- Applying for old age pension / surviving dependants' pension
- Competent pension authority
- Life certificates for recipients of German old age pensions
- Delayed payment, change of address and/or bank account
- Information on the taxation of German pensions for individuals living outside Germany
- Refund of mandatory contributions to the German pension fund
- Death of a pensioner
- Australian-German Welfare Society Sydney (AGWS)
- FAQ regarding the statutory pension - frequently asked questions
Applying for old age pension / surviving dependants' pension
Pensions from the German Social Security Insurance are only paid upon application and when all conditions are fulfilled (e.g. contributions for a minimal insurance period, age limit).
Germany and Australia have concluded two agreements to absorb possible disadvantages for people who have lived and worked in Australia and Germany.
You will find information on the details of the Social Security Agreements between Germany and Australia, their effects on German law and the rights and entitlements you have in Australia in the following brochure:
You can download application forms from the website of the German Pension Authority.
The completed forms can be submitted directly to the competent German pension authority, to any Centrelink office or
Department of Human Services
Centrelink International Services
PO Box 7809
Canberra BC ACT 2610
Phone.: 0800 1802 482
Fax: +61 3 6222 2799
which will forward them to the competent German pension authority.
Application processing takes at least up to six months. If you want to enquire about the current status of your application, please contact the pension authority.
The German Foreign Missions can only provide general information and are not a branch of the German pension authority abroad. Specific questions with respect to your pension or the amount of your pension can only be answered by the experts of the German pension authority.
The Australian German Welfare Society in Sydney also offers a service with costs to assist in applying for (or lodging) a German pension
Competent pension authority
Your competent insurance institution is basically the institution where you paid your German contributions to.
If you paid your last German contribution to a regional office of Deutsche Rentenversicherung (the former Landesversicherungsanstalten) your competent institution is
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Oldenburg-Bremen
Geschäftsstelle Bremen – Sachbereich 3.480
Phone: +49 (0)421 3407-0
Fax: +49 (0)421 3407-257
Website German-Australian Liaison office
If you have ever paid a contribution to Deutsche Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See (the former federal Miners insurance, railway insurance institutions, and social security authority for seamen) your contact is:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See
Regionaldirektion Nord – Standort Hamburg
Phone: +49 (0)40 303 88-0
Fax: +49 (0)40 303 88-1399
If you paid your last German contribution to Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (German federal pension insurance fund, the former Bundesversicherungsanstalt) please contact:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund
Phone: +49 (0)30 865-0
Fax: +49 (0)30 865-27240
If you have not paid any German contributions yet, please contact Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund. They will determine your competent Institution.
Life certificates for recipients of German old age pensions
Once every year you are requested by your German pension authority to submit a life certificate. If you do not present the certificate in time, your pension payments may be suspended. It is therefore important that you fill in the life certificate form completely and always remember to sign it.
Your signature on the life certificate needs to be certified. If the pensioner is unable to sign it, the holder of a valid power of attorney can sign instead. Please make sure to provide the pension authority with a copy of the relevant power of attorney.
The authorities that are authorized to certify your signature are listed on the form. These are, for example:
- your local Centrelink branch
- your bank manager
- hospital, Red Cross
- Notary Public
- the pastor of your congregation
Any other verification, e.g. by a post office, GP or pharmacist, will not be recognised!
Should you not receive your pension payments from the Deutsche Rentenversicherung DRV (German Federal Pension Fund) but from a different insurance carrier, please pay close attention to the information regarding the verification of your life certificate in the accompanying letter. In these exceptional cases a certification by the competent German mission may be requested. If this is the case, it will be clearly indicated on the form.
In these exceptional cases, your signature can also be certified directly at the German missions (Embassy, Consulate General or Honorary Consul) in Australia. Please book an appointment for this consular service. You will have to present yourself in person with a valid proof of identity and citizenship (e.g. a passport).
If you are unable to sign the life certificate yourself because of illness, you need to ask your doctor to confirm this on the life certificate form.
If you are no longer in possession of a valid photo ID-document (e.g. passport, driver's licence), you can usually obtain a photo card from the competent Australian authorities (e.g. Services NSW). The German pension authorities accept this document as sufficient proof of ID.
You then have to send the completed and confirmed life certificate directly to the address stated on the form. Usually this is:
Deutsche Post AG
NL Renten Service
Fax: +49 69 6530 1510 865
If you are entitled to pension payments from a German pension or accident insurance provider and live abroad, you will usually receive the life certificate form by the end of July. You will find a return envelope for your completed and certified life certificate enclosed in this letter.
If you have not received anything from the pension provider by mid-August, you can download the life certificate form at rentenservice.de
The form is available in 26 languages.
If you have any questions, please also contact your pension authority directly.
Delayed payment, change of address and/or bank account
If your pension payment is delayed, or your address or bank information has changed please contact the handling partner NL-Renten Service of Deutsche Post AG in writing:
Deutsche Post AG
Renten Service Branch
Be sure to include your insurance policy number and also indicate as precisely as possible the month for which your pension was not paid.
In urgent cases, you can also contact them by phone: +49-221-5692-777
If your pension is not paid by NL Renten Service, please contact your pension insurance directly.
Information on the taxation of German pensions for individuals living outside Germany
Since 2005, new rules have applied to the taxation of pensions. Pensioners who are resident abroad are also affected by this. Neubrandenburg Tax Office is responsible for individuals whose place of residence or habitual abode is not in Germany, but who receive pension payments from Germany.
Finanzamt Neubrandenburg (RiA)
Tel. +49 395 44222 – 47000
Fax. + 49 395 44222 – 47100
The tax office has launched a website which explains in detail who is taxable, what is taxable and other questions. The website is available in English.
Please be advised that the Australian missions in Australia cannot answer any tax-related questions.
Refund of mandatory contributions to the German pension fund
If you have paid mandatory contributions to the German pension fund for less than 5 years altogether and currently live outside the EU, you may be able to have your pension contributions refunded.
Non-EU citizens can apply for a refund if more than 24 months have passed since their last contribution.
German citizens and citizens of another EU-country may be able to claim a refund after having reached the German retirement age.
If you have paid contributions for 5 years or more, you will not be able to claim a refund. Instead, you will be able to apply for and receive a monthly pension upon reaching the German retirement age.
In order to claim a refund, please fill out, sign and submit the following documentation to your German pension authority:
- Form “Antrag auf Beitragserstattung” (Application for a Pension Contribution Refund, form V0901)
The confirmation of personal information (point 12 on the form) can be obtained by an official Australian agency (e. g. Centrelink offices, notary publics, banks, hospitals, the Red Cross). A further certification by the German missions in Australia is not necessary.
Please be aware that the refund of contributions may have consequences for a possible residence permit in Germany. If applicable to you, please ask for further advice from the competent immigration authority (Ausländerbehörde) in Germany.
Furthermore the refund might influence your eligibility for entitlement to a later statutory Australian pension. We therefore recommend to get advice from Centrelink before applying for the refund.
The refund might also have effects on your pension entitlements in other EU countries or countries with which Germany has a social security agreement.
Death of a pensioner
When a beneficiary passes away the next of kin or executor of the estate must inform the competent pension authority without delay. The authority will then discontinue the payments.
The following information/documents are required by the German pension authority:
- death certificate of the beneficiary (if possible as original or certified copy)
- date of birth
- name and file number of the Pension Authority
- name and contact details of the executor of the estate.
If the deceased received the payment by the NL Renten Service through the Postbank, which is most likely the case, please inform them in writing:
Deutsche Post AG
Renten Service Branch
The pension will still be paid for the month in which the beneficiary passed away. In most cases the pension payment is made at the beginning of the month/end of the previous month. Pension payments that are made after this time must be paid back to the pension authority.
Please note that even after notification of the death, it can still take several weeks until payments are stopped due to banking procedures. As many pensions are paid at the beginning of a month, overpayments occur regularly. The pension authority tries to retrieve the money from the account to which the pension was paid directly, or contacts the next of kin. If the pension was paid by cheque, you should not cash the cheques to which the pensioner was not entitled.
To apply for a widow's/widower's pension, please contact the insurance provider most recently responsible for payment of the pension.
Australian-German Welfare Society Sydney (AGWS)
The AGWS aims to support Australians with a German-speaking background. It organises regular meetings and outings to create networks and friendships and to fight loneliness and isolation. Visits of those not able to join are also organised by the AGWS. Furthermore, the AGWS certifies life certificates for German pension authorities and offers assistance in applying for a German pension (against charges).
(link to the pension service of the German Post)