Riester Rente vs. other pension schemes

228 posts in this topic

Nope - the non-working spouse of an employee (i.e. qualified RIESTER useer) is automatically also qualified.

 

just make sure you understand the issue about costs for the RIESTER plans, so that you do not sign up on something where your tax benefits directly land in the pockets of the sales person during the first 5 years. There are many options to set up RIESTER plans without massive up-front costs during the first eears, even though the vast majority of the RIESTER plans offered in Germany are such "gezillmerte" plans still...

 

Cheerio

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Hi everyone,

 

I just started my PhD in Berlin, the contract will run for 3 years with a possibility of prolongation of about 2-6 months. I got the possibility of choosing either a tax exemption in accordance with § 3 No. 63 of the German Income Tax Act OR choosing a RIESTER scheme and thereby waive the tax exemption. I've read up on the Riester scheme and that seems pretty good but I don't really understand the alternative, the tax exemption. I am also uncertain if I would want to "max out" the Riester scheme, since it would be quite a lot of money. Or can I deduct the whole sum from tax?

 

If anyone has any input or suggestions what would be the wisest choice, or what to consider, I would be very grateful.

 

I'm not married and I don't have any kids. I get paid for a 75 % position according to TVöD.

 

(I also got the choice between VBLklassik and VBLextra, but there I'm pretty sure that it makes the most sense to choose VBLextra for academic personal.)

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when you refer to "tax exemption" according to § 3 Nr. 63 EKSt-Gesetz you do refer to "betriebliche Altersvorsorge" or "bAV", i.e. company pension schemes.

These have the following advantages over the RIESTER plans, which is why I would always recommend to do a "Direktversicherung" or "Pensionskasse" instead of a RIESTER, given the choice:

 

1. with a "bAV" you are shaving off money from your gross salary which goes directly into the pension plan. That way you have an immideate tax savings effect. And you can put up to 4704 EUR per year from your gross salary with full tax savings (and if your gross salary is below 72600 EUR per year also social welfare contribution savings) instead of just 2100 with a RIESTER plan. And with the latter you invest from your net-income first and then get tax reduction or reimbursment when you declare your taxes later.

2. With a RIESTER you can only cash in 30% of the final total, the rest has to come with an annuity for life/pension pay out for life. if you cash in 100%, you'll lose all the tax benefits and direct subsidies (ZUlagen) you received in the past. With a "bAV", however, you do have the right to get a 100%-payout when reaching pension age. That gives you much more flexiblity in my professional opinion.

 

Therefore I would rather recommend setting up a bAV-Direktversicherung than a RIESTER. Or, said differently: you can do both of course, but first the bAV and later the RIESTER.

 

Cheerio

 

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Wow, thanks a lot Starshollow!

 

I definitely sounds like that option (bAV) is a lot better, considering I would be saving with my gross salary.

 

One more quick question: There wouldn't be any problem considering that I might move away from Germany in three-four years. I will still be able to get the money when I'm 65+?

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that is correct - it does not matter where you will be living when you reach pension age. You'll have a private contract and the right to have the money paid out (lump sum or annuity) whereever you are.

 

Small tip for you (not sure if you can chose your own broker to set up this plan or not, often employers insist on you taking one they have pre-selected and who may not think along the lines of different interest and/or needs for Expats): you can usually limit the duration of these plans when setting them up to the earliest age of starting the pension, which is 63 (and not 67 like the legal age for pension in Germany). For Germans or people who definitly know that they'll stay in Germany for ever it can make sense to set the plan up to age 67, though for about 3/4 of the people it is usually not the best idea. But for Expats we always recommend setting up for the shortest possible time, i.e. til end-age 63, because the upfront costs which are being deducted in the first 5 years from you monthly investments are computed by "monthly contribution times month/years of contract times XY%". this simple formula makes clear that for each year longer of the contract you'll pay fees (adminsitraive costs and commissions costs) in the first years. By reducing the duration by 4 years (til 63 instead of 67) you'll save yourself unnecessary costs.

 

Second tip: if your employer should insist on using a certain insurance plan or to go thru a dedicated broker/agent, ask what kind of rebate is offered by the insurance company or agent for this (unless your employer pays a voluntary co-share to your contributions anyway). Because if you are limited in your choices and an insurance company gets all the business from a certain employee, they should at least reduce the commission costs by 50% or so.

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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On 21/09/2015, 13:16:19, Starshollow said:

that is correct - it does not matter where you will be living when you reach pension age. You'll have a private contract and the right to have the money paid out (lump sum or annuity) whereever you are.

 

Small tip for you (not sure if you can chose your own broker to set up this plan or not, often employers insist on you taking one they have pre-selected and who may not think along the lines of different interest and/or needs for Expats): you can usually limit the duration of these plans when setting them up to the earliest age of starting the pension, which is 63 (and not 67 like the legal age for pension in Germany). For Germans or people who definitly know that they'll stay in Germany for ever it can make sense to set the plan up to age 67, though for about 3/4 of the people it is usually not the best idea. But for Expats we always recommend setting up for the shortest possible time, i.e. til end-age 63, because the upfront costs which are being deducted in the first 5 years from you monthly investments are computed by "monthly contribution times month/years of contract times XY%". this simple formula makes clear that for each year longer of the contract you'll pay fees (adminsitraive costs and commissions costs) in the first years. By reducing the duration by 4 years (til 63 instead of 67) you'll save yourself unnecessary costs.

 

Second tip: if your employer should insist on using a certain insurance plan or to go thru a dedicated broker/agent, ask what kind of rebate is offered by the insurance company or agent for this (unless your employer pays a voluntary co-share to your contributions anyway). Because if you are limited in your choices and an insurance company gets all the business from a certain employee, they should at least reduce the commission costs by 50% or so.

 

Cheerio

 

@Starshollow thanks a lot for all the info on this thread, I am trying to get my head-round on this bAV/RIESTER/RÜPP thing.What you describe in the above post seems all points point to bAV - I am an employee, my Company has bAV plan (I saw some publicity for some broker in the notice board) but I haven't contacted them yet.

 

I would like to ask (sorry if it was answered before but looking through all the info I couldnt find exactly), as I tend to be risk-averse, I want to know the worst case scenarios:

 

 1 - If something happens to me, would my wife/family get any of the invested money back? some penalties?

 2 - May I change the ammount contributed per month? If in future I get a less paid job or can't work full-time for instance?

 3 - In case of emmergency is it possible to cash-out the money invested? Other than interests is there any other penalty?

 

I think it was this for now, the fact I can enjoy it anywhere and the outcome is tax-free (because taxes are taxed at source as I understand) makes it quite appealing. 

 

 

If you have another drop of patience I would thank your comments on the above 3points

 

 

Thank you 

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Quote

@Starshollow thanks a lot for all the info on this thread, I am trying to get my head-round on this bAV/RIESTER/RÜPP thing.What you describe in the above post seems all points point to bAV - I am an employee, my Company has bAV plan (I saw some publicity for some broker in the notice board) but I haven't contacted them yet.

 

Please check if your company/employer has a so-called "Versorgungsordnung". This usually stipulates quite clearly what kind of company pension schemes you can select from, if your employer co-contributes or not and if you are limited in your choice of advisors/brokers. Theoretically an employer can only limit your selection of plans and use of advisor/broker if he co-contributes, but of course no-one will really want to pick a fight over this tacky issue. In my opinion and professional experience, Expats should have an advisor who is specialized on Expats to this regards - but if you don't have this choice you'll have to do with what you have....

 

Quote

I would like to ask (sorry if it was answered before but looking through all the info I couldnt find exactly), as I tend to be risk-averse, I want to know the worst case scenarios:

-- fair enough - though if your employer has a broker/advisor set up for this, they are the ones who should give you all this info, of course.

 

Quote

 1 - If something happens to me, would my wife/family get any of the invested money back? some penalties?

 

It depends on what system of company pension your employer uses. With a  so-called Direktversicherung there are usually clauses set up that the surviving spouse or children (underage) will receive a capital payout if you die before reaching pension age. After reaching pension age (i.e. if you decide to draw a pension for life rather than take the cash out entirely) there are different clauses possible, such as continuing to draw the same pension for XY years for the surviving spouse or a pay-out of the remaining capital left in the plan. What exactly fits to you depends on what is stipulated in the actual plan you sign up for.

 

Quote

 2 - May I change the ammount contributed per month? If in future I get a less paid job or can't work full-time for instance?

 

Yes - though such changes may not be very advisable. Generally you are allowed in most company pension schemes to reduce your monthly contributions from your gross salary at short notice. But remember that these plans are usually front-loaded (unless you have one of the few employers who agrees in direct fee-payments to the advisor/broker and thus uses so-called "Netto-Tarife", but even there) which means you'll be paying during the first 5 years the entire costs for the planned duration of the plan based on the monthly amount you are setting up. So, any downsizing still means you either have paid already higher costs or will be paying higher costs in the end than necessary if you had started lower from the beginning. Hence it always make sense to start lower and then increase, but not the other way around. 

 

Quote

3 - In case of emmergency is it possible to cash-out the money invested? Other than interests is there any other penalty?

Nope - this is not possible. The money invested in either bAV or RÜRUP is locked in for good and can't be touched. While the bAV allows you to chose a complete capital-payout when you reach pension age (but not before) the money in RÜRUP stays there til kingdom come...

 

 

Cheerio

 

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Hi Freinds,

 

i see lot of information in this blog however i have specific questions. Can someone answer this please.

I am mainly looking for a pension plan to make myself eligible for Permanent residency in Germany.

 

To Put my status in Bullet points:

 

1.       I am from Non European coutry.

2.       Working in Germany on Deputation for last two years. more than 21 months.

3.       I am a Blue card holder.

4.       My Social security contribution is not in Germany but in my own country.

5.       At preset i am not contributing to German social security.

6.       I have Health Insurance here in Germany.

7.       I have completed 21 months of stay in Germany and will have B1 certificate by this August.

8.       I will be eligible for Permanent residency if and only if i have Pension contribution in  place.

9.       I live with wife ( Not working) and two kids 4 & 7 years.

10.   My future stay in Germany 10 years down the lane is uncertain.

 

Please suggest which Pension plan suits me:

 

My questions:

 

1.       Can i go with Riester plan ?

2.       If so what is the minimum contribution i need to make  ? or to start ?

3.       Can i contribute to the pension system for last 21 month retrospectively in lumpsum ?

4.       If Ru urp plan i the option  what would be the answers for  point 2 & 3 above

5.       Which plan i better suits my situation Riester or Ruurp.?

 

My Major considerations for the plan: They may sounds like ideal world, but I feel it is possible given with sufficient expertise advice.

 

1.       I would like to go 'without zillmerung.'

2.       Pension Plan should make me eligible for Permanent residency as on today.

3.       I should be able to stop the contract if possible.

4.       Pension should be able to pass on to my wife or family in case of death.

5.       Will Rieter and Ru urp enables it ?

Thanks in advance

Marx

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2 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

My questions:

 

 

 

1.       Can i go with Riester plan ?

 

 

No, because you are not in a German employment (sozialversicherungspflichtiges Arbeitsverhältnis). Only German employees (and their spouses) and public servants can pay into a RIESTER plan

 

 

 

2 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

2.       If so what is the minimum contribution i need to make  ? or to start ?

 

 

 

 

Does not apply, see above

 

 

 

2 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

 

3.       Can i contribute to the pension system for last 21 month retrospectively in lumpsum ?

 

 

No, in either RIESTER or RÜRUP you can only pay up for one calendar/tax year.  So you can only pay for January - May now in 2017, but 2016 and 2015 are long since gone for you regarding pension payments.

 

 

2 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

4.       If Ru urp plan i the option  what would be the answers for  point 2 & 3 above

2

 

see above

 

2 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

5.       Which plan i better suits my situation Riester or Ruurp.?

 

 

 

Oh geez... apples and plums in comparison?   I have written a 101 on both, RIESTER and RÜRUP (though it might be time for an update, me thinks).  RIESTER is just meant to bridge the gap that a public-pension reform in the past (where 3% of public pension were reduced) created for employees and others. It is just an add-on (with certain tax savings) for those paying into public pension. RÜRUP is a standalone pension plan meant for self-employed who do not pay into public pension and need a tax-subsidized replacement for their retirement planning/financing. It can also be of value for high-income employees.  For normal employees it is rarely a choice (unless someone was setting up an occupational disability insurance and wanted to write off the premiums for tax optimization reasons).

 

2 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

 

My Major considerations for the plan: They may sounds like ideal world, but I feel it is possible given with sufficient expertise advice.

 

1.       I would like to go 'without zillmerung.'

 

 

Both RIESTER and RÜRUP plans are available without Zillmerung. Either thru a good advisor who offers fee-based advice (in which case you need to pay a fee directly to the advisor) or with some online-brokering (in which case you should be able to compare the smallprint in detail in German language to find yourself truly a good deal).

 

2 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

2.       Pension Plan should make me eligible for Permanent residency as on today.

 

that depends on the requirement of your local immigration office/Ausländeramt. Some will require only a simple private pension plan, others require a RÜRUP plan. Some require to set up such a plan in a way that when you reach age 67 that 50-100 k EUR have been saved/accreud within the plan - others require you to save around 160+ k EUR in this plan til age 67.

 

2 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

3.       I should be able to stop the contract if possible.

 

you can stop any of those plans at any time. only if this plan was especially made for getting permanent residence permit might you have problems, i.e. endanger the continuation of the residence permit for violating an important parameter for getting it in the first place.

 

2 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

4.       Pension should be able to pass on to my wife or family in case of death.

 

during the savings time, the terms&conditions usually stipulate that a surviving spouse can take over the capital in a similar plan for herself/himself.

After starting to draw the pension, it depends on what rules you have set up (and paid for, basically). Typically the pension is set up so that during the first 10-15 years a surviving spouse will continue to receive the full pension. But it is up to each person to set this up with the insurance company at costs.

 

2 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

5.       Will Rieter and Ru urp enables it ?

 

 enable WHAT ?

 

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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So there's typically nothing contractually in the plan that requires payment forever at a certain rate? So if someone were to get a Rurup plan and then leave Germany, or acquire citizenship, or otherwise not need to maintain a residence permit, they wouldn't need to worry about continuing to pay in at a regular rate every month?

 

But as long as they were on a residence permit, they would have to keep paying. Would they have to keep paying at a regular monthly rate or is it acceptable to pay more some years, less other years, but an equivalent amount overall?

 

Thanks

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52 minutes ago, Zeitbuch said:

 

So there's typically nothing contractually in the plan that requires payment forever at a certain rate?

 

 

 

-- correct. Financially it does not make much sense, still, to stop the payments as this increases the effective cost-rate on your invested money (because of the initial fees or upfront commission paid). But legally there is no problem for you to take a premium holiday or stop entirely.

 

52 minutes ago, Zeitbuch said:

 

So if someone were to get a Rurup plan and then leave Germany, or acquire citizenship, or otherwise not need to maintain a residence permit, they wouldn't need to worry about continuing to pay in at a regular rate every month?

 

 

 

-- from the point of view of the pension insurance plan: correct - no need to worry about continuing to pay.  From an immigration law point of view it may be different - even after acquiring citizenship (if that came with the requirement to pay into such a pension plan.

-- typical scenario to stop such plans would be, for instance, if a self-employed person later becomes fully employed and is now paying into public pension plus company pension plans (bAV) and has no need anymore for the RÜRUP plan.

 

52 minutes ago, Zeitbuch said:

 

But as long as they were on a residence permit, they would have to keep paying.

 

 

--correct - including permanent residence permit.

 

52 minutes ago, Zeitbuch said:

Would they have to keep paying at a regular monthly rate or is it acceptable to pay more some years, less other years, but an equivalent amount overall?

 

 

-- tricky question: because the RÜRUP plan to submit to the immigration office/Ausländeramt is/was based on regulary monthly payments, I would say that constant monthly rates are required. However, a pre-payment for one year (to reduce costs) would certainly cause no problems. Paying lump-sum at the end of a year would cause problems because one would basically have to trust you to actually invest at the end of the year while giving up the monthly payments. Not sure that would work...

 

Cheerio

 

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Dear Starshollow, 

 

Thanks for the quick response. 

 

let me clarify few points. Hope that will improve my situation here.

11 hours ago, Starshollow said:

No, because you are not in a German employment (sozialversicherungspflichtiges Arbeitsverhältnis). Only German employees (and their spouses) and public servants can pay into a RIESTER plan

 

Though i say i am on deputation, I believe i am German employee as i am working under the pay roll of my company registered subsidiary called  XYZ GmbH. Further, i am holding a blue card too.

 

I am receiving salary and payslips everything from Local xyz Gmbh and subsequently paying taxes too.

 

Based on the social  security agreement contract with my country my Social security contributions are credited in my home country.    So in this case i am eligible for one of the plans.?

 

11 hours ago, Starshollow said:

No, in either RIESTER or RÜRUP you can only pay up for one calendar/tax year.  So you can only pay for January - May now in 2017, but 2016 and 2015 are long since gone for you regarding pension payments.

 

So, is there any plan or way that allows me to contribute retrospectively to fulfill the criterion of 21 months of social security contribution  for PR ?

 

11 hours ago, Starshollow said:

you can stop any of those plans at any time. only if this plan was especially made for getting permanent residence permit might you have problems, i.e. endanger the continuation of the residence permit for violating an important parameter for getting it in the first place.

 

i am only foreseeing to stop this once i get into a German company employment where my Pension contribution starts by default. So, i hope i am not going violate this.  In that case what will be the loss i incur ?

 

11 hours ago, Starshollow said:

that depends on the requirement of your local immigration office/Ausländeramt. Some will require only a simple private pension plan, others require a RÜRUP plan. Some require to set up such a plan in a way that when you reach age 67 that 50-100 k EUR have been saved/accreud within the plan - others require you to save around 160+ k EUR in this plan til age 67.

 

My Auslanderarmt is Berlin.

 

To add further in my initial 6 months i was contributing to RV  in germany, but i requested to move the contributions to my home country which made my RV account with zero balance.  also my  Sozialversicherung/Rentenversicherung document says i am belonging to Group 101 but zero contribution for RV attached. May be a typical case to understand.

 

 

Pic.JPG

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10 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

 

Though i say i am on deputation, I believe i am German employee as i am working under the pay roll of my company registered subsidiary called  XYZ GmbH. Further, i am holding a blue card too.

6

 

Your Visa-status (blue card) has nothing to do with your employment status.

The question here is: are you properly seconded to Germany from your company/employer abroad or not?  I can't obviously answer this, only you can and your employer/HRM/Payroll. ("secondment" is the correct expression for what you call deputation in legal terms).

 

 

10 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

I am receiving salary and payslips everything from Local xyz Gmbh and subsequently paying taxes too.

1

 

paying taxes locally is typical also for secondment. That does not change a thing. The main question is if you are paying social welfare contributions in Germany (i.e. your employer withholding them, adding his own share and the paying them to the Bundesrentenanstalt/public health insurance company in charge of this).

 

10 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

Based on the social  security agreement contract with my country my Social security contributions are credited in my home country.    So in this case i am eligible for one of the plans.?

 

3

 

Here is the list of people who are eligible to participate in RIESTER plans (i.e. receiving the direct subsidy plus tax returns):

Förderberechtigter Personenkreis

Zum förderberechtigten Personenkreis gehören grundsätzlich alle Bürgerinnen und Bürger, die von der geringfügigen Absenkung des Rentenniveaus beziehungsweise des Versorgungsniveaus betroffen sind.


Ob Sie zum förderberechtigten Personenkreis gehören, können Sie der nachfolgenden Aufzählung entnehmen:

  • Pflichtversicherte in der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung ... mehr
  • Pflichtversicherte in der Alterssicherung der Landwirte ... mehr
  • Beamte und Empfänger von Amtsbezügen ... mehr
  • Ehegatten von Begünstigten, die nicht selbst zum förderberechtigten Personenkreis gehören ... mehr
  • Arbeitssuchende ohne Leistungsbezug wegen mangelnder Bedürftigkeit mehr
  • versicherungsfrei Beschäftigte und von der Versicherungspflicht befreite Beschäftigte ... mehr
  • Bezieher von Arbeitslosengeld II--zwei (unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen) ... mehr
  • Personen, die eine Rente wegen voller Erwerbsminderung der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung oder eine Beamtenversorgung wegen Dienstunfähigkeit erhalten,wenn sie unmittelbar vor dem Bezug der Rente pflichtversichert waren oder unmittelbar vor dem Bezug der Versorgung wegen Dienstunfähigkeit Anwartschaften in dem betreffenden Alterssicherungssystem erworben haben.

According to your information, you are not amongst those. So, no, you are not eligible.

 

 

10 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

 

So, is there any plan or way that allows me to contribute retrospectively to fulfill the criterion of 21 months of social security contribution  for PR ?

 

2

 

No

 

10 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

i am only foreseeing to stop this once i get into a German company employment where my Pension contribution starts by default. So, i hope i am not going violate this.  In that case what will be the loss i incur ?

7

 

your losses depend on the kind of plan you choose. Whether it is a commission based plan with upfront cost deduction in full, one with a serious rebate on the costs or a fee-based plan.  Hence nobody can answer this for you right now.

 

10 hours ago, Karl Marx said:

 

My Auslanderarmt is Berlin.

 

 

well, that it is quite straight-forward. The Ausländeramt in berlin only accepts a RÜRUP pension plan that is set up in such a way that with constant monthly contributions you'll reach around 165.000 EUR saved capital for pension at age 67. (the exact number is stated in their 300+ page rule book)

 

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Random question: Is there a copy of this Berlin Ausländeramt rulebook anywhere online? Or is it just something we know about and can infer parts of from how things work in practice?

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I noticed this in the manual, which seems to imply that contributions to social security in the US may be counted towards the 60 months required for an NE. This doesn't match up with all the things I've heard before though? Does this work in practice?

"Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland hat mit folgenden Ländern bzw. Regionen Abkommen auf dem Gebiet der
Rentenversicherung abgeschlossen (in Kraft):


Australien, Bosnien-Herzegowina, Brasilien, Chile, Indien, Israel, Japan, Kanada und Quebec, Kosovo, Marokko,
Mazedonien, Montenegro, Republik Korea, Serbien, Tunesien, Türkei und USA. Das Abkommen mit Uruguay ist noch nicht
in Kraft.


Trägt ein Ausländer, der § 9 Abs. 2 Nr. 3 AufenthG nicht erfüllt vor, in einem oder mehreren der genannten Staaten
gearbeitet und Sozialabgaben abgeführt zu haben, so kann diese Versicherungszeit unter Umständen auf die geforderten 60
Beitragsmonate angerechnet werden.


In diesem Fall ist der Ausländer aufzufordern, sich die Anrechnungszeit von der Deutsche Rentenversicherung
bestätigen zu lassen, da die Prüfung hier nicht erfolgen kann."

 

Even if it works, this may not be relevant to me though as I probably haven't paid into the US system for long enough.

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@Zeitbuch  . first of all, it says "unter Umständen", which means they could, perhaps, on a good day with loads of sunshine and if the morning coffee tasted well enough, accept that :-)   Basically it gives them some leeway/legroom to wiggle, if the want - but it is not certain.

Secondly, my understanding of this would be that it can come into play, if for instance you only have 40 months in German public pension contributions but can bring proof (via the Deutsche Rentenversicherung) that you have 20+ months of contribution in other EU/EEA-memberstates plus the ones listed above. Not sure, if and what social welfare contributions/pension contributions in other countries actually count. 

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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