The Social Insurance Board has started using an electronic cross-border data exchange system for social security institutions called EESSI (Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information). The information system helps social security institutions across the European Economic Area and in Switzerland exchange information more rapidly and securely.
According to Merle Trufanova, Benefits Department’s counsellor at the Social Insurance Board, the data exchange system will facilitate exchanges between national authorities, speed up the calculation and payment of benefits and allow better protection of personal data. EESSI will definitely reduce social security institutions’ paper, postal and administration expenses.
Trufanova says that today the data exchange system allows communication between countries concerning family benefits and posted workers. Over time it will also include pensions and other social security cases. “The first communication through the data exchange system came from Austria concerning posting to Estonia,” illustrates Trufanova.
“Since all countries have not yet connected to the system, communication with those countries that are not ready for electronic exchanges takes place like before, through mail,” said Trufanova. In 2018 the Social Insurance Board received from other countries over 61,000 documents and sent to other countries a little under 28,000 documents.
The number of connected countries increases each month and all communication between national authorities on cross-border social security cases will gradually take place through EESSI. In the future the system will cover all EEA States and about 10,000 social and healthcare institutions.
“For example, if so far the EU countries notified the country of destination of posted workers by mailing a copy of Form A1 to that country, then now this will be done electronically through the data exchange system,” said Trufanova and added that paper-based communication will continue with countries not yet ready to exchange information through EESSI.
Today Estonia communicates on posted workers through EESSI with Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands and United Kingdom. Exchanges on family benefits through EESSI take place with Norway, Hungary, Malta, Italy and United Kingdom.
The functioning of EESSI in Estonia is ensured by the Health and Welfare Information Systems Centre and the integration project is funded through the Connecting Europe Facility. More information about EESSI is available on the website of the European Commission.