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Receiving a German Pension in Another Country

Foto: Ein älterer Herr küsst eine ältere Dame auf die Wange

Living in the European Union

If your usual country of residence is in the European Union, you will usually receive your full pension as you would if you lived in Germany, accrued from all contribution and contribution-free periods. This also applies to pension entitlements from periods that were accrued outside the territory of today’s Federal Republic of Germany, but are included in the German pension, such as Reich territory contribution periods or contribution and employment periods according to the Foreign Pensions Law.

The same applies if your usual country of residence is Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. However, to be entitled, you must be a citizen of these countries or a citizen of the European Union or a surviving dependent (widow/widower) of someone from these countries.

A reduction can occur in some cases, if the already existing pension is based on the 1975 agreement with Poland and therefore the Polish periods are included in the German pension. The same applies when the German pension is based on the agreement of the former GDR (East Germany) with Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Czechia (Czech Republic) or Hungary. If a delay occurs, the agreement mentioned can no longer be applied.

Residence in an Agreement Country

If you are normally resident in a country with which Germany has signed a social security agreement, limitations may also apply.

Pensions cannot be paid from periods that were accrued outside the territory of today’s Federal Republic of Germany, but are included in the German pension, such as Reich territory contribution periods or contribution and employment periods according to the Foreign Pensions Law.

Normally in the agreement countries, there is also no eligibility for a pension because of a complete reduction in earning capacity when eligibility is based solely on the closed German part-time employment market and not based on your performance capacity. Eligibility for complete reduction in earning capacity based on the closed Germany part-time employment market is only permitted in the agreement countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Kosovo, Morocco, Montenegro, Serbia and Tunisia.

Residence in a Non-Member Country

If you are normally resident in another country – apart from one in the European Union, or the countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland or one of the other countries with which Germany has signed a social security agreement – then the same limitations apply as with the agreement countries.

This means that pensions cannot be paid from periods that were accrued outside the territory of today’s Federal Republic of Germany, but are included in the German pension. A pension based on a complete reduction in earning capacity may also not be paid when eligibility is based solely on the closed German part-time employment market.

Added to this is the fact that periods in the territory of the former GDR (East Germany) that were evaluated according to west German standards owing to place of residence in the Federal Republic of Germany on 18.05.1990, are currently still evaluated at the lower east German standards in non-member countries.

In addition, pensions based on partial reduction in earning capacity in cases of being unfit for work and pensions for miners based on limited capacity for work in the mining industry can only be paid if eligibility already existed in Germany.

Bank Transfer Abroad

If you normally live outside Germany, your pension can be paid into your bank account from a German bank. Deutsche Rentenversicherung pays the transfer costs. In exceptional cases, it is possible for you to nominate a person of trust who has a bank account in Germany to receive the payment, as long as they forward the money to you.

It is also possible to have your pension paid into your own bank account if the bank is one of the SEPA countries of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway. Deutsche Rentenversicherung also pays the transfer costs in these cases.

Of course it is also possible for you to have the money transferred to your own bank account in a country other than those mentioned. In these cases, Deutsche Rentenversicherung, in cooperation with the pensions service of Deutsche Post AG, uses the standardised, most economical payment methods and converts the pension into the currency of the respective country. Just like in Germany or in the other countries mentioned above, Deutsche Rentenversicherung pays the transfer costs to the first bank authorised by you. It is not possible to pay any bank charges, currency conversion fees or exchange rate losses that occur during the transfer. These must be paid by the beneficiary.

In order to pay the pension, Deutsche Rentenversicherung requires the international bank code (BIC) and international account number (IBAN) of the beneficiary. In addition, payment declarations are also included, with which the bank also confirms the account details. For Italy and Canada/USA, there are special payment declarations.

Life Certificate

In the case of usual residence outside Germany, the pensions service of Deutsche Post AG checks annually, mid-year, if the beneficiary is still alive. He/she receives a written Life Certificate, which must be confirmed and returned immediately. All authorities and pension funds as well as financial institutions of the country of residence and, if necessary, the German diplomatic missions carry out checks.

Some countries such as Belgium, Finland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain, register the death of the beneficiary so that in these cases, a written Life Certificate is not required.

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