Rentenversicherung - How to get evidence of US contributions?

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Hi All,

 

I've been asked by the Deutsche Rentenversicherung to provide evidence of my contributions to Social Security when I lived in the US. Does anyone know what I need to provide?

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20 hours ago, katheliz said:

Go to https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ and follow the directions to create an account and get your information.

 

@MrMiles

 

. . . . provided you meet the following requirements:

 

You must be able to verify some information about yourself and:

- Have a valid email address;
- Have a Social Security number;
- Have a U.S. mailing address; and
- Be at least 18 years of age.

 

 

The SSA routinely sends out a statement of earnings showing when, where and how you contributed and the total amount of qualifying "quarters".

 

As a more convenient alternative, the following should be sufficient to satisfy the DR:

 

-  Your W-2(s) for the periods in question or, if you were self-employed:

-  Schedule SE from your tax return(s) showing self-employment tax contributions.

 

 

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On 11.7.2021, 15:59:39, MrMiles said:

Hi All,

 

I've been asked by the Deutsche Rentenversicherung to provide evidence of my contributions to Social Security when I lived in the US. Does anyone know what I need to provide?

 

apparently you didn't create an online account with the SSA while you were still living/working in the US. 

Creating one now will only work, if you still have friends/relatives who's mailing address you could use for the registration process. If at all possible, you should really try to get that account set up - it will make your life a lot easier in the future.

 

But, if that is not an option, and you didn't keep any of your annual social security statements from back then either, you can let the Deutsche Rentenversicherung do the work for you, if you still remember your social security number.

 

The process is called Kontenklärung and can be started online here:

https://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/DRV/DE/Online-Dienste/Online-Dienste-ohne-Registrierung/ohne_registrierung.html

 

it takes them about two months to send you a piece of paper that you'll sign, giving them permission to enquire about your US work history with SSA. After that it'll take another two or three months and you'll get a document in the mail, containing your complete work history - you'll need that when you want to retire and apply for benefits. 

 

You might still want to work on getting that online account with the SSA at some point, before you really want to retire, just for your own peace of mind.

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I have a U.S. address and tried to set up the MyAccount on the SSA website.  My attempts failed every time, so I called the SSA office in my home state for assistance.  The SSA agent would only be able to help in person but recommended I contact the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) at the nearest U.S. Consulate. 

 

I made an appointment with the FBU at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt to set up the account, which had to be with a U.S. address.  This worked great and the SSA agent set up the account using my U.S. address, which is a mail forwarding service.  A month later, I received the MyAccount confirmation notice and login information and was able to change the correspondence address to my German address.  I now have access to my social security history back to the dawn of time.

 

The FBU in Frankfurt is no longer responding to appointment requests, but you might have more success with the FBU in Berlin.  However, you must have a U.S. mailing address and the means to have mail forwarded to your German address.

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3 minutes ago, JG52 said:

I have a U.S. address and tried to set up the MyAccount on the SSA website.  My attempts failed every time, so I called the SSA office in my home state for assistance.  The SSA agent would only be able to help in person but recommended I contact the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) at the nearest U.S. Consulate. 

 

I made an appointment with the FBU at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt to set up the account, which had to be with a U.S. address.  This worked great and the SSA agent set up the account using my U.S. address, which is a mail forwarding service.  A month later, I received the MyAccount confirmation notice and login information and was able to change the correspondence address to my German address.  I now have access to my social security history back to the dawn of time.

 

The FBU in Frankfurt is no longer responding to appointment requests, but you might have more success with the FBU in Berlin.  However, you must have a U.S. mailing address and the means to have mail forwarded to your German address.

 

can you describe what happens? how does the "failure" present itself? have you tried using a VPN service (like CyberGhost) and execute the account creation on a US server?

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37 minutes ago, karin_brenig said:

 

can you describe what happens? how does the "failure" present itself? have you tried using a VPN service (like CyberGhost) and execute the account creation on a US server?

 

The failure was related to the confirmation at the end of the online account creation.  A VPN service to a U.S. server would not have made any difference.

 

The SSA uses information from Equifax to verify applicants using the online option instead of visiting any SSA office.  I had my latest credit history from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, which was less than a month old, so verifying answers to the questions asked should have been easy.  However, the correct answer to all of the multiple choice questions was "None of the above", since the choices for each of the questions related to recent credit cards, car loans, or similar activities were not correct.

 

For example, one of the questions related to the source of my current student loan.  I graduated from college decades earlier but never had a student loan.  Another asked for the current monthly amount for a mortgage with Wells Fargo.  I retired the last mortgage for my rental properties about ten years earlier, but never had any association with Wells Fargo.  The other questions were similar and related to current financial transactions, none of which applied to me.

 

After the third attempt to break through the Equifax verification on the SSA site, I captured screenshots of the questions and multiple choice answers.  I then spoke with an Equifax agent and verified the credit report I had was current, the questions asked did not apply to me, and there was likely a problem with the SSA process.  At this point, I could return to the U.S. and visit any SSA office, or go to the FBU in Frankfurt.  The FBU process was easy, but I had to wait for the mail forwarding to send the account documents to me.

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This is excellent information.


It appears that you must at least start the application with an existing US address on file with SSA and have a credit history - specifically with Experian.  If I understand the experience of @JG52 it would appear that once you have established the online account with SSA you can then change your address to a foreign one and live happily ever after.  

 

The IRS online account process is similar with the added wrinkle that although it does not specify that a US address is required it does require you to have a US mobile phone in your name - and (although it does not reveal this in the instructions) that number must be from one of the major legacy carriers, AT&T, Verizon, etc.   As a result the IRS online system roll-out has been by most accounts a miserable failure.  A sizeable percentage of the minority of eligible taxpayers were unable to open and/or use their online account with IRS.

 

Interestingly enough Medicare does not require any of this crap to establish an online account.  The only hitch I encountered was the requirement to know your new medicare number.  If you had a foreign address when the new numbers were issued, you had to wait until you returned to the US to call Medicare and learn your new number after which you could then open an account.  I finally got around to doing this during a visit to the US and got both my new card and online account.  Still cannot get any benefits living in Germany but hey!  I have an online account!

 

The really outrageous aspect to all this is the general requirement to have a credit rating from Experian before the US government can be sure of your identity.   The rationale appears to be:  no real American has gone without a mortagage, student loan or credit card.  (PS:  Debit card accounts are not enough; you must be or have been in debt to be a qualified American. Pay-as-you-go is for Godless Furriners.)

 

This goofy reliance on credit rating agencies to establish identity is due in part to the lack of a universal real identification system in the United States, the lack of a requirement to register an address and the comparatively primitive US telephone system that limits call forwarding to numbers within the US and assumes all telephone numbers are in XXX-XXX-XXXXXXX format throughout the world, etc.

 

Just for yucks I applied for a Veteran's ID and was refused for lack of identification because all I had by way of an ID was a US passport and a DD 214.  No credit rating?  Not a real veteran.

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Straightpoop said:

This is excellent information.


It appears that you must at least start the application with an existing US address on file with SSA and have a credit history - specifically with Experian.  If I understand the experience of @JG52 it would appear that once you have established the online account with SSA you can then change your address to a foreign one and live happily ever after.

 

Correct!  The first thing I did when I received my account information was change my mailing address.  Since then, all SSA correspondence arrives at my German address.  The system even puts the post code before the city name.  I can't remember about the phone number, but I think it is still U.S. only with the XXX-XXX-XXXX format.

 

The requirement for Experian verification is only when applying for an account online, even in the States.  This is not needed when applying at the FBU or U.S.-based SSA office.  It's too bad the SSA used Experian, since this credit reporting firm had problems with a data breach in 2020.

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