How to claim my German pension refund step by step?

How to get a German pension refund?

Pension refundin Germany is a complicated process. There are certain criteria that must be met in order to receive a refund of your pension contributions. If you meet these requirements for a refund, you can proceed with the application process. This involves completing the necessary forms, having specific documents certified by a notary, and submitting other supporting papers to the pension fund (Deutsche rentenversicherung).

On average, this process takes about six months.

So before you start the refund process, you need to make sure you are eligible. In the next section, we will briefly explain who is eligible. But if you want to learn more about this topic, I recommend our blog article on the subject: Who can get a pension refund when leaving Germany

How to get my money, step by step?

STEP 1: Check your eligibility

Your eligibility for a reimbursement depends primarily on your nationality and your current country of residence.

In short: Your eligibility for a pension refund depends primarily on your nationality and your current country of residence. If you have the option of voluntarily contributing to the German state pension system, you will not be eligible for a refund of your pension contributions.

In detail: Eligibility for a pension refund primarily applies to individuals who are neither German nor citizens of countries within the European Economic Area (EEA), including Switzerland and the United Kingdom (despite Brexit) and including those with dual citizenship. In addition, these individuals must currently reside outside of Germany and the EEA.

If this is the case, there is no possibility to make voluntary pension contributions in Germany.

If you have not yet reached the legal retirement age in Germany, there is a mandatory 24-month waiting period that begins the month after your last pension contribution. It’s important to complete this waiting period before applying for a refund.

Please note that your refund application can only be submitted once you have left Germany. Even if you have completed the 24-month waiting period, you must have departed from the country before applying for a refund.

Let’s check your eligibility! Press the button to use our free eligibility check.

STEP 2: Fill in the application form(s)

You can also find information and the necessary forms on the website of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung. Unfortunately, there is no English version and no English forms.

If you need help getting your pension contributions refunded, we are here to help. We have simplified the process, digitized it and translated it into English. You don’t have to fill out tedious forms, and we’ll tell you exactly what documents you need. Our lawyer will personally guide you through this procedure.

Don’t pay until we have successfully refunded your pension! Interested? Check your eligibility now and start the process

3 steps to prepare your claim:

Pension Refund application form
  1. Fill in the application form: Start by filling out the appropriate application form. In addition to the form, you will need to provide proof of life and citizenship, which has become a requirement since the Corona pandemic. This documentation is critical to receiving a refund.
  2. Prepare certain documents: Prepare a payment declaration and payment authorization form to attach to your application. Certain sections of these forms must be notarized. This step is essential to ensure the authenticity and validity of your application.
  3. Get certain documents certified: To facilitate the process, it is recommended that you have your personal information, such as your passport or ID card, and proof of residence certified by a local authority or German embassy. This certification can be obtained even if the embassy is located far from your current residence. Certification of these documents can speed up the process and often eliminates the need for further proof.

By following these steps and ensuring that all required documentation is complete and properly verified, you can help expedite the refund process and minimize any potential delays.

STEP 3: Collect & send the required documents

Pension Refund documents

Once you have completed the required forms and prepared the certified documents, it may also be helpful to include other relevant documents:

  • Your deregistration certificate
  • Social security card
  • Income tax return

These additional documents will provide further proof of your eligibility for reimbursement and assist in processing your German pension refund faster.

It is also very helpful to request insurance record from your health insurance.

These documents are a valuable tool in reconciling your past contributions and ensuring that they are recorded correctly. By reviewing the Evidence of Coverage prior to submitting your claim, you can ensure that all of your contributions are listed correctly.

When mailing your documents, we recommend that you use a traceable method. This ensures that your claim package can be tracked and delivered safely. It also reduces the risk of losing documents and having to repeat the verification process.

Where do I send the documents?

The German pension insurance consists of 16 institutions, all of which have different addresses.

The easiest way to find out which institution is responsible for you is if you have recently received mail from the Deutsche Rentenversicherung (for example, the annual pension information if you are over 27 years old and have been insured for at least 5 years). Take a look at the logo on the letterhead – the institution indicated there is most likely responsible for you.

On this page you can find the 16 different pension insurance institutions in Germany

STEP 4: Wait for your money to arrive

After submitting your application, please be patient as the German Pension Insurance will review your case. This process can take up to 6 months. Once the review is complete, you will receive a letter, referred to as the “decision,” at the address you provided on the application form. The decision letter will contain detailed information about the contribution periods considered and the amount approved for refund.

The approved refund amount will be automatically transferred to your German bank account.

However, if your bank account is outside of Germany, you will need to wait an additional two months after you receive the decision letter before initiating the transfer. This allows for any necessary arrangements to be made for international transactions.

It is important that you carefully review the contribution periods listed in the decision letter. Occasionally, the periods listed may cover only a portion of your total contribution history. In such cases, it is imperative that you respond promptly or call the designated contact person to ensure that you receive the full refund to which you are entitled.

Free service hotline:
0800 1000 4800
MO – TH 07:30 – 19:30,
FR 07:30 – 15:30

Please note that it is essential to respond within the given deadline mentioned in the notice. If the deadline has passed, it legally signifies that you accept the contents of the notice. Even if the notice is incomplete or inaccurate, you will not be able to request further changes or request a full refund after the deadline has expired.

We emphasize the importance of carefully reviewing the decision letter, adhering to the deadlines provided, and promptly addressing any discrepancies or concerns to ensure a satisfactory resolution of your pension refund claim.

FAQ: How to get my pension contributions refund when leaving Germany?

How many years do I have to work in Germany to be eligible for the reimbursement?

The number of years you worked in Germany does not determine your eligibility for a pension refund. Instead, it depends on how long you have not made pension contributions and whether you have the option of making voluntary contributions. Take the eligibility test!

The length of the process varies from case to case, but is usually between 1 and 6 months

Pension refund how long does it take?

You must wait 24 months after your last pension contribution before you can apply for a refund. The length of the refund process varies from case to case, but is usually between 1 and 6 months. In certain cases involving transfers of larger amounts, the process may take slightly longer.

Can I claim the it online?

Normally, the process of claiming a pension refund from the German Pension Insurance cannot be done online. However, our service provides assistance in handling all the necessary processes and communication with the German Pension Insurance.

We have digitized and automated all possible procedures of the pension refund process. This ensures that the process is as quick and easy as possible.

Our digital systems allow for an efficient and seamless workflow, providing you with a convenient experience when applying for a refund. We have streamlined the entire process to make it fast and hassle-free for you. With us you can get your pension money back online.

How much money can I get back?

The pension refund you can receive from the German Pension Insurance varies based on several factors.

The German Pension Insurance plays a crucial role in the social security system, offering support for individuals during retirement, illness, and periods of unemployment. If you’re employed in Germany, you automatically qualify for this social benefit, with contributions made by both employers and employees.

Starting in 2023, both employers and employees will contribute at a rate of 9.3%, totaling 18.6% of the employee’s gross income. It’s worth noting, however, that only the employee’s personal contributions, which amount to 9.3% in 2023, are eligible for a refund.

The exact refund amount is determined by the duration of your employment in Germany and your gross income.

Your pension contributions are calculated based on 9.3% of your monthly income, up to a specified income threshold of €7,050

German Pension Refund for foreigners

Calculate your refund amount:

Before you decide on a pension contribution refund, it’s advisable to get an idea of the potential refund amount you might receive. You can achieve this by utilizing our handy calculator.

Our calculator is user-friendly: simply input your gross monthly income and the total number of months you’ve worked in Germany, and the tool will generate an estimate for you. It computes the refund amount by multiplying these values by the percentage of your gross salary that you contributed to the German pension insurance.

Feel free to give it a try and make use of our Pension Contribution Refund Estimator to gauge your potential refund amount.

Can I receive a pension refund if I leave Germany after 5 years?

The number of years you have worked in Germany is relevant primarily if you are a citizen of a contracting state. As a citizen of a contracting state, you are eligible for a pension refund if you have worked in Germany for less than five years and currently reside in either a contracting state or a non-contracting state.

The contracting states include all countries with a social security agreement with Germany. You can find more information about which countries these are in this blog post: Who can get a pension refund when leaving Germany # contracting states

Where can I find the application form?

If you prefer to handle the pension refund process yourself, it is essential to find the appropriate application form, known in German as “Antrag auf Beitragserstattung”. You can easily access all the necessary documents on the official website of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung. Unfortunately, there is no English version and no English forms.

However, if you are unsure about the process or have limited German language skills, we are here to help. Our service is designed to simplify the reimbursement process and make it as convenient as possible for you. We understand that navigating this process can be time consuming and that legal assistance can be beneficial in such situations.

You can start the process in Germany as soon as 24 months have passed since your last contribution to the German pension insurance

Can I receive a German pension refund within two years?

You can start the pension refund process in Germany as soon as 24 months have passed since your last contribution to the German pension insurance. This means that at least two years must have passed.

After you submit your application, it may take between 1 to 6 months to receive a response from the German pension insurance. In their message, they will inform you whether you are eligible for a refund and, if so, how much you will receive.

The transfer process will be faster if you provide a German bank account in your application. If you prefer to transfer the money to a foreign account, it may take up to two months to receive the funds. However, it will be worth the wait!

Ready to unlock your German pension benefits? Contact us today to get started!