Social security rights and obligations in the Union including those related to getting pensions

Information about Rights & Duties of #Disability

Information about Rights & Duties

Social security rights and obligations in the Union including those related to getting pensions

State social insurance

The social security system in Germany provides safeguards against the main risks in life. If you are employed in Germany in a job where social security contributions are mandatory, you will usually be covered by the following types of statutory insurance:

A fixed percentage of your income will be deducted to pay for your social insurance cover. You will bear some of the costs, and the rest will be borne by your employer. The costs are deducted straight from your salary.

If you are in salaried employment in Germany, it will usually be mandatory for you to be insured under the German social insurance system.

Please note: there are exceptions to this rule for certain types of work, for example in the case of posted workersOpens in new window , cross-border workersOpens in new window , seasonal workersOpens in new window and individuals working in multiple EU countries.

Your employer is responsible for registering you in the social security system . This means that they must send the following information to the responsible health insurance institute:

  • your name
  • your address
  • your insurance number
  • your nationality
  • your wage and a description of your role

This registration ensures that your employer deducts the necessary social security contributions. You must provide your employer with all the information required in order to allow them to meet their obligations. This means you have a duty to cooperate .

Please note: your employer must provide you with a copy of the information that has been registered. In the event of an infringement of the registration obligationsOpens in new window ,Opens in new window both you and your employer may be subject to a penalty.

In certain sectors, employers must register their employees before they start work. This applies to the following sectors:

  • construction
  • hospitality and accommodation
  • freight forwarding
  • transportation and related logistics
  • commercial cleaning
  • meat processing
  • prostitution
  • security

This means that you will also need to provide the necessary information in accordance with your duty to cooperate before you start work. You must always carry your ID card in case there is an inspection.

For more information about the registration and contribution procedure, visit the German pension insuranceOpens in new window website. The health insurance institutes also provide information on their websites.

Tip: after you have been registered in the social security system you will receive a social security number which will stay with you for the rest of your life. This social security number is used to compile and supply the information needed to calculate your pension, so make sure you hold on to it.

As an employee, it is mandatory for you to be registered for statutory pension insurance in most cases.

Tip: if you are in marginal employment (mini-job), you can applyOpens in new window for an exemption from the pension insurance obligation.

Pension insurance provides a number of benefits:

  • Pensions offer financial security in old age once you are no longer working to earn an income. In order to draw an old-age pension, you must have reached a certain age and have worked a certain number of pensionable periods.
  • Pension insurance also offers support in the event of a reduction in earning capacity while you are still working, i.e. if you are no longer able to work or can only work part-time due to an illness or disability. In this case you will either receive rehabilitation benefits to restore your earning capacity or, in the event that your state of health means that you will not be able to return to work fully or at all in the foreseeable future, a reduced earning capacity pension.
  • Pension insurance also provides for survivor's pensions . These are pensions paid to the widow/widower and orphaned children of an insured person when they die.

If you were born in or before 1946, you must be 65 in order to draw your standard old-age pension. For those who were born later, the retirement age is gradually being increased to 67 . As of 2029, this retirement age will apply to all individuals born after 1964. However, statutory pension insurance also provides for other old-age pensions which allow individuals to retire early as a result of certain personal circumstances, for example if they have a severe disability and/or have paid statutory pension insurance contributions for many years.

One of the basic principles of pension insurance is that the longer and more often you pay contributions, and the higher these contributions are, the greater your future pension will be. In addition to the periods during which contributions were deducted from your employment income, periods in which you were raising children or caring for relatives may also be taken into account. In addition, 'contribution-free periods' apply in certain cases, for example during periods of study.

Insurance periods completed in other countries

If you have worked in other EU countries or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, the insurance periods completed in these countries will be taken into account when calculating qualifying periods. However, each of these countries will pay you a separate pension as soon as you reach retirement age.

Please note: your state pension will be lower than the income you earned when you were working. If you want to maintain your standard of living in old age, you should consider registering with supplementary company and/or private pension schemes.

If you have worked in several EU countries, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, every country in which you have completed an insurance period of more than one year will pay you a separate pension once you reach the retirement age applicable in the country in question. The amount of the pension you receive will depend on the amount of insurance periods you have completed there. When calculating pension entitlements, all of the insurance periods completed in the relevant countries will be taken into account. You will receive a document summarising the calculations for each of the countries (form P1). This form will be completed by the pension provider you sent your pension claim to.

Pension claim

You must make your pension claim in the country in which you are living, unless you have never worked there. In that case, you should make the claim in the country in which you were last insured. When you claim a pension in one country, this claim will apply in all of the countries in which you have completed insurance periods.

You will receive your pension regardless of which country you are currently living in.

Responsible for the content
Office for the Equal Treatment of EU Workers

Last update or date of publication
01.02.2020