Reclaiming payments into German pension after moving to the U.S.

71 posts in this topic

Thread to help people understand how pension refund can work after leaving Germany.

 

Official website for Pensions:

Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (DRB)

http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/Allgemein/en/Navigation/englisch_index_node.html

 

Pension Refund Requirement:

- US and various other non-EU citizens can claim back their German state pension contributions if they contribute in Germany for less than 5 years (60 monthly contributions).

- The claim can only be made 2 years after leaving Europe (EU/EEA/CH).

http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/Allgemein/en/Navigation/03_leistungen/03_beitragserstattung/beitragserstattung_node.html

 

DRB Email:

meinefrage@drv-bund.de

(All queries were sent to this email address. They will respond to emails in English too.)

 

Forms Required:

Please contact DRB and the German consulate in your country of residence to confirm the forms required.

1.  Form V0901 (Main claim for refund of pension contributions)

http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/Allgemein/de/Inhalt/5_Services/04_formulare_und_antraege/_pdf/V0901.html?cms_resultsPerPage=5&cms_templateQueryString=V0901+

2.  Form A1312-00 (Form in case refund is to be sent to a bank in USA or Canada)

http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/Allgemein/de/Inhalt/5_Services/04_formulare_und_antraege/_pdf/A1312.html?cms_submit=Los&cms_resultsPerPage=5&cms_templateQueryString=A1312-00

NOTE:

- If you have a German bank account then provide the IBAN number in Form V0901 (I requested a refund to my ComDirect Bank Account)

- For form V0901 - the Kennzeichen / Code does not need to be filled out

- I did not need Form A9060 "Lebens- und Staatsangehörigkeitsbescheinigung" / "Certificate of Life and Citizenship"

 

Confirmation of Personal Information in Forms at German Consulate:

- Make appointment in the Germany Consulate within your country of residence

- Take Passport and supporting documents (driver's license, utility bill or bank statement)

- There is no charge for confirmation of personal information for pension purposes

- German Consulate in USA website link for information and appointment: http://www.germany.info/signature

- Make appointment at the German Consulate for the purpose of "Signature Certifications / Authentications"  

 

Documents to send DRB:

1.  Passport copy

2.  Carbon copies from Social Security Record Booklet or relevant electronic vouchers from employer ( I sent my "Meldebescheinigung zur Sozialversicherung")

3.  Insurance cards number / copy of insurance card

4.  Check if any other doc can be sent (put tick mark in application) (e.g. Anmeldung / Abmeldung, Lohnsteuerbescheinigung, LohnKonto from firm)  

5.  Application Form (V0901)

 

Address of DRB in Germany to send Forms:

Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund

Ruhrstr. 2

10709 Berlin

Germany

 

Timelines:

- DRB can take 6-8 weeks to respond and provide refund (my refund was processed in 4 weeks after DRB received my application)

 

My Scenario:

Citizenship: India

Country of Residence: USA (after leaving Germany)

Application for pension refund: After about 30 months of leaving Germany

Refund Received: About 4 weeks after application in my German bank account

Forms Sent: V0901

Year Sent: 2017

 

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Great, thanks for the info! Could you please remind how much is refund (in % from brutto salary for example)?

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10 minutes ago, lega4 said:

Great, thanks for the info! Could you please remind how much is refund (in % from brutto salary for example)?

 

A little less than 10% (you only receive your contributions, your employer's contributions are NOT refunded).

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Hello,

 

I am filling out the Form V0901 currently and am unsure how to fill sections 6.1 and 6.3. I am American and worked in Germany for a year (2013 to 2014) and haven't been back since. I'm back in the USA and consequently am required to pay into Social Security with every paycheck. For 6.1, the US is listed as an agreement state. Does that mean I have to provide dates for my first Social Security contribution, i.e. my first ever paycheck? And does Social Security mean an automatic "yes" to question 6.3?

 

Any help you can provide is much appreciated. It's the last bit I have to fill in before sending out the form.and copies of my pay stubs. So far the internet has not been of much help.

 

Thanks.

 

6.1) "Have you paid any social security contributions in a Member State of the EU, the EEC, in Switzerland or in an agreement state or completed state insurance periods outside Germany?"

 

6.3) "Are you currently liable to pay contributions to a state pension insurance scheme outside Germany?"

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7 hours ago, invisiman88 said:

Hello,

 

I am filling out the Form V0901 currently and am unsure how to fill sections 6.1 and 6.3. I am American and worked in Germany for a year (2013 to 2014) and haven't been back since. I'm back in the USA and consequently am required to pay into Social Security with every paycheck. For 6.1, the US is listed as an agreement state. Does that mean I have to provide dates for my first Social Security contribution, i.e. my first ever paycheck? And does Social Security mean an automatic "yes" to question 6.3?

 

Any help you can provide is much appreciated. It's the last bit I have to fill in before sending out the form.and copies of my pay stubs. So far the internet has not been of much help.

 

Thanks.

 

6.1) "Have you paid any social security contributions in a Member State of the EU, the EEC, in Switzerland or in an agreement state or completed state insurance periods outside Germany?"

 

6.3) "Are you currently liable to pay contributions to a state pension insurance scheme outside Germany?"

Hello, I put an estimate of my US contributions to social security for the start date and end date until I moved to Germany but did not send any supporting documentation. You should email DRB to confirm in any case. All the best!

 

- Chris

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On ‎10‎/‎20‎/‎2017‎ ‎4‎:‎21‎:‎45‎, engelchen said:

 

A little less than 10% (you only receive your contributions, your employer's contributions are NOT refunded).

10% is about right. To get the exact figure look at your annual Lohnsteuerbescheinigung, I believe row 22 shows your contributions. Add up all the amounts in row 22 for all the Lohnsteuerbescheinigung and you should come to a very close estimate of your refund.

 

- Chris

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On 1/24/2018, 9:09:55, chrisv_7 said:

Hello, I put an estimate of my US contributions to social security for the start date and end date until I moved to Germany but did not send any supporting documentation. You should email DRB to confirm in any case. All the best!

 

- Chris

 

Thanks for the inputs. I did as you suggested and just sent it off. Everything thus far has been in alignment with this post. We'll see how it goes. Thanks again everyone.

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I am trying to fill out V0901 and the top of the form asks for a "Kennzeichen".  Where do I find this?

Appreciate anyone's advice....

nevermind I see you wrote above it does not need to be filled out.  Thanks for this post!

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Hello,

Thanks for the useful guide.

Regarding : Confirmation of Personal Information in Forms at German Consulate.

Is the German consulate need to also sign/certify on the personal supporting documents e.g Passport copy, driving license copy etc? I know that the certified passport copy from German consulate is a must but are other supporting documents e.g driving license copy etc also need to send to DRB? 

Regarding : Documents to send DRB

I understand carbon copied version is fine, are those documents needed to be certified as true copy? ( by consulate or some authorities?). We do not need to send in true copy right?

Actually what is this?  3.  Insurance cards number / copy of insurance card ? Just fill in the number? I thought this is the same as Versicherungsnummer / Insurance number top left column of the V0901 form?


Thanks!

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Is it really necessary to go to the German consulate? The V0901 states that it can be confirmed by a notary of the country of residence. We also have the notarized A3490 which seems to be a confirmation of identity - can we just send this along with a photocopy of our passports? (That form says "To be completed by an authority of the country of residence... or by Consulates of Germany"). 

 

And with that and the original Anmeldung/Abmeldung can we simply mail everything to the Berlin address listed above?

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Hello there,

 

I've managed to navigate the process of getting my refund from Germany (lived in Berlin for 4 years, now back in the US) and recently received my funds in my account.

 

Question on the refund itself: Do I need to declare this as income in my US Tax prep? Or was this post-tax money in Germany that I dont need to pay tax again for?

 

Any info/guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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I am puzzled that you could get the refund to the US. I thought that was not possible due to bilateral social welfare recognition agreements. Seems I need to double-check my sources again...  Thanks for the update.

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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This thread is exactly what I was looking for, and it is quite recent too. But I still have a few questions ...my situation is that I worked in Germany from 2010-2013. I'm a US citizen. 

 

On the V0901 form, it says: 

Has a German insurance record already been issued? Is the record complete and correct?

What does this mean?

 

Have you paid any social security contributions in a Member State of the EU, the EEC, in Switzerland or in an agreement state or completed state insurance periods outside Germany? I am also asked for the dates.

Well, I have been paying into the US social security system all my working life except when I lived in Germany. So what should I answer here? I know someone asked this, but I didn't quite understand the answer. 

 

Thanks.

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Hi,

I don't recall the rationale but below were my responses.

 

Has a German insurance record already been issued? Is the record complete and correct?

-- No

 

Have you paid any social security contributions in a Member State of the EU, the EEC, in Switzerland or in an agreement state or completed state insurance periods outside Germany?

-- No, since I didn't have any contributions within any EU country. 

 

You should email  DRB to confirm. I had asked them this questions but can't find the response email. 

 

Thanks,
Chris

 

2 hours ago, jontytyt said:

This thread is exactly what I was looking for, and it is quite recent too. But I still have a few questions ...my situation is that I worked in Germany from 2010-2013. I'm a US citizen. 

 

On the V0901 form, it says: 

Has a German insurance record already been issued? Is the record complete and correct?

What does this mean?

 

Have you paid any social security contributions in a Member State of the EU, the EEC, in Switzerland or in an agreement state or completed state insurance periods outside Germany? I am also asked for the dates.

Well, I have been paying into the US social security system all my working life except when I lived in Germany. So what should I answer here? I know someone asked this, but I didn't quite understand the answer. 

 

Thanks.

 

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4 hours ago, chrisv_7 said:

Hi,

I don't recall the rationale but below were my responses.

 

Has a German insurance record already been issued? Is the record complete and correct?

-- No

 

Have you paid any social security contributions in a Member State of the EU, the EEC, in Switzerland or in an agreement state or completed state insurance periods outside Germany?

-- No, since I didn't have any contributions within any EU country. 

 

You should email  DRB to confirm. I had asked them this questions but can't find the response email. 

 

Thanks,
Chris

 

 

 

I think this might need to be double checked.

 

German Insurance Card - Is this not the Meldebescheinigung zur Sozialversicherung?  If so, then I believe the insurance record HAS been issued, and the insurance number (Versicherungs-Nr.) is at the top right of this form. 

 

Contributions to Social Security - Please double check the list... "Australia, Bosnia-
Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada / Quebec, Chile, India, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Morocco, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, South Corea, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, United States"  are all member states, and I believe you'd have to mark YES if you've contributed to social security in any of these nations.

 

 

My specific question:

Form V0901 - Section 13:

What are they asking for in the sections

-"Carbon Copies from SS Record Booklet..."

and

- "insurance cards number"

and

- "certificate of total contributions number"

 

What I'm thinking I have available is a Lohnsteuerbescheinigung (end of year tax statement), I have copies of all my Meldebescheinigung zur Sozialversicherung.  I suspect this would cover the "carbon copies" and the "certificate of total contributions number"...

 

but what is the "INSURANCE CARDS NUMBER"?  Isn't this the Versicherungs-Nr. at the top right of the Meldebescheinigung zur Sozialversicherung?  Or is this some other document?  If so, which document?

 

and to Chris...THANK YOU!  really helpful thread!

 

Did anyone send a copy of their US Social Security card, or a Social Security statement or anything like this?

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On 2/27/2018, 4:49:43, Elfenstar said:

...

 

Yes thank you chris_7 for this topic, and other contributors like jerome10. 

 

The question which confuses me most is the one about whether people in agreement member states can get a refund... I guess it depends on the agreement details, and my specific concern is about the US, since I've been paying social security taxes here. I know that chris_7 got his refund, so that's some kind of proof right there. But in any case, I emailed meinefrage@drv-bund.de and I also emailed one of those agencies who say they will do this for a fee. I'll update if/when I get a response.

 

By the way, do you think it's a good idea to use one of those agencies? On the one hand, they know how to deal with this stuff and will more or less guarantee a refund. On the other hand, they take a huge commission and moreover they get all your personal information. Is it safe? What prevents them from walking away with 100% of the refund amount? Does anyone know an agency they've used and can trust?

 

One more question, chris_7... any idea why you didn't need Form A9060 "Lebens- und Staatsangehörigkeitsbescheinigung" / "Certificate of Life and Citizenship" ? On this website https://www.germany.info/us-en/service/07-Pension/pension-refund/905438 it says we need it.

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If I can base my experiences with german income taxes and dealing with the Finanzamt, I would (foolishly?) assume that the Rentenversicherung would be similar.

 

And that was that they were overall happy to help.  They told you what they need and what they didn't.  If they needed something, you'd get a letter, and plenty of time to submit the documents.

 

My plan is to basically do what Chris recommended, and I figure if there is an issue, I will get a very official letter telling me why they couldn't process the claim.

 

I will follow up once I submit, what exact documents I sent, and the outcome.

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5 hours ago, jerome10 said:

If I can base my experiences with german income taxes and dealing with the Finanzamt, I would (foolishly?) assume that the Rentenversicherung would be similar.

 

And that was that they were overall happy to help.  They told you what they need and what they didn't.  If they needed something, you'd get a letter, and plenty of time to submit the documents.

 

My plan is to basically do what Chris recommended, and I figure if there is an issue, I will get a very official letter telling me why they couldn't process the claim.

 

I will follow up once I submit, what exact documents I sent, and the outcome.

On 2/27/2018, 4:49:43, Elfenstar said:

...

 

Would they send a letter to an international address? Or only within Germany?

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Hello All, 

The above steps were based on answers from the German Consulate in NYC and the DRB. I do not have all the answers. You should reach out to the authorities and confirm questions you may have. A lot of people provide different answers so it is best to reach out to DRB. PLEASE take the time to read the post and the FAQs. 

 

There is a lot of confusion regarding the refunds and that is the reason I wrote down detailed steps so that everyone can benefit. If you guys are successful then please do add your notes and experiences too (if you provide me a blurb then I can add it to the current post too).  There is a lot of misinformation out there (probably from brokers trying to charge fees for performing such services). You will find plenty of services guaranteeing you a refund even if you are working in the US. That's what made me look into this in more detail and do this myself. I agree with jerome10 that DRB will come back to you if they have additional requests. In my view, no service can guarantee you success if it is not as per the rules in Germany. If they are successful then it is only due to their understanding of the rules and requirements. 

I'll try to answer some of the questions above:

  • Would they send a letter to an international address? Or only within Germany? -- They did send me a summary letter and confirmation to my US address after my refund was approved. They didn't have additional requests for me. 
  • Form A9060 "Lebens- und Staatsangehörigkeitsbescheinigung" / "Certificate of Life and Citizenship"  -- This was not requested by DRB in my case. You can send it if you like. 
  • do you think it's a good idea to use one of those agencies?  -- I know people who have used it so it is up to your preferences. I believe the refund goes to your account first and then the agency charges you a fee similar to the tax guys in Germany. These services are typical in Germany so it should be fine but it is your choice.
  • Did anyone send a copy of their US Social Security card, or a Social Security statement or anything like this? -- No, DRB did not request it. 
  • "Carbon Copies from SS Record Booklet..." -- This has been answered, please read the post. 
  • what is the "INSURANCE CARDS NUMBER"?  -- It is the Versicherungs-Nr. You should have received a card when you first came to Germany. 
  •  I thought that was not possible due to bilateral social welfare recognition agreements -- Please stop asking if it is possible for the US as I did receive my refund. 
  • Has a German insurance record already been issued? Is the record complete and correct? -- I marked it as "NO", please confirm with DRB for your situation. 

I looked at my form and am not sure if the wording has been updated since I applied. So wanted to clarify two questions,

6.1 Have you paid any social security contributions in a Member State of the EU, the EEC, in Switzerland or completed state insurance periods outside Germany? -- I marked it as "NO", please confirm with DRB for your situation. I had written to DRB to clarify this point and I answered based on their response. 

6.4 Do you currently pay voluntary contributions to a state pension insurance fund under the law of another Member State of the EU / EEA or Switzerland? -- I marked it as "NO", please confirm with DRB for your situation. 

 

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