Refund of German Pension Contributions

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01.12.2017 - Article

Under certain conditions, pension contributions can be reimbursed. The following types of refund of contributions may be made.

Refund of contributions to insured persons, who

  • are not obligated to pay compulsory contributions and are not entitled to make voluntary contributions.
  • have reached pensionable age (currently 65 years old) and who have not completed the general qualifying period of 5 years.

Refund of contributions to widows, widowers or orphans, if

  • there is no entitlement to a survivor’s pension because the general qualifying period of 5 years has not been completed.

Submission of application

You must submit the appropriate application if you wish to have contributions refunded. Applications for refunds of contributions will apply to all contributions made and cannot be restricted to a specific period of time or to particular contributions.

What contributions will be refunded?

A refund of contributions is only possible for contributions paid

  • in the Federal territory for the time after June 20,1948
  • in Berlin (West) for the time after June 24,1948
  • in Saarland for the time after November 19,1947
  • in the acceding territory (following German Reunification) for the time after June 30,1990.

Compulsory and voluntary contributions will be repaid to half of the original amount, top-up insurance contributions will be repaid in full.Contributions paid to the miners’ pension insurance are refunded in the amount paid by the employee.

Refunds will not be made in respect of certain contributions, including the following,

  • contributions from which a standard benefit, such as rehabilitation, was approved,
  • contributions paid by the Federal Government in respect of persons undertaking military service or alternative civilian service,
  • contributions paid by the Federal Employment Agency during (a) period(s) of unemployment,

Refund of contributions upon relocating abroad

A refund of contributions, as a rule, cannot be made in favour of Germans because even when resident abroad they are entitled to arrange voluntary insurance provisions.

The implications for EU, EEA, Swiss nationals and nationals from Contracting States are regulated by the provisions of Community law or the regulations of the particular Agreement.

It is not possible to make refunds to nationals of other states who are domiciled in a EU Member State because by residing in the particular EU Member State they are entitled to make voluntary contributions to social insurance in Germany. In case of habitual residence abroad outside the EU these insured persons are in principle entitled to receive a refund of their contributions after the completion of a waiting period of 24 months following their departure from Germany.

Legal consequences

The refund of contributions extinguishes any erstwhile established rights, such as the right to a pension. You should therefore give careful thought to whether or not you wish to apply for a refund of those contributions.

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