Pension matters

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21.11.2019 - Article

Pension matters

German authorities mainly pay two different kinds of pensions:

(1) Old age pensions for working in Germany/survivor pensions of persons who worked in Germany and
(2) compensation pensions (e.g. for incarceration in a German concentration camp).
These two forms of pensions are paid by different authorities. Some beneficiaries receive both kinds of pensions. Persons who worked in a Ghetto might fulfill the criteria for receiving an old age pension or a lump sum payment.

German old age pension

Many persons residing in Singapore receive old age pensions from Germany. These payments are not made by the German missions, but by different German pension authorities. In general, banks carry out the payments for the pension authority.Should you require information on your old age pension, please contact the German pension authority directly.

As the official language in Germany is German, you might receive information from your pension authority in German only. The German Embassy in Singapore does not offer translation services. Please contact a translator for assistance.

Applying for a German old age pension or survivor's pension

Pensions from the German Social Security Insurance are only paid upon application and when all conditions are fulfilled (e.g. contributions for a minimal insurance period, age limit).

You can receive application forms from your German Pension Authority. The completed forms have to be submitted directly to the German Pension Authority.

Application processing takes at least up to six months. If you want to inquire about the current status of your application, please contact the pension authority.

The German Embassy in Singapore can only provide general information and is not a branch of the German Pension Authority abroad. Specific questions with respect to your pension or the amount of your pension can only be answered by the experts of the German Pension Authority. You can find the contact details of the Pension Authorities on the website of the German Pensions Insurance

Refund of pension contributions

nder certain conditions (for example when contributions were paid over less than five years) the pension contributions that were paid through mandatory pension schemes can be refunded.
An application for a pension contribution refund can be made if more than 24 months since the last contribution have passed. Please contact the German Pension Insurance directly to find out more.

Death of a pensioner

When a beneficiary passes away the Pension Authority needs to be informed without delay. It will then discontinue the payments. The information can either be forwarded by the next of kin/executor of the estate or by the German Embassy. The following information/documents are required by the German Pension Authority:

- death certificate of the beneficiary
- date of birth
- name and file number of the Pension Authority
- name and contact details of the executor of the estate

You can find the contact details of the Pension Authorities on the website of the German Pensions Insurance

The pensioner is entitled to the pension for the month in which he/she passed away. In most cases the pension payment was made at the beginning of the month/end of the previous month. Pension payments which are made after this time must be paid back to the Pension Authority.

Taxation of German pensions

On January 1, 2005 a new law on taxation of old age pensions (Alterseinkünftegesetz) entered into force. According to this law, pension from the statutory pension insurance (and other forms of pensions) shall be gradually carried over to full taxation. This process will stretch from 2005 until 2040. Depending on the year of the first pension commencement, the tax and revenue office determines the so-called taxation rate of the pension and the fixed tax exempt amount. The taxation rate identifies the taxable percentage of your pension.

In case of a pension commencement in 2005 or before the tax office determines a fixed tax-exempt amount considering a taxation rate of 50%. The tax-exempt amount is in principle accounted for every year and during the whole retention of the pension payment.

For every new pensioner age group from 2006 onwards the taxation rate rises by two percentage points, and for every pensioner age group from 2021 it rises by one percentage point. Thus, the tax-exempt amount resulting from this declines gradually for every new pensioner age group. For pensioner age groups from the year 2040 100 % of the pension form the statutory pension insurance will be subject to taxation.

If you have further questions regarding taxation of your pension in Germany, you have the option to either contact the competent tax authority in Germany or a tax accountant with knowledge in international taxation regulations. Due to the complexity of this matter, the German Embassy is not in a position to offer further information or counseling.

Life certificates

Every summer, recipients of a German pension are required to submit a “life certificate” to the pension authority to secure payments for the following year. These forms are mailed out directly to the pensioner by the competent pension authority.

Please refer to the back of the life certificate for detailed information on the administrative procedures.
Recipients of a German pension are required to submit a “Declaration for Further Collection of Pension from the Federal Republic of Germany (life certificate)” to the pension authority once a year. A form will be mailed directly to the pensioner by the competent pension authority in Germany.

You have to return the signed and certified form directly to the pension authority in Germany on time. The time limit is given on the top right hand corner of the life certificate form. If the pension authority does not receive the life certificate within the set time limit, a reminder containing a second form will be sent out. If you fail to submit the form in time, your pension will be suspended.

Your signature on the life certificate needs to be certified. If the pensioner is not able to sign, the holder of a valid power of attorney can sign instead. Please make sure to provide the pension authority with a copy of the relevant power of attorney.
The authorities which are entitled to certify your signature are listed on the form. We highly recommend to contact one of these authorities for certification.

Please note that in some cases, additional certification/legalization may be required by the German Embassy. If this is the case, it will be clearly indicated on the form.

Please note: The German Embassy in Singapore is no longer authorized to forward your life certificate to Germany. Please send your life certificate directly to the respective German pension authority.
Life certificates are usually sent out until July of each year. Should you not have received your life certificate by that time, please contact your Pension Authority directly, as the German Embassy is not involved in this process.

Compensation payments (Wiedergutmachung)

Shortly after Word War II, Germany passed a law on restitution (Bundesentschädigungsgesetz). On the basis of this law many persons who were persecuted by the Nazi-Regime continue receive monthly compensation payments.

In 2007 the Federal Government adopted an ordinance relating to work in a ghetto. It states that entitled persons are to receive a one-time payment to the amount of 2,000 euro.

In July 2011 the Federal Government issued a new version of this Directive for a one-time payment. Under this new version, which has retroactive effect from 6 October 2007, this one-time payment can be received even by those whose work in a ghetto has been or could be taken into account in a pension claim.

Who should take action?

1. Those who worked in a ghetto but have not yet made an application for a recognition payment.
2. Those who have refrained from applying for a pension or for the recognition payment because they received the respective other payment.

Compensation payments are made by several different authorities. If you have any questions with regards to your compensation payment, or you changed your address, or you wish to pass on other information to the compensation authority, please contact it directly. Please refer to the list of compensation offices on the right.

Please be informed that the German Embassy in Singapore does not offer any counseling on compensation pension.

Further details can be found on the website of the Federal Office for Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues (Bundesamt für zentrale Dienste und offene Vermögensfragen - link see right side)
Application deadlines for compensation pensions expired at the end of 1969. Should you still want to make a claim, please contact the responsible authority.

As the official language in Germany is German, you might receive information from your Pension Authority in German only. Please kindly understand that the German Embassy in Singapore cannot offer translation services. Contact an officially recognized translator. List of translators

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