Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Get My German Pension Contributions Back if I Leave Germany?
While you were employed in Germany, a percentage of your salary was paid to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung for your retirement. According to the German Social Code (§210 SGB IV) those contributions are refundable after leaving Germany,
a. You are not allowed to pay voluntary contributions to grow your retirement benefits.
b. 24 months have passed since your last contribution in Germany
c. You have reached the German age of retirement but do not qualify for benefits
How Many Years Do I Have to Work in Germany to Get Retirement Benefits?
To qualify for benefits, a minimum of 60 monthly contributions is required. The pension authority calls that “general waiting period”.
Times spent with unemployment benefits between jobs, sick leaves, maternity leaves, and contributions in other EU countries can also be counting towards those 60 months.
How Do I Calculate My German Pension Refund Amount?
To calculate the amount of money you will get back if you claim a refund – eligibility given – is a simple formula:
Who Can Claim My German Pension Refund?
To prevent fraud and protect your money a reimbursement of your German pension contributions can only be claimed by:
- your heirs, or
- a legal third party.
Legal third parties include:
- Legal representatives
How Long Does a German Pension Refund Take?
The Social Court Act (§88 SGG) allows a maximum of 6 months to process. If after 6 months you have not received a decision (Bescheid) from the authority, you have the right to sue them for inaction. The court will then force them to act, and they get fined.
How To Speed Up The Process Time To 8 Weeks?
Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My German Pension Refund?
While you were employed in Germany, a percentage of your salary was paid to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung for your retirement. Those contributions were deducted before your income was taxed. A reimbursement therefore is considered a taxable extra income in Germany and the pension office will notify the tax office about the amount.
If your home country has signed the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA), at some point that information will reach your local tax office.
Whether or not your German Pension Refund is taxable depends on the local tax laws where you live. As an extra income earned abroad it might be tax exempt. To be on the safe side you could consult your local tax office.
Can I Get a Pension Refund After 5 Years of Contributing?
Have you been told that after 60 months contributing to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung, you cannot get a refund? Well, good you found us, because despite its popularity, this is a misunderstanding and only valid for few selected nationalities.
The German Social Code (§210 SGB IV) defines who is eligible for reimbursement: Here you can find that you are eligible:
If you are not allowed to pay voluntary contributions into the German Pension Scheme after you have left Germany for at least 24 months and now reside outside of the EU, EEA, CH, or UK. Anyone can wait longer or move outside the EU.
But the more important question is whether you are allowed to keep paying into the German Pension Scheme. Most nationalities are not allowed, if you are among them, you can get a refund after having contributed for 5 years or even longer.
So, who are the few selected that cannot get refunds after 5 years?
EU member state nationals and citizens of some of the 20 countries that have signed social security agreements with Germany. Germanypensionrefund.com is specialized on special cases.
Go ahead and check which rules apply for yourself. Do not get discouraged if you find out that your home country is a contracting state.
There is not general rule, agreements differ regarding whether you are allowed to pay voluntary contributions and under which conditions.
For some nationalities it depends where you currently reside, for others it depends for how long have paid contributions (those are the ones that tell everyone that it is impossible to get a refund after 5 years, just because they cannot :))
Can I “Cancel” My German Pension Before I Reach Retirement Age and Get the Money Out?
There are a lot of misconceptions: You might have heard that if you have contributed for 60 months or longer, you cannot get a refund. Those statements are only true for a few nationalities.
The German Social Code (§210 SGB IV) defines, who can get a refund: If you are a not allowed to pay* “voluntary contributions”, and if you are not subject to “mandatory (German pension) contributions”, you are eligible for a refund, 24 months after your last contribution was paid.
What does that mean for you?
1. Once you have left Germany you are no longer subject to mandatory contributions.
2. If you have left the EU+ (incl. EEA, CH, UK) and you are not an EU+ citizen, and your home country has not signed a social security agreement with Germany that specifically allows you to pay voluntary contributions, then you are not allowed to pay voluntary contributions. That means you can cancel your pension and get a reimbursement of your contributions.
Please find yourself in one of the below listed groups to see which situation applies to you:
- You live in the EU+: NO REFUND
- You are a EU+ citizen: You cannot cancel your pension, no refund
- You are a contracting state national outside of the EU+: Depends on the agreement with your home country. Please check here.
- You are a non-contracting state national outside the EU+: YOU CAN CANCEL YOUR PENSION AND GET A REFUND
Please note, that if you are eligible to get a refund, only contributions that were paid by you (out of your gross salary) can be refunded.
Contributions that were paid by your health insurance while you were sick or by your unemployment insurance while you were between jobs, as well as contributions paid by your employer, cannot be refunded.
In case you have already received any benefits related to the pension insurance (sick leaves, maternity leaves, etc.) you can only get a refund of contributions paid after receiving benefits.
For example, you have paid 8000 Euros in contributions and then you took a sick leave and got rehabilitation treatments. After regaining health, you continue to work and pay another 8000 Euros in contributions.
The total amount you paid is 16,000 Euros, yet you can only get a refund of those 8000 Euros paid after you received benefits.
What Documents Do I Need to Get My German Pension Refund?
V0901 German pension Claim for Refund, Proof of residence, Currently valid passport, Certificate of Life and Nationality (different types for different countries), Payment Declaration (different types for different countries), Annual Tax Slips, Insurance Record (optional), Deregistration Certificate from Germany etc.
Throughout the process the officer in charge of your case will ask you to provide further documents if they see a reason for that. Some of the documents are internal pension office documents that are prepared individually for your case and that you cannot prepare in advance.
This is the most importent stage, be very carefull adding and sending the right documents to the claim. Pay attension: If you will make a mistake in one of the documents it can cost you a lot of time and a very strong headake.
Can I Claim My German Pension Contribution Refund Online?
German pension contribution refund for Non-Contracting State Nationals
German pension contribution refund for Contracting State Nationals
In case that your home country has signed a social security agreements with Germany, it might affect your eligibility for a refund:
German pension contribution refund for European Nationals
Our service is fast, safe, and efficient. We only claim refunds that will succeed!
With our experience we also know how to speed up the German Pension Refund process time and ensure you a smooth and relaxed experience throughout the German refund process.
This is why we are here - to help other expats like you.
GermanyPensionRefund.com started back in 2007, located in Germany, close to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund headquarters. We operate right from the heart of Germany - Berlin.
You only pay commission after you actually got your refund!
We do not charge any up-front fees, and there is no minimum fee to pay. We offer free consultation and evaluation of your case.
Choose us to be your partner for getting your refund, and lean back and relax until your German pension contribution refund has been deposited directly into your bank account.
Feel free to Contact Us regarding your German pension refund, eligibility, residency, waiting period, or any other questions that might arise reading through the following information. We are here for you.