Under what circumstances am I entitled to benefits?
Insured persons who reach retirement age and have completed the minimum insurance period as well as possibly other special eligibility requirements receive old-age pensions.
Under the state pension, insured parties are entitled to an old-age pension.
The prerequisite is that you:
- have reached a certain age (pensionable age)
- have completed a minimum insurance period (qualifying time), and
- have fulfilled certain special insurance requirements for some old age pensions.
Basic old-age pension:
Because of the demographic development, Germany has raised the age threshold for the basic old-age pension. For people born between 1 January 1947 and 31 December 1958, the previous basic age threshold of 65 years has been pushed back one month for every following year, and for those born between 1959 and 1963, by two months per year. For anyone born after 1 January 1964, the basic age threshold of 67 will apply.
For the basic old age pension, the general qualifying period of five years must be observed. Contributions periods and supplementary periods are added to them.
In addition to your basic old-age pension, you can earn further wages/salaries with no ceiling, without anything being deducted from the pension.
Early pension due to age:
The age thresholds for early pensions will be adjusted along with the new basic age threshold.
You can apply for an early pension from the age of 63 if you can prove 35 years of qualifying pension contributions (old-age pension of long-term insured people). As compensation for the longer pension period, for each month up to the statutory retirement age (for the old-age pensions of severely disabled people up to 65), the pension is reduced by 0.3% (discount).
People with severe disabilities receive an old-age pension (old-age pension for severely disabled people) when they:
- have reached the age threshold,
- are recognised as severely disabled at the time they retire and
- have completed a qualifying period of 35 years.
As for statutory old-age pensions, the age threshold for a full pension for people with severe disabilities is also being raised from the age of 63 to from the age of 65 in stages for those born in 1952 and onwards (see above), with the earliest possible retirement age going from the age of 60 to from the age of62. As compensation for the longer pension period, the pension for people with severe disabilities is reduced by 0.3% (discount) for each month that the pension is paid before the age limit allowing retirement on a pension without deductions.
You can maintain the old age pension for parties who have been insured particularly long without deductions, if you are at least 63 years old and have fulfilled a qualifying period of 45 years. For qualifying periods compulsory contributions from employment, self-employed activities and care as well as times of child education from the age of10 are taken into account. Times of receiving unemployment benefits and other wage replacement benefits for the promotion of employment (excluding the last two years before the start of the pension) are included in the calculation. On the other hand times of receiving unemployment benefits II or unemployment benefits are not included. Furthermore voluntary contributions are taken into account, if 18 years of compulsory contributions can be proven.
The starting age of this pension will be gradually raised to the age of 65 for insured parties born before 31 December 1952. This raise takes place for every year in increments of 2 months, and from the birth year 1964, the retirement age of 65 years will be achieved.
Special provisions apply to miners: They are entitled to a discount-free old-age pension for miners who have worked underground for many years from their 60th birthday and after a qualifying period of 25 years. The entry-age for this pension will be gradually increased for insured persons born after 31 December 1952. The increase takes place in increments of 1 month per year, and for the years 1959 to 1963 in increments of 2 months per year. For people born after 1 January 1964 the age limit is 62 years.
If you want to work as an old-age pensioner, you can submit an application for partial retirement, or postpone the beginning of your retirement. You should take advice from your pension provider before you take up employment or an occupation as the beneficiary of an early pension.
What am I entitled to and where can I apply for the benefits?
Statutory provision in Germany for the elderly consists of:
- the state pension,
- civil service pension,
- professional pension schemes and
- old-age provision for farmers.
All employees, including contracted employees and workers, are obliged to belong to one of these old-age insurance systems. This also applies to self-employed people in certain professions, including farmers, artists, journalists and members of professions organised into associations, such as doctors, architects, craftsmen, pharmacists, engineers, accountants and lawyers, along with others. Self-employed people who are not subject to compulsory insurance can join the state pension scheme through compulsory insurance or voluntary insurance.
Low-paid workers (regular remuneration of a maximum of EUR 450 per month) who started their employment after 31 December 2012 are subject to compulsory pension obligations. They can however ask to be exempted from compulsory insurance. Compulsory pension obligations do not apply to short-term employees and people who have worked less than three months or no more than 70 days in the calendar year and do not exercise this employment as a profession.
The amount of your earnings-related and contributory pension always depends on the insurance years covered and the total of the amounts paid. Reduced contribution and contribution-free periods can also be added to this.
Essentially, only those who have applied in advance to the relevant pension provider receive pensions.
You can obtain the pension application form from your pension provider and can also find it at the website of Deutsche Rentenversicherung http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/
Pension claims which you do not claim immediately are not lost: If you only make your pension application later or if you first take only a partial pension, you will receive a higher full pension later on. For each month after reaching the standard retirement age in which you have not applied for your full pension despite having fulfilled the prerequisites, your eventual rent will increase by 0.5% (6% per year). You should ask your pension provider about the process so that you do not miss any application deadlines.
- The state pension scheme providers are members of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund
- the regional German pension providers and the Knappschaft-Bahn-See German pension provider which also runs the Minijobzentrale for those in minor employment.
- The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
European Commission publications:
If you have social insurance in one or more countries other than Germany, ask about the effects on your pension scheme:
- Liaison offices for the state pension scheme:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de
- for Greece, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Cyprus:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Baden-Württemberg, 76122 Karlsruhe, Tel.: +49 721 825 0 and 70429 Stuttgart, Tel.: +49 711 848 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-bw.de
- for Poland:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Berlin-Brandenburg, Knobelsdorffstrasse 92, 14059 Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 3002 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-berlin-brandenburg.de
- for Hungary:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Central Germany, Kranichfelder Strasse 3, 99097 Erfurt, Tel.: +49 361 482 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-mitteldeutschland.de
- for Bulgaria:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Central Germany, Paracelsusstrasse 21, 06114 Halle, Tel.: +49 345 213 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-mitteldeutschland.de
- for Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Southern Bavaria, 84024 Landshut, Tel.: +49 871 81 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-bayernsued.de
- for Austria:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Southern Bavaria, 81729 München, Tel.: +49 89 6781 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-bayernsued.de
- for Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung North, Ziegelstrasse 150, 23556 Lübeck, Tel.: +49 451 485 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-nord.de
- for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung North, Platanenstrasse 43, 17033 Neubrandenburg, Tel.: +49 395 370 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-nord.de
- for Ireland, United Kingdom
Deutsche Rentenversicherung North, Friedrich-Ebert-Damm 245, 22159 Hamburg, Tel.: +49 40 5300 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-nord.de
- for Belgium, Spain
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Rhineland, 40194 Düsseldorf, Tel.: +49 211 937 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-rheinland.de
- for France, Luxembourg:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Rhineland-Palatinate, Eichendorffstrasse 4-6, 67346 Speyer, Tel.: +49 6232 17 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-rlp.de
- for Italy, Malta:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Swabia, Dieselstrasse 9, 86154 Augsburg, Tel.: +49 821 500 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-schwaben.de
- for Portugal:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Northern Bavaria, Friedenstrasse 12/14, 97072 Würzburg, Tel.: +49 931 802 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-nordbayern.de
- for Iceland, Netherlands:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Westphalia, Gartenstrasse 194, 48125 Münster, Tel.: +49 251 238 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-westfalen.de
- Liaison offices of Deutsche Rentenversicherung for all countries, if contributions are paid to the insurance company:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, 10704 Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 865 1 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-bund.de
- Deutsche Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See, Pieperstrasse 14-28, 44789 Bochum, Tel.: +49 234 304 0 http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-knappschaft-bahn-see.de
- Liaison office for old-age pensions for farmers:
Sozialversicherung für Landwirtschaft, Forsten und Gartenbau, Weissensteinstrasse 70-72, 34131 Kassel, Tel.: +49 561 9359 0 http://svlfg.de
- Information on welfare compensation:
The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), Wilhelmstrasse 49, 10117 Berlin Tel.: +49 30 18 527 0 http://www.bmas.de/DE/Themen/Soziale-Sicherung/Soziale-Entschaedigung/inhalt.html
You can obtain free advice and information from the pension providers. For most people in Germany, this is the Deutsche Rentenversicherung with offices in the larger cities.
You can find the addresses at http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/
You can obtain information by telephone on the toll-free number 0800 1000 4800
The pension scheme contribution for 2018 is 18.6% of your earned income. Half of the contribution is paid by the employer and the other half by the employee. There is a contribution assessment ceiling for this too:
You do not make any pension contributions on earned income above EUR 78,000 per annum in West Germany ("old" German states) and EUR 69,600 in East Germany ("new" German states) (as at 2018).
As soon as you have taken up employment, your employer registers you for social insurance.
First of all, you are registered at the health insurance fund (health insurance company), which forwards the registration to the nursing care insurance, the pension provider and the unemployment insurance company.
After you start your first employment where you are liable to contributions as an employee, you receive a letter with the social security card printed on from the pension provider. The card contains your surname, maiden name, first name and your personal insurance number. Your pension provider registers your insurance periods and your qualifying remuneration under this number.
With your insurance number you receive the address of your pension provider.
The self-employed must register themselves at their health insurance company, and if they are subject to compulsory pension insurance, at the pension insurance provider.
For some professions there are also a few separate social insurances which have not been listed in these guidelines:
- Social insurance for agriculture, forestry and horticulture,
- Insurance for craftsmen, http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/Westfalen/de/Inhalt/5_Services/03_Broschueren_Magazine/alle%20Broschueren%20Westfalen/Handwerkerversicherung_download.html and the KSK artists' insurance (for artists, freelance journalists and publicists).