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

83 posts in this topic

On 4/11/2018, 11:30:30, chrisv_7 said:

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. 

 

 

 

Thank you again chrisv_7. Regarding the sensitive question below, perhaps we should consider the fact that you are an Indian citizen living in USA (that is the information you provided). I wonder how the rule works for a US citizen. Perhaps it does not matter, but it would be good to have an example of a US citizen posting his/her experience.

 

  •  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. 

 

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Thank you for the detailed information about filling out the V0901. I have additional questions because we had a daughter born in Germany during our time there. I did not take time off from work during that time, my wife stayed home with her (and she wasn't previously employed in Germany). We did receive Kindergeld and Elterngeld for 7 months before we moved back to the U.S. 

 

Regarding section 5.4- Did you raise any children during the first 10 years of their life, for which child-raising periods have not yet been taken into account for your pension insurance? --- What is this referring to? I don't think it applies to our situation..

 

Regarding section 8.1 - Have you claimed and or received any German benefits?  -- Would Elterngeld & Kindergeld need to be disclosed here? 

 

Thank you in advance for your help!

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Form V0901: https://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/cae/servlet/contentblob/217238/publicationFile/770/V0901.pdf

 

21 minutes ago, garciagoesgerman said:

Regarding section 5.4- Did you raise any children during the first 10 years of their life, for which child-raising periods have not yet been taken into account for your pension insurance? --- What is this referring to? I don't think it applies to our situation..

 

A mother (the default is the mother, but she can transfer these automatic pension months to the father) of a child that is raised in Germany during its first 36 months, automatically gets 36 pension months credited to her public pension account, for Kindererziehungszeiten (= child raising periods), see §54 SGB VI: http://www.sozialgesetzbuch-sgb.de/sgbvi/56.html

 

So they're checking whether - including such child raising periods - you have already collected more than 60 pension months, i.e. whether your German public pension has already vested and whether therefore your public pension contributions can no longer be reimbursed to out.

 

21 minutes ago, garciagoesgerman said:

Regarding section 8.1 - Have you claimed and or received any German benefits?  -- Would Elterngeld & Kindergeld need to be disclosed here?

 

No, you didn't read that section attentively.

 

They are asking about:

  • Benefits received from the state insurance pension fund (= from Deutsche Rentenversicherung)
    Have you claimed and / or received any German benefits (eg. benefits on account of occupational disability / incapacity to work or reduced earning capacity, benefits for medical rehabilitation or participation in working life and / or contributions towards medication and auxiliary aids - also for your spouse / registered life partner / child - or a refund of contributions)?

Kindergeld and Elterngeld are paid out of the tax revenue, they are not paid out by the Deutsche Rentenversicherung, i.e. by the German public pension insurance. 

So leave that section empty.

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Thank you PandaMunich for answering my questions. I understand section 8.1 now. 

 

Our time in Germany was nearly 4 years, so in regards to section 5.4- is that a yes or no question for me as the father? Should we fill out a second V0901 for my wife for the 6 months of raising our daughter in Germany? 

 

Thank you for clarifying these last details on the form. I really appreciate the help! 

 

Best regards, KG

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2 hours ago, garciagoesgerman said:

Our time in Germany was nearly 4 years, so in regards to section 5.4- is that a yes or no question for me as the father?

 

It's a "no", since there is another entitled person, the mother of the child, in whose pension account these child raising times have been taken into account.

 

2 hours ago, garciagoesgerman said:

Should we fill out a second V0901 for my wife for the 6 months of raising our daughter in Germany? 

 

No, since this isn't something she paid for, so these aren't any contributions that she could get back.

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On 4/11/2018, 11:30:30, chrisv_7 said:

 

On 4/19/2018, 8:07:43, garciagoesgerman said:

 

 

Hi garciagoesgerman,

 

Are you preparing your German pension refund from USA? If yes, then we're in the same boat... I'm trying to do the same. Can you tell me what you're putting in section 6 of the form V0901 (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?) What dates are you including and are you including your US social security number? 

 

Does anyone else have some advice/experience about this section? I know chrisv_7 has been quite clear and helpful about his experience, but it would be reassuring to have more examples from other people if possible.

 

Thanks!

 

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On ‎4‎/‎14‎/‎2018‎ ‎4‎:‎53‎:‎41‎, jontytyt said:

Thank you again chrisv_7. Regarding the sensitive question below, perhaps we should consider the fact that you are an Indian citizen living in USA (that is the information you provided). I wonder how the rule works for a US citizen. Perhaps it does not matter, but it would be good to have an example of a US citizen posting his/her experience.

 

  •  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. 

 

 

That is true that it may be a factor. I have read of Americans receiving their refund on Toytown, you'll have to dig into the other threads to find those references. If yours does go through or if it doesn't, you should add on to this thread as info for others.

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On ‎2‎/‎7‎/‎2018‎ ‎1‎:‎27‎:‎21‎, invisiman88 said:

 

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.

 

Hey invisiman88, did you get your refund? Any update would be appreciated for the community.

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On 4/30/2018, 6:17:37, chrisv_7 said:

 

Hi chrisv_7,

 

May I ask how long you worked in Germany? (I'm trying to figure out how the bilateral agreement between the US and Germany works... I read that to get US work years to count towards German pension requirements, one must have worked at least 18 months in Germany... that's why I'm wondering how long you worked in Germany).

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Hi everyone,

 

My family lived in Germany for 2 years and we have come back our home country for more than 3 years. We are having troubles filling form V901 and fortunately, we found this thread. :)

 

As in the above information, I choose answer "No" to question 5.1 : Has a German insurance record already been issued? Since we did not receive anything like that.

 

However, regarding the question 5.2, we are not sure how to answer: Do you have (other) contribution and/or employment periods in Germany (e.g. as apprentice, salaried employee, wage earner, mining employee, seaman, self-employed person, artist, person performing compulsory military service or alternative non-military service, person performing federal volunteer service, recipient of wage replacement benefits or early retirement pension, person providing nursing care since 1. April 1995, carrying out insignificant employment since 1. April 1999)?

We understand that here we fill in the job my husband took at University during our time in Germany? And health insurance fund is the AOK Baden-Wurttemberg and pension insurance scheme is Rentenversicherungs-traeger Baden-Wurttemberg. Is that correct?

 

And about the documents sent along with V901, we cannot find Social Security Record Booklet or relevant electronic vouchers from employer ( probably we did not receive it). May we send one of my husband "Meldenachweis-Sozialversicherung" that Landesamt fur Besoldung und Versorgung Baden-Wurttemberg sent us every month) ?

 

Hope to get my questions answered soon. Thank you!

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On 4/30/2018, 8:17:37, chrisv_7 said:

 

Hey invisiman88, did you get your refund? Any update would be appreciated for the community.

 

Hello all,

 

Sorry for being AWOL; I was too busy spending my refund...j/k. I DID get back my refund. Regarding my two questions from before, I answered straight: The US is an agreement state per question 6.1 so I answered yes; and since I pay into Social Security here in the US, I answered yes to 6.3 as well. I believe that has less to do with whether you qualify for a refund (since I left the EU) and more to do with that "agreement" part of the agreement states. To my understanding, the agreement allows the US (and the other agreement states) to use your time worked in other agreement states when determining your Social Security eligibility and award amount at retirement.

 

I was having a hard time with the certified copies of my documents since I live in California; California doesn't allow notaries to certify a copy as true. There is a "workaround" floating about on the web about writing a statement saying your copy of the document is true to the original, signing that statement in front of a notary and having the notary notarize that you signed the statement in front of him. That "workaround" is NOT acceptable for the purposes here. The German Consulate, however, IS able to certify a copy as true, so there I went!

 

I created copies of all my documents and brought those along with the originals to the Consulate. When I got there, I was informed that all my meticulously gathered documents were unnecessary! Instead, I was given another [redundant] form to fill out. The nice gentleman explained that I could send all those, but the pension office often times ask for this form; I'm sorry, I didn't get the name/number of this form. On it I filled out all my personal data, which was already on the V901: Name, Address, Citizenship, Bank Information. There may be a few other things I've forgotten. The gentleman then looked at my passport and drivers license to verify my information and then he notarized that form and included it with my V901. He even volunteered to send it off to Germany for me, saving me a few dollars in postage. I should mention that I still had my German bank account open (condirect); if I hadn't I would have had to fill out an additional form for the international transfer.

 

A few weeks after the Consulate, I got a letter in the mail saying my application was forwarded to a different department since apparently living in an agreement state requires some different kind of bureaucratic authority to process. The good news is that it was for information only; I didn't have to do anything on my part. I few weeks later, the money appeared in my German bank account. It was extracted and spent (yay student loans!) before I even received the approval letter from the pension folks. I guess it paid to expectantly check my account daily

 

That was my experience, as much as I remember anyway. I hope it's of help to some of you. If anyone knows that name of that form the Consulate had me fill out, I'm sure that would be helpful.

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On 4/9/2018, 12:18:50, 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 believe the German Insurance Record is an official record, similar to your Social Security Summary booklet thing, that the German government issues only when you reach SPECIFIC ages while contributing to the pension fund. It should contain a summary of all the contribution you made year by year until that specific age and the pension to which you are entitled at that time, hence the follow-on question: "Is the record complete and correct?" It is NOT the piece of paper that tells you what your pension number is.

 

For the second question, if you have contributed to or still contribute to any nation on the list of nations (which includes the US) then the answer must be "Yes." As I mentioned in my other post, I think this has more to do with determining "years of contribution" for the pensions in the agreement states, i.e. Social Security in the US. They allow you to use years spent contributing to state pensions in other countries as though it were paid to the US (or whichever country in which you live).

 

As mentioned, please always confirm with DRB; it's free and quick by email.

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On 4/9/2018, 10:03:25, jontytyt said:

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.

 

 

I believe there are two "from-to" slots to answer that question, 6.1. I used one for my first Social Security contribution to the year I went to Germany and the other for the year I came back from Germany to "now".

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On 4/9/2018, 4:16:38, jerome10 said:

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?

 

I believe the insurance card number is your health insurance card number, Krankenversicherungskarte.

 

I did not send in a copy of my Social Security card. I did add my SSN to the V901 though, as prompted.

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On 4/14/2018, 1:53:41, jontytyt said:

 

 

Thank you again chrisv_7. Regarding the sensitive question below, perhaps we should consider the fact that you are an Indian citizen living in USA (that is the information you provided). I wonder how the rule works for a US citizen. Perhaps it does not matter, but it would be good to have an example of a US citizen posting his/her experience.

 

  •  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. 

 

I'm a US Citizen living in the US and I got my refund. Either it's possible or the Germans made a mistake...I don't know the Germans to make many mistakes.

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On 6/6/2018, 9:17:59, Lizzievn said:

However, regarding the question 5.2, we are not sure how to answer: Do you have (other) contribution and/or employment periods in Germany (e.g. as apprentice, salaried employee, wage earner, mining employee, seaman, self-employed person, artist, person performing compulsory military service or alternative non-military service, person performing federal volunteer service, recipient of wage replacement benefits or early retirement pension, person providing nursing care since 1. April 1995, carrying out insignificant employment since 1. April 1999)?

We understand that here we fill in the job my husband took at University during our time in Germany? And health insurance fund is the AOK Baden-Wurttemberg and pension insurance scheme is Rentenversicherungs-traeger Baden-Wurttemberg. Is that correct?

 

And about the documents sent along with V901, we cannot find Social Security Record Booklet or relevant electronic vouchers from employer ( probably we did not receive it). May we send one of my husband "Meldenachweis-Sozialversicherung" that Landesamt fur Besoldung und Versorgung Baden-Wurttemberg sent us every month) ?

 

Hope to get my questions answered soon. Thank you!

 

5.2 asks you to list any and all other employment and contributions that are not already in the German insurance record (if you got one). The health insurance is whichever one you chose, it should be on your Krankenversicherungskarte or other KV documents. The RV (pension insurance) scheme should be on documents received from the DRB, including your Sozialversicherungsausweis; it should be a sub-heading below "Deutsche Rentenversicherung." It varies based on where you lived.

 

Regarding the documents, I would check with the DRB. I did receive some documents from my works accounting office every month, which I took with me when I went to the Consulate.

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1 hour ago, invisiman88 said:

I created copies of all my documents and brought those along with the originals to the Consulate. When I got there, I was informed that all my meticulously gathered documents were unnecessary! Instead, I was given another [redundant] form to fill out. The nice gentleman explained that I could send all those, but the pension office often times ask for this form; I'm sorry, I didn't get the name/number of this form.

To clarify, I did send off my copies with my V901, but none of the copies were notarized; only the form I filled out at the Consulate was notarized.

 

P.S. If you have private German pension insurance, such as VBL, contact them directly, and separately, regarding whether or not you can get those contributions back as well.

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On ‎6‎/‎8‎/‎2018‎ ‎3‎:‎11‎:‎19‎, invisiman88 said:

I'm a US Citizen living in the US and I got my refund. Either it's possible or the Germans made a mistake...I don't know the Germans to make many mistakes.

hahaha... Germans making a mistake, never!!!

 

NOW can people please stop asking if it is possible for the US or not.

 

Thanks for your input! Will help the community as more example come through this thread.

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On ‎5‎/‎11‎/‎2018‎ ‎3‎:‎10‎:‎39‎, jontytyt said:

May I ask how long you worked in Germany? (I'm trying to figure out how the bilateral agreement between the US and Germany works... I read that to get US work years to count towards German pension requirements, one must have worked at least 18 months in Germany... that's why I'm wondering how long you worked in Germany).

 

I worked in Germany for 4 years and 5 months. I think what you are referencing is if you want to be eligible for German Pension benefits before completing the 5 year contribution requirement then your contribution in the US can be counted in totality to provide partial benefits in Germany before completion of the mandated eligibility period in Germany.

 

I just looked at the SSA website and it states the following,

International Social Security agreements, often called "Totalization agreements," have two main purposes. First, they eliminate dual Social Security taxation, the situation that occurs when a worker from one country works in another country and is required to pay Social Security taxes to both countries on the same earnings. Second, the agreements help fill gaps in benefit protection for workers who have divided their careers between the United States and another country.

 

Workers who have divided their careers between the United States and a foreign country sometimes fail to qualify for retirement, survivors or disability insurance benefits (pensions) from one or both countries because they have not worked long enough or recently enough to meet minimum eligibility requirements. Under an agreement, such workers may qualify for partial U.S. or foreign benefits based on combined, or "totalized," coverage credits from both countries.

 

To qualify for benefits under the U.S. Social Security program, a worker must have earned enough work credits, called quarters of coverage, to meet specified "insured status requirements." For example, a worker who attains age 62 in 1991 or later generally needs 40 calendar quarters of coverage to be insured for retirement benefits. Under a Totalization agreement, if a worker has some U.S. coverage but not enough to qualify for benefits, SSA will count periods of coverage that the worker has earned under the Social Security program of an agreement country. In the same way, a country party to an agreement with the United States will take into account a worker's coverage under the U.S. program if it is needed to qualify for that country's Social Security benefits. If the combined credits in the two countries enable the worker to meet the eligibility requirements, a partial benefit can then be paid, which is based on the proportion of the worker's total career completed in the paying country.

 

The agreements allow SSA to totalize U.S. and foreign coverage credits only if the worker has at least six quarters of U.S. coverage. Similarly, a person may need a minimum amount of coverage under the foreign system in order to have U.S. coverage counted toward meeting the foreign benefit eligibility requirements.

 

Link: https://www.ssa.gov/international/agreements_overview.html

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On ‎6‎/‎7‎/‎2018‎ ‎12‎:‎17‎:‎59‎, Lizzievn said:

Hi everyone,

 

My family lived in Germany for 2 years and we have come back our home country for more than 3 years. We are having troubles filling form V901 and fortunately, we found this thread. :)

 

As in the above information, I choose answer "No" to question 5.1 : Has a German insurance record already been issued? Since we did not receive anything like that.

 

However, regarding the question 5.2, we are not sure how to answer: Do you have (other) contribution and/or employment periods in Germany (e.g. as apprentice, salaried employee, wage earner, mining employee, seaman, self-employed person, artist, person performing compulsory military service or alternative non-military service, person performing federal volunteer service, recipient of wage replacement benefits or early retirement pension, person providing nursing care since 1. April 1995, carrying out insignificant employment since 1. April 1999)?

We understand that here we fill in the job my husband took at University during our time in Germany? And health insurance fund is the AOK Baden-Wurttemberg and pension insurance scheme is Rentenversicherungs-traeger Baden-Wurttemberg. Is that correct?

 

And about the documents sent along with V901, we cannot find Social Security Record Booklet or relevant electronic vouchers from employer ( probably we did not receive it). May we send one of my husband "Meldenachweis-Sozialversicherung" that Landesamt fur Besoldung und Versorgung Baden-Wurttemberg sent us every month) ?

 

Hope to get my questions answered soon. Thank you!

Hi Lizzievn,

 

For 5.1 -- I also answered 'No'

 

For 5.2 -- I also included my details about my job when I did my internship.

I did not get an answer on this from DRB. The person at the consulate told me that DRB has all the details about the contributions based on your details so if they need more information they will get back to you.

 

And about the documents sent along with V901 -- I sent the Meldebescheinigung zur Sozialversicherung. I also attached my annual pay statements "LohnKonto" from my firm (I also had one for my internship).

 

Based on "invisiman88" experience, you may not even need all these documents. Collect as many as you can on a best effort basis and send across.

 

All the best!

 

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