Pension - Erklaeren meines Versicherungskonto

27 posts in this topic

Hi,

Quick background: I moved to German in 2007 from the UK. I obtained German citizenship about 5 years ago and have dual UK/German citizenship.

This morning I received the following letter from the deutsche Rentenversicherung:

 

deutsche-rentenversicherung-1.jpg.38322bdeutsche-rentenversicherung-2.jpg.f2f091deutsche-rentenversicherung-3.jpg.b1542a

 

I dutifully went to their website and started to fill out the eAntrag: "Antrag auf Kontenklärung V0100/4.2"

Not a short document, but anyway. I arrived at the following question:

Klärung des Rentenversicherungskontos
Haben Sie Zeiten zurückgelegt, die bisher noch nicht in Ihrem Versicherungsverlauf enthalten sind?

The only option that seems relevant to me here is

- Zeiten im Ausland oder bei internationalen Organisationen (optional)

The next question (because of my answer to the previous one is: 

Beiträge im Ausland
Haben Sie Zeiten in einem ausländischen Versicherungssystem zurückgelegt (zum Beispiel, weil Sie im Ausland gearbeitet haben)?
(have to answer ja or nein) - I answered ja.

At the end of the form it is then asking me for: Nachweis (z.B. Bescheinigung Arbeitgeber) über Beitragszeiten im Ausland

 

There is no way I can actually get this information. I am unsure whether I need to actually give them the information. I can submit the form without attaching it. 

I don't know why they would actually need this, surely my contributions in Germany are what count towards my pension payment? I am also unclear about the statement about what happens if I don't reply within 6 months.

Should I just reply with a letter stating that I only moved to Germany in 2007?

I would be grateful for any advice.

 

Thanks

Heidi

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I got a very similar letter a few weeks ago and planned to fix it next week, but I would also be very interested in the answers.

The obvious reason why they have no record of my previous insurance contributions is because I had no contact with the German authorities before I moved here.

My current plan is to follow the instructions on the form and make an appointment to see them, but if they want any proof of anything from me then it's going to take a while I think.

Looks like another Brexit bonus to me.

 

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There are two separate issues tucked away in here. 

 

The first is the one you specifically ask about completing your records from a German DRV perspective.  This will cover all periods from (I think) your 17th birthday, or is it the 18th?  It changed a while back and I forget which it is but as the UK NI records start from the year in which you were 16 the DRV will do what it needs with those records.  This will take into account your periods in education, apprenticeship, unemployed etc and could lead to more Entgeltpunkte under the German rules.  They will see that you were employed in the UK and that can be corroborated by DWP via your NI record. 

 

When we did all this, we had to provide, so far as possible, letters from various schools or other educational bodies etc and then entered dialogue with DRV to clear up any questions.  Where we did not have or could no longer obtain the information, they took a pragmatic approach.  Anyway, the process took a while (we are in the UK) but was worth sticking with.

 

Then you have the second question of what happens when you claim your pensions (you will get one from the UK and one from Germany) at the relevant state pension age (both are claimed via the country in which you are living).  The EU rules on coordination of social security systems (which continue to apply in perpetuity to UK folk living in Germany before the end of transition) require DRV (and from the UK state pension perspective the DWP) to undertake 2 calculations and to pay you the higher amount as a pension.

 

The first is the innerstaatliche Berechnung using only those years that are recognised under the German rules, including those added from the above Kontenklaerung.  The second is the zwischenstaatliche Berechnung, where all years (UK and German) are taken into account as if they were completed in the country doing the calculations (Germany in this case).  The resulting theoretical amount is then pro-rated to your German years, again, including those confirmed under the Kontenklaerung above.  DRV will ask the DWP for a copy of your NI record and use that to fill any gaps - overlaps are ignored, e.g. where your UK years fed into the above, the above takes precedence.   

 

For me the innerstaatliche and zwischenstaatliche Berechnungen yield the same result but for my wife the latter increases her pension by 20%.  So, worth going through the pain to get this sorted.

 

The other thing to consider is whether you would benefit in the UK from paying voluntary NI contributions.  In simple terms you need 35 UK qualifying years to get a maximum UK state pension (in addition to whatever pension you get from the DRV).  The German years will not change the amount of your UK pension but can get you past the minimum 10 years required to qualify from a UK pension. This is because the UK state pension is based only on qualifying years, whereas the German pension has a more complex earnings-related component in the Entgeltpunkte.

 

A new UK state pension system was introduced in 2016 and people with NI records spanning that year need to be transitioned onto the new system. But on the face of it I think you can probably just see how many of the 35 required years you have and/or can still purchase (at least to give you a feel for what to do).  Currently (because of the change in 2016) you can still buy years from 2007 (normally it is only the previous 6 years but the longer limit applies until 5 April 2023).  So there is a good chance you could get a max UK pension of, currently, £179.60 per week, or £9,339.20 per year.  If you can pay Class 2 Voluntary NIC to fill any gaps (as an expat it depends on whether you qualify) then it is a no-brainer as it costs about £160 per year to increase your pension by £266 per year in perpetuity.  If you have to pay Class 3 NIC, then the payback is about 3 years as it costs £800 to get the extra £266.

 

The topic has been discussed on here quite a lot but a good place to start is the UK Booklet NI 38 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/947544/NI38_12_20.pdf.  And to get a copy of your NI record from HMRC together with a pension forecast from DWP.  If you want to purchase missing years then you talk with DWP to establish which ones to buy to ensure you only buy what is needed, and then with HMRC to arrange actual payment.

 

Sorry this post got so long...

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2 minutes ago, GaryC said:

When we did all this, we had to provide, so far as possible, letters from various schools or other educational bodies

 

I did this - got a letter from the (new) headmaster of my old senior school written in German (he taught German).

His secretary had obviously typed his letter & he had added Umlauts in ink where appropriate.

Letter was accepted here in Germany without question.

 

I was also easily able to show that I had studied at Manchester University.

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5 minutes ago, HEM said:

I was also easily able to show that I had studied at Manchester University.

Good point.  One thing we did/were asked to do was to send copies of exam certificates to demonstrate that we had attended the relevant establishments, especially where letters could no longer be obtained because records had been destroyed or schools demolished etc

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IIRC when I came to Germany, I made an appointment with the RV and they contacted the DWP on my behalf to collect the data they needed. It was just a case of filling out a couple of forms. I can have a look in my files, see if I still have copies if you wish.

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@GaryC thank you so much for your explanation, I really appreciate you taking the time to write that post. 

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Just now, Heidi_DE said:

@GaryC thank you so much for your explanation, I really appreciate you taking the time to write that post. 

you're welcome

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16 minutes ago, French bean said:

IIRC when I came to Germany, I made an appointment with the RV and they contacted the DWP on my behalf to collect the data they needed. It was just a case of filling out a couple of forms. I can have a look in my files, see if I still have copies if you wish.

That would be great thanks! I can't imagine that the DWP would just hand this information over to the DRV without some sort of Ok from me would they?

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Yes they would because the DRV as pension authority would be asking DWP as pension authority for information about an identifiable person (DRV will probably ask for your NI number) under the EU Coordination Rules...

 

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2 hours ago, GaryC said:

Then you have the second question of what happens when you claim your pensions (you will get one from the UK and one from Germany) at the relevant state pension age (both are claimed via the country in which you are living).  The EU rules on coordination of social security systems (which continue to apply in perpetuity to UK folk living in Germany before the end of transition) require DRV (and from the UK state pension perspective the DWP) to undertake 2 calculations and to pay you the higher amount as a pension.

So does that mean that instead of having separate pension payments into your bank account, one from the UK and a second from Germany, you receive just one payment in Euros paid by the RV into your account?

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In my case the UK pension is transferred here every 4 weeks via Worldlink; the German pension st the end of every month per usual transfer.

 

One can (or could) elect to receive the UK pension once per quarter.

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30 minutes ago, French bean said:

So does that mean that instead of having separate pension payments into your bank account, one from the UK and a second from Germany, you receive just one payment in Euros paid by the RV into your account?

No, you literally get 2 pensions.  One paid from the DRV in Euros, which is paid by the Deutsche Post Renten Service and paid monthly; the other from DWP in pounds every 4 weeks.  You can ask either to pay in the other currency but you still carry the exchange costs and risks.  We have ours paid in local currency into a Euro/£ account respectively and move between currencies as and when we want or need to.

 

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If you submit anything to the DRV make sure you submit only pdf-documents. Recently, I was applying for a widow´s pension on behalf of my girlfriend´s friend (who is South African and has no command of German) and their software automatically deleted anything sent e.g. as a png document without notifying me. This gave rise to a lot of confusion and delay. The case worker told me that they have a new software which doesn´t allow them anymore to have a checklist of submitted/outstanding documents and she didn´t have the time to open each individual document I emailed to them manually to check whether it contained the information I claimed to have submitted. It was a nightmare dealing with them. The late husband died in April and it took until December for the pension to be approved (and another 3 weeks before payment arrived). The lady had to sell part of her furniture to be able to eat.

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18 hours ago, French bean said:

IIRC when I came to Germany, I made an appointment with the RV and they contacted the DWP on my behalf to collect the data they needed. It was just a case of filling out a couple of forms. I can have a look in my files, see if I still have copies if you wish.

Yeah but the DRV gives you credits for certain periods of education etc. that won't appear on your DWP record. These need to be proven using letters from the institutions concerned.

 

I have yet to do it but I did already get letters from my secondary school and university covering these periods.

 

Should do that this year.

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1 hour ago, murphaph said:

Yeah but the DRV gives you credits for certain periods of education etc. that won't appear on your DWP record. These need to be proven using letters from the institutions concerned.

 

I have yet to do it but I did already get letters from my secondary school and university covering these periods.

 

Should do that this year.

That is correct and I would suggest doing it sooner rather than later.  We got mine done about 25 years ago and realised about 5 or 6 years ago that we had not done the same for my wife.  2 or 3 schools simply could not help any more as the records no longer existed, nor did one of the schools!  And the local authority just shrugged their shoulders!  Luckily, and purely by chance, we found some old letters from those schools as we had in fact commenced the process when I was doing mine but then life "got in the way" and those papers got squirreled away in such a safe place we forgot about them.  Anyway, as I mentioned before, DRV were very good in trying to get to an answer that was acceptable to both sides.

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2 hours ago, murphaph said:

Yeah but the DRV gives you credits for certain periods of education etc. that won't appear on your DWP record. These need to be proven using letters from the institutions concerned.

 

I have yet to do it but I did already get letters from my secondary school and university covering these periods.

 

Should do that this year.

Looks like you're right, I've looked in my file and can't find anything that shows otherwise.

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Just to add a few questions in this thread. I’m a German citizen and have over 30 years of UK state pension contributions. Plus, two small UK private pensions. I have no DE income. I’ve had a couple of letters over the years from the DRV that confirm my zero DE contributions.

 

When I contacted the UK private pension companies last year, they advised that they have no issues with my pension funds continuing despite brexit. When it comes to payout in approximately 10 years, they will just transfer to my UK bank account,…or any other that I specify. 
 

Some years ago, the UK state pension service also said that they would pay out to a UK account monthly and it’s up to me if or where I transfer the funds. 
 

Is all of this still the same post Brexit or are there other/better ways to manage UK state pension/private pensions post Brexit….still 10 years before my retirement age. Many thanks in advance. 

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The only two thoughts that come to mind are first  that your UK bank may (because of Brexit) at some point say they are closing your account.  Some banks are and some are not doing that.  If that happens I guess you'll need to consider whether you then have your pensions paid out in Euros to a Euro account, or find a way to keep a UK or Sterling account.  If they pay out in Euros then you will probably take the exchange rate risk and costs but that will pretty much happen anyway if you remain in Euroland...

 

The second is whether you make up your UK pension to whatever is the max you can by paying voluntary NIC.  In simple terms you need 35 qualifying UK years for that.

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52 minutes ago, GaryC said:

The only two thoughts that come to mind are first  that your UK bank may (because of Brexit) at some point say they are closing your account.  Some banks are and some are not doing that.  If that happens I guess you'll need to consider whether you then have your pensions paid out in Euros to a Euro account, or find a way to keep a UK or Sterling account.  If they pay out in Euros then you will probably take the exchange rate risk and costs but that will pretty much happen anyway if you remain in Euroland...

 

The second is whether you make up your UK pension to whatever is the max you can by paying voluntary NIC.  In simple terms you need 35 qualifying UK years for that.

Thank you Gary. Regarding your first point, yes that could happen.  Re point two, I have been paying voluntary contributions and about a year off the 35 years.  I wondered if there were any mandatory changes since Brexit….yet!  Many thanks again. All the best.

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