the APE Sociale, INPS confirmed its compatibility with the Citizenship Income, even though the related amount contributes to the calculation of the ISEE value taken as a basis for the granting of the Citizenship Income and its calculation.
INPS stated that the Emergency Income cannot be granted to APE sociale recipients since its payment means that the prerequisite for any financial hardship for them and their family no longer exists.