Old age / surviving dependants' pension

Foto eines älteren Ehepaares beim Spaziergang

Älteres Ehepaar beim Spaziergang, © colourbox.com


Old age pensions for people who have worked in Germany are not paid and administered by the German missions, but by different German pension authorities.
Should you require information on your old age pension, please contact the German pension authority directly.

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:

Working in Germany and Australia

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
Internet http://www.humanservices.gov.au

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
Postfach 103703
28037 Bremen
Phone: +49 (0)421 3407-0
Fax: +49 (0)421 3407-257
E-Mail: australien@drv-oldenburg-bremen.de
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
20404 Hamburg
Phone: +49 (0)40 303 88-0
Fax: +49 (0)40 303 88-1399
E-Mail: hamburg@kbs.de

If you paid your last German contribution to Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (German federal pension insurance fund, the former Bundesversicherungsanstalt) please contact:

Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund
Dezernat 5005
10704 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0)30 865-0
Fax: +49 (0)30 865-27240
E-Mail: drv@drv-bund.de

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

If you are entitled to a German pension payment from the statutory pension or statutory accident insurance, you will be asked to submit a life certificate once a year under certain conditions. This is regularly done together with the notification of adjustment of your pension amount.

If you receive a pension adjustment notification without a life certificate form and an offer of digital proof of life, you do not need to do anything else!

The background to this is that the competent authorities in Germany and the Australian authorities have agreed to exchange data, which means that the annual submission of a life certificate is generally unnecessary.

However, if you receive the life certificate form and the offer of digital proof of life, you have the option of indicating your Customer Reference Number (CRN) on the life certificate in part A1 in order to participate in the future data exchange between the German and Australian authorities. You will then no longer receive an annual life certificate form.

In addition, Deutsche Rentenversicherung can inform Services Australia about the amount of your German pension on request.

Regardless of this, it is assumed that you have already informed Services Australia of your German pension entitlement and its amount, as required by Australian social security law.

You can also find more information on the life certificate at: Home page Life Certificate (deutschepost.de)

For persons who do not participate in the data exchange (e.g. the person entitled to a pension cannot be assigned in the data exchange) and for very old persons aged 95 and over, a life certificate is still required, either with the form or by digital proof of life. You will receive the documents by mail with the pension adjustment notification.

You can also find more information on digital proof of life at: Digital proof of life statutory pension (deutschepost.de)

Please note that you can also visit authorities other than a German mission abroad to confirm your life certificate.

You can also visit the Honorary Consuls of the Federal Republic of Germany and the following authorities at your place of residence:

  • all authorities (e.g. police, municipal authorities),
  • pension insurance providers (local Centrelink branch),
  • your bank manager,
  • the pastor of your congregation,
  • hospital, Red Cross,
  • Notary Public

Any other verification, e.g. by a post office, GP or pharmacist, will not be recognised!

To obtain a life certificate for submission to the German pension insurance or to Renten Service, please contact the German representations in Australia in person during visiting hours. Please book an appointment for your visit via the following link in the section “Consular service”.

You must appear in person. Please bring a valid official identification document with photo (passport, identity card). If you are unable to appear in person for health reasons, a person you trust can do this for you. In this case, a current medical certificate (not older than 48 hours) is required on the back of the life certificate in part C1.

The issuance of a life certificate for pension purposes is free of charge (exceptions: company pensions, supplementary pensions, e.g. from private pension insurance or foreign pensions: there is a ready-made form for this, the fee is 34.10 EUR).

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
04078 Leipzig

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
13496 Berlin

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)
Postfach 110140
17041 Neubrandenburg
Tel. +49 395 44222 – 47000
Fax. + 49 395 44222 – 47100
E-Mail: ria@finanzamt-neubrandenburg.de
Webseite: www.finanzamt-neubrandenburg.

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.

Further information:

German-Australian double taxation Agreement

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.

Important information:

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
13496 Berlin

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).

Website of the Australian-German Welfare Society Sydney

FAQ regarding the statutory pension - frequently asked questions

(link to the pension service of the German Post)

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