Social security & pension

German pension system and taxation

The refund of contributions - An overview Contributions to statutory pension insurance can be refunded for various reasons. With the refund of contributions, all claims to benefits from the statutory pension insurance expire.

This also means that all credits on the insurance account for which an employee has not paid contributions himself/herself, for example, for periods of child-rearing, unemployment, or school education, are forfeited.

A worker can have his contributions refunded if he has left the compulsory insurance scheme of the statutory pension insurance and is no longer allowed to take out voluntary insurance.

No compulsory insurance

An employee may have left the compulsory insurance scheme if he or she has left Germany. With the new job in the new country, he is no longer subject to compulsory insurance in the statutory pension insurance in Germany.

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Voluntary insurance

If an employee is no longer subject to compulsory insurance, it is examined whether he or she may take out voluntary insurance. If he is allowed to take out voluntary insurance, a refund of contributions is excluded.

As a German, a worker can always take out voluntary insurance, regardless of where he or she happens to be.

As a foreigner, a worker can take out voluntary insurance in the German statutory pension insurance scheme if he lives in Germany. If he lives outside Germany, it depends on the place of residence and nationality. A distinction is made here between the states of the European Economic Area, the states with which Germany has concluded a social security agreement, and the so-called non-contractual foreign countries.

Reimbursement of contributions or pension

If an employee is neither subject to compulsory insurance nor entitled to voluntary insurance, he or she can have the contributions refunded. This is possible even if the general qualifying period of five years has been fulfilled and there is, therefore, entitlement to a standard old-age pension. However, this situation usually only occurs in the case of foreigners.
Before a worker's contributions can be reimbursed, he or she must complete a waiting period of 24 months.


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