Paying UK national insurance contributions directly from Germany

117 posts in this topic

Oh dear Gary, you're losing me... I have a recent Rentenauskunft.

 

I get that German contribs do not change the UK pension if I already have minimum UK qualifying years. But I thought your UK contribs impacted the German result if the years do not overlap.

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4 minutes ago, optimista said:

 

How does the zwischenstaatliche Berechnung affect the calculations?

How long have you got?

 

The short answer is that the UK rules require 2 calculations to be done - inner and zwischen - and you get the higher amount as your pension.

 

The innerstaatliche is based only on your German years, which can include time spent in education and Ausbildung before starting work in Germany.  This is the process we went through to provide evidence of all post-17 activity before starting work in Germany age 21 or so.  

 

The zwischenstaatliche looks at all time in all EU/EEA/UK countries and then applies the German rules to those times.  Where there are real Entgeltpunkte for those periods they are used;  where there are none because you were working in the UK or France or wherever, then they take the average monthly Entgeltpunkte from your German payments and apply that to those other periods.  In theory the maths is a lemon and you will end up with the same number in terms of final Entgeltpunkte BUT not always.  I don't fully understand this yet.  For me with school, Uni, work (Germany), work (UK), retire, it is a lemon, i.e. the inner and zwischen give the same number.  For my wife that is not the case and she ends up with more Entgeltpunkte.  I think that is because she has a more interrupted career. School, dance school, work (Germany), unemployed (Germany), UK teacher training, work, not working to raise kids (NIC credits), working, not working and so on.

 

But, the important thing is that the EU times count towards your 35 years.  We were in Germany for 8 years but adding the UK years (and then excluding overlaps) means we get to the 35 and indeed 45 years requirements, so can claim at 63 (reduced amount) or 64 and bit (not reduced).  

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OK, rule no. 1, always read all the words... so I DO have a zwischenstaatliche Berechnung. At least I know now what that is...

The points come out the same on the inner and zwischenstaatliche.

I have got:

 

159 months Beitragszeit

30 months Anrechnungszeit

67 months Beitragszeit nach den Rechtsvorschriften eines anderen EU-Staats

51 months gleichgestellte Zeit nach den Rechtsvorschriften eines anderen EU-Staats (is this the verdrängt stuff?)

 

So where does that get me?

 

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1 hour ago, optimista said:

So where does that get me?

 

 

OK, in the zwischenstaaliche part you should see a list of time periods headed something like "Deutschland" and "Vereinigtes Königsreich".  In 2018 and earlier, they listed all periods and then said how many months were overlapping using "verdrängt".  It wasn't that easy to follow but you could work out which periods that related to.  

 

Looking at the Rentenauskunft I received last month, they now to the maths in the background so broadly you should see time periods in one or other country from your 16th birthday (or earlier in my case as I got NIC credits for staying at school after 15 - I was one of the first years of compulsory education to 16 in the UK).  Where the post-17 time has been added to your German record you probably won't see anything attributed to the UK times as they overlap but where you have UK time that is recognised only under the EU rules it will be shown.

 

Looking at mine I see:

24 months UK Gleichgestellte Zeit

6 months D-recognised UK Schulausbildung

15 months UK Gleichgestelle Zeit and Beitragszeit (I had a Uni summer job)

5 months D-recognised UK Uni time

46 months UK time (Uni and working over holidays)

11 months D-recognised UK Uni time

9 months UK time

95 months D Beitragszeit (the years we were in Germany)

100s of months UK Beitragszeit (the years working back in the UK, to date)

 

That gets shown in a list like yours above. Rows 1, 3 and 4 count towards the 45-years pension and all rows (I think) count towards the 35 years you are aiming primarily at (Anrechnungszeit does not count towards the 45 years).  The Rentenausfunft, possibly on the page after that list of Wartezeiten, but somewhere, should say where you sit visa-vie reaching the 35 and/or 45 years with your currently recorded times.

 

To reach the 35 years for Germany you need to ensure you add new UK voluntary NIC years that are not the same as (overlapping) the 159 months Beitragszeit, as that relates to years paid-up through living/working in Germany (or the periods you hope to add in Germany for Kindererziehung).  You don't need to worry about the 30 months Anrechnungszeit because this is for stuff like Schulausbildung, Uni, etc in the UK or Germany that have been D-recognised but don't give Entgeltpunkte and don't give Wartezeit for the 45-year pension.  Anyway, they are almost certainly well out of date for voluntary NIC, even if you don't have NIC credits for those periods.

 

This leaves the 67 and 51 months.  The first relates to UK periods that could be directly linked to German Beitragszeit types (NIC payments or certain NIC credits), so some of your 20 years.  The second number is for periods that are treated as (gleichgestellt) German-qualifying years even though it may not be identifiable from the other country's records how they would otherwise be categorised.  Suffice to say that from your 20 UK years and periods of education in the UK for which you did not get NIC credits (Uni for instance), you end up with Germany recognising 67+51+30=168 months which do not overlap with periods already within your German records.  That is 14 years and you should be able to see the latest year that is included in your data. For instance, my printout finishes with the year to 5 April 2020 as I had UK contributions in UK year 2019/20. 

 

So, all told you have 159 German months plus 168 UK months making 327 months. That is just over 27 years.  You need 420 moths (35 years) so, if my understanding is correct) you need to get 420-327=93 more months.  This is set-out for me in my latest Rentenauskunft.  Mine has been produced in relation to the 45-year pension and says,  "Die Wartezeit von 45 Jahren ist derzeit mit 523 Monaten nicht erfüllt, es fehlen noch 17 Monaten".  Anyway, you should see something like that. 93 months is 7.75 years, so 8 years of UK voluntary NIC for time periods not identifiable in those 327 months you already have. 

 

So, if your German records cover only years to, say, 31 December 2005 it wouldn't matter how you paid your 15 UK years as the earliest year you can pay is 2006/7. BUT if your German years go to, say, 31 December 2015, you would not now want to pay UK voluntary NIC for any of those years, meaning you would be back to plan B, starting your UK payments from 2016/17, or perhaps 2015/16 to begin from 6 April 2015, just after your German years end.  All comes down to maths again, unfortunately...

 

If it is not clear from the Rentenauskunft you may want to check how many months you already have with the DRV just to be sure you buy the right years in the UK etc.

 

As you have lived in France (am I correct), do French years also come into the equation to add a layer of complexity?  The same rules apply to contributions in any EU/EEA country...

 

Hope this helps move things forward ne or two steps...

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Oh boy. Getting one's head around this is such fun. But thanks all the same for these explanations. You have really been a great help.

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4 hours ago, optimista said:

Oh boy. Getting one's head around this is such fun. But thanks all the same for these explanations. You have really been a great help.

Hope you "get there", at least to have informed conversations with DRV and DWP...  Good luck

 

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Back again. Maybe I should put the following in the vent thread. But I have to get this off my chest. Oh boy. Real life experience coming up folks.

I called DWP for the second time hoping to get reassurance that I would not be paying too much if I pay 15 years, seeing as if I pay 10 years, I would have 30 years under the old system at 2016... I had pretty much the same unsatisfactory conversation as the last time. It went like this...

Q: If I reach 30 years of contributions by 2016 by paying 10 years would I be entitled to a full pension per the old system? Would I be wasting money paying 5 more years?

A: No, you need 15 years. They will have calculated both old and new systems. You need 15 years.

Q: Because...

A: Because you were never contracted out.

(I am out of my depth at that point, so drop the ball.)

 

Q: In my last forecast 10 years ago there as an additional pension on top of the state pension. Has this been included in the forecast?

A: Yes, it will have been taken into account for the forecast.

Q: How can that be checked? What if they did not include it? (The maximum 179.60 they quote is the standard state amount for everyone or includes additional pension?)

A: It's taken care of. "It's in the background."

(To which there is no answer. Floored again.)

 

Oh dear. 20 minutes later. Somehow this does not reassure me. But I doubt I am going to get more concrete information than this. So I think, ok, let's just do this, i.e. stump up the cash - more than 11K. And sleep easy.

Get onto HSBC online banking, and there the fun really starts.

Payment to new customer using secure key. Customer not supported. I input three different transaction codes. All failed. I did it carefully and made no mistakes. Promise. Online chat, go through the robot, finally get into a chat with a human bean who regurgitates what you already did and what the robot said - in weird English. He told me how to reset the secure key. Instructions ambiguous. I tried all ways. Failed. Still no joy. Chat person gives me a phone no. to ring so they can reset my code. I ask for an international no. being in France. Which is provided. But I know from experience you wait for ever in a queue and then cannot get past their security questions. I always give up. I would weep but it is a waste of body fluids.

I think I will write snail mail to my bank with instructions for payment. Oh boy. It is 2021.

Exhale.

 

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On 23/05/2021, 10:59:57, GaryC said:

... informed conversations with DRV and DWP...

:lol:

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Oh dear - life is complicated...

 

OK, so on the first point DWP is correct.  The old state pension is no longer in existence for people who retire after 5 April 2016 but what you would have got under those rules is used as part 1 of calculation to transition you onto the new system.  Having 30 or more years at 2016 does not necessarily mean you get the full amount under the new system, especially if you had been contracted out, like me.  With 30 or more years under the old rules part 1 of the calculation would give an amount equal to the max under the old rules (£137.60), plus any "additional pension" amount if you were not contracted out.  The second part of the transition calculation then looks at what you would have got at 2016 had the new rules always been in place.  If you were not contracted out and had 35 years up to 2016 then the new rules would give an amount equal to the new max (£179.60).  Either way, whichever is the higher of those 2 amounts is your starting amount under the new rules.  So, at the moment with 20 years, all pre-2016, that comparison gives you a starting amount of £102.63 as per your forecast because part 2 of the calculation gives a higher amount than part 1.  

 

If you pay up 10 years from 2006/7 to 2015/16, then you have 30 years to use in the transition calculation.  That would give an amount equal to the max under the old rules (£137.60) and 30/35 x £179.60 = £153.94 under the new rules.  Your starting amount would then be the higher of the 2, i.e. £153.94.

 

Each NIC year you buy adds £5.13 to that starting amount.  So, DWP is correct to say that you need 15 years to add 15 x £5.13 = £76.95 to your current starting amount of £102.63 to get to £179.60.  If you add those 15 years from 2006/07 to 2020/21 then you will get the max £179.60.  Alternatively, if you add those years from 2016/17 to 2030/31 you also get the max.  If you take the 2006/07 to 2020/21 option, 10 of those years lie before 2016, and your starting amount becomes the higher of 30/30 x £137.60 and 30/35 x £179.60 = £153.94, i.e. the latter, and you need 5 x £5.13 = £25.65 to get you to £179.60.  Whichever way you cut it, you need to buy 15 years.  

 

Your question about additional pension is a good one.  As DWP say, you were not contracted out, so, in theory, there could be an amount to add into the first part of the transition calculation to reflect that.  This would increase part 1 of the calculation but have no impact on part 2 as the concept of additional pension no longer exists under the new rules.  It seems highly unlikely that any amount of additional pension would increase part 1 from about £92 (20/30 x £137.60) to more than part 2 at £102.63, so although DWP's answer was less than helpful, it does sound correct.  Also, if you buy 10 years to from 2006/07 to 2015/16, this would not change any additional pension amount as it is related to your earnings during the relevant years, so not changed by buying years later on.  So, it seems almost certain that part 2 of the transition calculation will always give the higher amount for you.

 

Bottom line is that in 99% of cases, the most anyone can get under the new rules is the £179.60.  In a very small number of cases, people who had not been contracted out throughout their whole career might find that part 1 is higher than part 2 of the transition calculation.  They then get any amount above £179.60 on top of the new state pension but I would stick my neck out and suggest that is not the case for you given that you have only 20 years paid up...

 

For me, the key question still, is, "Which 15 years is it better to pay up?"  and the answer to that is twofold:

  1. From a UK perspective it matters not which 15 years you buy but paying the earliest years now would protect your UK position in case any future government tinkers with the system and increases the number of years required to get a maximum pension between now at 2031 - this is a hypothetical risk rather than a real one.
  2. From a German pension perspective, which UK years is it best to pay to ensure you get your 35 years in Germany before you are 63.  Any UK month that overlaps with a German month is ignored.  That is the case for the 20 UK years you already have and for any of the 15 UK years you intend to buy, so you need to look at a current Rentenauskunft to see how many months "Wartezeit" you already have and to what date. You may need to prompt DRV to include the UK years in any Rentenauskunft.  This will tell you which years to buy in the UK.  For instance, if your Rentenauskunft goes only to 31.12.2005, then buying your 15 UK years for any of 2006/07 (6.4.2006) onwards will add to your German Wartezeit as there would be no overlaps.  However, if you already have German Wartezeit for all years to, say, 31.12.2012, then buying 2006/7 to 2012/13 in the UK would not add anything in Germany (actually you would get 1.1.2013 to 5.4.2013 but you get the point).  In that case, buying your 15 UK years from 2013/14 would mean they add Wartezeit in Germany as well as adding to your UK years.  Does this make sense?  If you get this wrong, then you may get your max UK pension because you buy 15 years but you may find that some of those years are ignored because they overlap with existing periods in Germany.  End result, max UK pension but no ability to take the German pension at 63 and that would be, well, let's just say, annoying!

 

So, before you pay anything to the UK, make sure you are buying years that will add Wartezeit in Germany.   The UK may find it strange if you say you want to buy, say,  2013/14 onwards, but ultimately it should be open to you to buy whichever years benefit your cause... You'll need to make sure that your NI record then reflects the years you have asked to fill in the UK (takes 10+ weeks to appear on your NI record) as that is the data that Germany will use to work out if you have the 35 years (420 months) Wartezeit to take your pension at 63.

 

I get that this is frustrating and complicated but you have plenty of time (as mentioned in an earlier post) to get it right - prices stay the same until 5 April 2022 and the pre-2016 years can still be purchased up until 5 April 2023.  If you rush because you are frustrated then, although the UK position will be fine, you may miss out on the pension at 63 from Germany... 

 

HTH

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Wow Gary, you love this stuff, right? Thanks for your insight. What you say is reassuring. Odd though that someone on the Internet can give me this info but not the DWP. I am suitably grateful to you.

 

Coincidentally my last German contribs were in 2006, and my last UK contribs 2005-2006.

I will buy the 15 years from 2006 and have done with it... if HSBC plays the game. There was a long phone call to the bank.. where once again I fell on my face. You cannot make a payment over 10K by phone... :mellow: but it took 26 minutes to establish that... I am trying to retain my sense of humour. In fact, I missed off two zeros when inputting the numbers in the secure key because there were no pence, only pounds, so that is why my codes were thrice refused and then the secure key blocked. All clouds however have silver linings, for it will vindicate the people on the Brexit thread who accuse me of fat shaming the Maltese singer on the Eurovision Song Contest because she was wearing - IMO - an inappropriately short frock... karma is seeing to it that I suffer... but I digress...)

 

The only remaining bogey seems to be what year the Germans will attribute any Kinderziehung to. If they slap it on the end of my DE contribs in 2006 (daughter born in 2005) then yes, I will have another overlap (already have 10 overlapping years due to lack of information at the time I paid my earlier voluntary UK contribs. It simply was not possible to elicit the information at the time either from the Germans or Brits. They each said ask the other... but honestly I am past caring.)

If Kinderziehung gets sorted this year or next... it may be attributed to the current year, rather than backdated so I think I will let it ride for a while. No hurry to fill in those forms...

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1 hour ago, GaryC said:

... you have plenty of time (as mentioned in an earlier post) to get it right - prices stay the same until 5 April 2022 and the pre-2016 years can still be purchased up until 5 April 2023.

 

No, I have it in black and white that I have 8 weeks, which run out mid June, to pay at the present rates. Only the last 3 years can be postponed.

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4 minutes ago, optimista said:

 

No, I have it in black and white that I have 8 weeks, which run out mid June, to pay at the present rates. Only the last 3 years can be postponed.

 

I would not suggest putting it off, but the rates do not increase that much in my experience.  Like, do not panic.  Though I do not think panic is something you do.  I am good at it.  I avoid opening post sometimes, in case it is bad news.  Totally doolally. Ha.

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Not panicking. Just sick of the head-bangingly frustrating bureaucracy. My life is too short. The money is there. I want to get it done. And know I will have a minimum income in the worst case scenario.

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2 minutes ago, optimista said:

Not panicking. Just sick of the head-bangingly frustrating bureaucracy. My life is too short. The money is there. I want to get it done. And know I will have a minimum income in the worst case scenario.

Sure me too.  But I panic anyway.  

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I have heard somewhere else that HMRC stick a weird 8-week deadline on voluntary NIC.  Makes no sense to me.  The rates increase by reference to a year, so some period within a year makes no sense.  Leaving aside the fact that you can pay the previous 2 years at the rate applicable to that year, if you want to pay voluntary NIC is it based on the rate in force now, which is £800.80.  That will not change until 6 April next year.  I wonder whether they put an 8-week time limit on things to make sure people follow through but if you let it lapse and then ring up again in, say, 6 months the price will be the same.  Anyway, be that as it may, once one has decided to pay, then doing it within 8 weeks should not be an issue.

 

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15 minutes ago, optimista said:

Wow Gary, you love this stuff, right?

I do, sad as that may be...

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15 minutes ago, GaryC said:

I wonder whether they put an 8-week time limit on things to make sure people follow through...

 

Assuming it's just a way of applying pressure. Psycho-terror... you put it more positively. B)

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6 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

Inhale might be good too.

 

Count to 8 out

Count to 4 in

Hold for 4

 

Alternatively 11 out and 7 in.

Repeat. Until you feel the calm.

 

@Gary: we all have our quirks :P

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