What to do if I can't afford state pension contributions?...

19 posts in this topic

Further to a previous thread I started, I'm self-employed & on a very low income in Leipzig. Unfortunately my 2 viable work options (fitness instructor & artist) both demand compulsory pension payments of €250+ per month. Along with €196 per month health insurance (from January onwards). I simply can't afford this & haven't signed up for anything yet.

 

What on earth do people do in this situation?

 

I know one option is getting a mini-job (difficult in my case as my German is terrible) but I'd love to hear from folks in a similar situation to me. Do people just ignore it & deal with the consequences when you get found out? I know a local Leipziger working in a similar field to me who's doing this. Sooner or later he'll have to pay the 5 years-worth of contributions.

Another option I can see is becoming a member of KSK (Künstlersozialkasse) who provide excellent support with health insurance & pensions. I fit all their criteria but will be waiting around a year for an answer.

At the moment I see my future here but still can't say for difinite if I'll even BE here in 5 years time. If it ends up costing more than it did in the UK I need to be practical & realistic about all this.

Have I missed a solution to this? Would de-registering & returning to the UK briefly make any difference. 



 

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5 minutes ago, moortown said:

What on earth do people do in this situation?

 

Get married to someone already making contributions to the DE system. Sad but true. 

 

Unless the UK gets its act together, then you will need to be sponsored in some sense or be able to demonstrate your ability to live without any state support whatsoever. Sponsors can be your company, your spouse, or even in this sense your children. 

 

Or get a very basis job that pays more than 450 EUR a month for now. This would probably involve some menial or manual labour if you cannot speak German. In this case it is best to move somewhere where such jobs can be found. 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, moortown said:

Do people just ignore it & deal with the consequences when you get found out? I know a local Leipziger working in a similar field to me who's doing this. Sooner or later he'll have to pay the 5 years-worth of contributions.

 

Yes.  People round my way tend not to pay them.  I never did, sometime ago, and neither did those round me.   Looking at what people round you do is a good indicator, to understand the risk of actually being asked.  (You can save in the background in case you are asked).   I am also not sure you would have to pay twice surely - it's 19% of income or something?

 

And yes to the other bit as well.   You would have to earn more.   If you think it might be challenging to deliver that, this may indicate your work structure is not sustainable.   Bear in mind that the average German employed salary is almost 50k and so, in an era of rising rents in particular and the mass consumerism of cities, the days of being able to dabble in part-time low income self-employment are disappearing.    No, we probably will not find it easy to self-supporting in Leipzig on (?) 20k now, at least if we want any sort of "average" life as the 2018 mass middle class typically live it.   That is indeed near poverty line definition (60% of average income, which is obviously less than that salary one).   Those days are gone.  We could do that in 2008 but can't in 2018 and so I stopped (went back to consultancy).

 

I understand from other threads (but not sure) that the selfemployed might be going to be brought into the state scheme anyway soon.

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1 hour ago, moortown said:

Further to a previous thread I started, I'm self-employed & on a very low income in Leipzig. Unfortunately my 2 viable work options (fitness instructor & artist) both demand compulsory pension payments of €250+ per month. Along with €196 per month health insurance (from January onwards). I simply can't afford this

 

This is a simple business calculation: if the income from self-employment is not sufficient, self-employment is not sustainable. 

 

1 hour ago, moortown said:

 

& haven't signed up for anything yet.

 

You do not have health insurance??? 

 

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1 hour ago, moortown said:

Further to a previous thread I started, I'm self-employed & on a very low income in Leipzig. Unfortunately my 2 viable work options (fitness instructor & artist) both demand compulsory pension payments of €250+ per month. Along with €196 per month health insurance (from January onwards). I simply can't afford this & haven't signed up for anything yet.

 

What on earth do people do in this situation?

 

I know one option is getting a mini-job (difficult in my case as my German is terrible) but I'd love to hear from folks in a similar situation to me. Do people just ignore it & deal with the consequences when you get found out? I know a local Leipziger working in a similar field to me who's doing this. Sooner or later he'll have to pay the 5 years-worth of contributions.

Another option I can see is becoming a member of KSK (Künstlersozialkasse) who provide excellent support with health insurance & pensions. I fit all their criteria but will be waiting around a year for an answer.

At the moment I see my future here but still can't say for difinite if I'll even BE here in 5 years time. If it ends up costing more than it did in the UK I need to be practical & realistic about all this.

Have I missed a solution to this? Would de-registering & returning to the UK briefly make any difference. 



 

How long have you been in Germany, Moortown? ie when did you register?

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5 months ago? Have you not applied for public insurance yet? I am not clear about that from your wording ( but that might be just me )...

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16 minutes ago, moortown said:

I registered 5 months ago.

 

Assuming you've really been registered here for five months and haven't taken out health insurance:

 

Then I'm afraid you blew it. No statutory health insurance company will accept you as a voluntarily insured person any longer, you only had three months time for applying. And private health insurances are not keen on poorly earning self-employed. The tariff in which they (the private health insurers) have to include you costs you around 700 euros a month ("basic tariff").

 

Your only chance is to find a job that will provide you with a living, and to be compulsorily insured. You'll have to backpay the contributions of the last five months. 

 

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7 minutes ago, someonesdaughter said:

 

Assuming you've really been registered here for five months and haven't taken out health insurance:

 

Then I'm afraid you blew it. No statutory health insurance company will accept you as a voluntarily insured person any longer, you only had three months time for applying. And private health insurances are not keen on poorly earning self-employed. The tariff in which they (the private health insurers) have to include you costs you around 700 euros a month ("basic tariff").

 

Your only chance is to find a job that will provide you with a living, and to be compulsorily insured. You'll have to backpay the contributions of the last five months. 

 


I know leaving it this long was a mistake. I'm willing to accept that.

But, I've been quoted far less than €700 per month for STATE health insurance. More like €200. It's only when I add on the compulsory pension contributions that I get close to €700 per month in total. I can take the €200 a month hit, just, but €500 is out of my league completely.

So, yeah, public health insurance ain't an option.

Anyway, this was more about people experience with the compulsory state pension contributions.

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35 minutes ago, moortown said:


I know leaving it this long was a mistake. I'm willing to accept that.

But, I've been quoted far less than €700 per month for STATE health insurance. More like €200. 

 

There is no STATE health insurance in Germany. There are public and private health insurers, public (charging at least around 200€ for self employed from 1.1.2019 on) will not take you anymore! 

 

You had 3 months to apply. You have no legal right any longer to join them. That boat has sailed, sorry. 

 

Pls read this thread ("Health insurance for Brits in Germany - what is the 3-month rule?"), I'm quoting Starshollow (third posting):

 

On 15.7.2015, 11:16:59, Starshollow said:

 

- the three months rule comes out of the German legislation and means that if you come out of another public insurance system (like NHS) into Germany AND you want to continue to be insured within the German public health insurance system you'll need to apply for voluntary coverage within the first three months upon becoming a resident, after that you have lost your eligibilty for voluntary membership in German public health insurance.

 

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31 minutes ago, someonesdaughter said:

 

There is no STATE health insurance in Germany. There are public and private health insurers, public (charging at least around 200€ for self employed from 1.1.2019 on) will not take you anymore! 

 

You had 3 months to apply. You have no legal right any longer to join them. That boat has sailed, sorry. 

 

Pls read this thread ("Health insurance for Brits in Germany - what is the 3-month rule?"), I'm quoting Starshollow (third posting):

 

 

Interesting (and alarming). Sorry, I meant "public".

I've already had a meet-up with a well regarded insurance broker who seems to this I'm fine. The paperwork's being sorted next week.

Just out of interest, is there a way of un-registering, leaving the country for a particular amount of time, then registering again?

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Our eligibility for Krankenkasse when arriving from abroad depends on our directly previous participation in another EU nation's state healthcare system.  Not merely arriving here from such a place.  So you would have to make sure you had done that for the required minimum period for eligibility here etc.

 

As it stands, that right will end on 29 March 2019 anyway in respect of arrivals from UK (at least for Britons, not sure on what EU will do for its citizens).   A fact reemphasised yesterday in the UK's guidance that "EU citizens' rights" will not extend through any transition period.   Arrivals between UK and EU in any transition period after that date will not get EU rights.   This may change, of course, but that is it at today.   So the clock is ticking on any such plan anyway from UK.  Other EU nations would be possible do you to do that, it's participation in such a scheme, not nationality.

 

I just read a really interesting article today about the business of music in the Guardian.   A well-known musician basically said that, these days, you think it's cool to be indie...then the bills come in and the tax authority starts asking questions, and you realise you need to sign to a label, and so he did.   I thought - absolutely, bang on now.   It' similar.  Being self-employed is definitely not what it was, and often not what it's cracked up to be.     The other big taboo was discussed in some detail: that they often earn very little, and much less than others (including people looking on and wanting to do the same) tend to assume.

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1 hour ago, moortown said:

Just out of interest, is there a way of un-registering, leaving the country for a particular amount of time, then registering again?

 

You would have to leave Germany for so long that the UK is no longer part of the EU and the freedom of movement is a thing of the past (at least one year). 

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8 minutes ago, someonesdaughter said:

 

You would have to leave Germany for so long that the UK is no longer part of the EU and the freedom of movement is a thing of the past (at least one year). 


It's crazy to think that this may end up being a viable option....but it actually might?!

 

What a mess!

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The point is it is not even possible for you now in the UK.  You can't do the year by 29 March 2019 there.  That horse has bolted.   You'd have to do it in another EU nation - that may well also want your contributions for health and pension and such while you are there.

 

My opinion?  You are right.  Germany in 2019 is not a good place for lowpaid freelancers to sustain themselves individually.  An earlier reply indicated it's different as a trailing spouse for someone earning decently.   The German economic model is built on high margin industry.   Low-paid freelance work is not greatly of interest in that context.   It's not a strategic priority here and so not especially accommodated in its societal model.    We are not a priority group, rather bottom of the list.   (I did come for a partner btw - Only reason I am here, I'd not have done it alone).

 

If you want to practice lowpaid self-employment with no substantial fixed overheads (state or other), and especially as a solo household, Germany 2019 would not be high on the list.  Exactly right.  You would choose a nation with a low cost base (likely Eastern Europe) or  / or few fixed costs.  Germany is neither.

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7 hours ago, someonesdaughter said:

 

Assuming you've really been registered here for five months and haven't taken out health insurance:

 

Then I'm afraid you blew it. No statutory health insurance company will accept you as a voluntarily insured person any longer, you only had three months time for applying. And private health insurances are not keen on poorly earning self-employed. The tariff in which they (the private health insurers) have to include you costs you around 700 euros a month ("basic tariff").

 

Your only chance is to find a job that will provide you with a living, and to be compulsorily insured. You'll have to backpay the contributions of the last five months. 

 

Your post is fine and correct but not re the basic tariff (well, not exactly ). The basic tariff is for the  "uninsurable" ie half dead, cannot get any insurance at all. :rolleyes: AND he/she would need specialist legal help from eg a Versicherungsberater, This is not the case - he will not be able to get public insurance unless he gets an employee job (but not a MiniJob ) or unless he gets into the KSK. If the broker can´t get him into public insurance, he/she can do an economical BaFin-recognized international insurance until he/she gets into the KSK..then employee-like status and all is well. OK, backpayments for pension etc. It is  likely, though, that Germany  may just be the wrong country anyway price-wise...

 

An OLD text---desperately in need of updating!:rolleyes:

http://www.gunnpartner.com/articles/The-Basistarif-for-The-Uninsurable

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Frankly, if you have low income go to France!

That is the country for you in terms of State Aid.

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59 minutes ago, aaanda said:

Frankly, if you have low income go to France!

That is the country for you in terms of State Aid.

 

What we learn about the protests of the yellow vests sounds somewhat different, however:

 

"The movement, which organized on social media in October, was initially made up of retirees, the self-employed, artisans and others having a hard time making ends meet, often from rural France and in their 30s and 40s, said Sorbonne sociologist Jean-Francois Amadieu, an expert in social movements."

 

https://www.apnews.com/46838f7b31f94390a47c93bd98fd0f91

 

"The movement - born online - cuts across age, job and region, and includes members of the working and middle classes, all affected by the higher cost of living.

 

Its members range from factory workers and the unemployed to the self-employed (particularly artisans) and retired people."

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46424267

 

And the self-employed social security system (RSI), from which small self-employed have benefited so far, will be gradually abolished by 2020. The self-employed will then also have to insure themselves in the general health insurance fund, which (unlike, for example, Germany) only covers between 15 and 65% of the costs for medicines and medical treatment. Who wants more, has to pay privately in addition. 

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Ireland might be a good option... if you are on a low income you can get a medical card and all will be paid, and even if not, the public health system does support you, just that you have to pay a bit for consultations etc. My own doctor was very lax about it even before I got a medical card (which I got because of my German health insurance.)

You can take out private health insurance there as well, which is a fraction of German private health insurance. 

Rents are pretty high but they love artists and there are all sorts of grants. My daughter's sister in law is self employed as an artist (singer) and seems to be quite happy with her low income and occasional jobs.

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