German Pension Refund Eligibility
United States of America
As a citizen of the United States, while you were employed in Germany, each month a percentage of your gross salary was paid to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung - the statutory German Pension Insurance - as a pension insurance contribution to secure your retirement pension.
But what happens to your contributions now that you have left Germany? Can you get a German Pension Refund?
The German Social Security Code (§210 SGB IV) regulates the reimbursement of pension contributions from the German Pension Insurance. After you have left Germany, contributions can be refunded on application, if...
a) you have no right to voluntary insurance with the German pension insurance where you currently reside, and...
b) at least 24 months have passed since the last pension contribution payment in Germany.
While b is relatively easy to meet, the social security agreement between the United States of America and Germany defines whether and where US-American citizens have the right to voluntary insurance. And whoever is given the right to voluntary insurance cannot get a refund. To be eligible for a refund it is very important not to be given the right to voluntary insurance (as it does not matter if you intend to make use of it).
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund | The German statutory pension insurance | All Rights Reserved
Voluntary Insurance vs. German Pension Refund
The social security agreement between Germany and the United States of America regulates this question:
As an American, you have the right to German voluntary insurance after leaving Germany if you still reside in the EU, EEA, CH, or UK area.
If you leave this area, you are only allowed German voluntary insurance if you had already paid at least 60 monthly contributions. Which means you have already qualified for German retirement pension benefits later in life. In that case, you cannot get a refund anymore.
In other words, citizens of the United States of America are only entitled to a German Pension Refund if they are not eligible for future pension payments because they have paid contributions for less than 60 months in total.
If you have already qualified for your retirement pension from Germany, the social agreement gives you the right to voluntarily pay contributions to the German pension insurance from anywhere in the world in order to maximize your old-age pension. But: You are not entitled to a German pension contribution refund.
Rule of Thumb For Citizens of the U.S.A.:
You can only be reimbursed if you have worked in Germany for less than 5 years.
Otherwise there is no possibility of a German Pension Refund, but you can increase your retirement pension by paying voluntary contributions and apply for your retirement benefits when you reach the German retirement age (65-67 years, depending on your date of birth). You have the right to voluntary insurance from anywhere in the world.
GermanyPensionRefund.com will help you to get a safe, fast, and efficient German Pension Refund if you have paid premiums in Germany for less than 5 years, and 24 months have passed since your last contribution in Germany.
How Much Can I Claim From My German Pension Insurance?
While you were employed in Germany, 9.3%* was deducted from your gross salary up to the income threshold and transferred to the German Pension Insurance.
If you are a non-European citizen, you can claim your pension insurance contributions back after moving out of Germany, provided you are entitled to do so.
Use our free reimbursement calculator to get an estimate of your possible premium reimbursement.
* Current rate since 2018, different in previous years
German Pension Contribution Refund
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Thanks to our years of experience, we know exactly how to speed up the processing time of your German Pension Refund and we make sure that you enjoy a smooth, pleasant, and uncomplicated premium refund.
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Feel free to Contact Us regarding your German pension refund, eligibility, residency, waiting period, or any other questions that might arise reading through our refund information. We are here for you.