Every nation has a different social security system, whereby every worker of a nation is subjected to some obligatory or voluntary social contributions to secure retired period of one’s life. The globalizations has increased the mobility of workers in different nations. In-order to dissolve the disadvantages for mobile workers in double payment of social security contributions, different nations have signed social security agreements and so did the Germany.
Contracting nations are those countries where the European Community provisions for the Social Security do not apply and have concluded social security agreements with Germany. According to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Agency the following countries have concluded the agreements with the Germany - Australia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Canada/Quebec, Chile, Croatia, Israel, Japan, Macedonia, Montenegro, Morocco, Serbia, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey and United States. China has also concluded a Posting of Workers Agreement. And recently India has also concluded Social Security Agreement which has already come into force.
What is a Social Security Agreement? The Social Security Agreement’s one important advantage is that if you satisfy the requirements of the minimum insurance period, Germany and your nation’s insurance periods are added together. The agreement specifies to which state you should pay your contributions when working in Germany and your nation.
To whom does the Agreement Apply? Many of the provisions of the agreements are applicable to you and to the nation of your permanent residence. It does provide some special provisions for the citizens of Germany and the agreed nation.
What does Social Security Agreement specify?
- Compulsory Insurance Obligation is defined by the state in which you are working. If you are employed in Germany, then you are subjected to Germany’s mandatory insurances irrespective of your nationality.
- Posting: If you are employed by your state and posted to work in Germany for a limited period not more than 60 months called Posting Period, then you are subjected to the compulsory insurances of your state and you are exempted from Germany’s compulsory Insurance Obligations. The exceptions to the limited posting period and some other exceptions to the agreed terms are subjected to agreement of German authorities upon the request filed by the employer and the employee. The Posting does apply to the self-employed people for a limited period. The same rule of Posting applies to those who are employed in Germany and work in the Contracting nations.
- Count of Posting Period: The Posting period in the contracting nation does count to your compulsory pension insurance i.e, if you are employed in your state and you are subjected to the compulsory insurance of your state and you are posted to Germany, then your posting period in Germany is counted towards your compulsory pension period in your state.
- Refund of Pension Contributions: If you are not a German national and if you were employed in Germany and paid for Pension contributions in Germany and decided to leave Germany forever, you can claim for the refund of Pension Contributions under the following circumstance
- you are no longer registered in the German pension system and you are not interested or not in a position to make voluntary contributions and 24 months have passed since you have terminated the registration.
- Basic Pension Requirements, benefits of Agreement:
Since the pension regulations vary from country to country and so does the pension age ranging from 60-67 in different countries, agreement helps you in benefiting from whatever the pension contributions you made either in your state or in Germany and if you do not fulfil the conditions in one country, the periods in another country shall be considered to make sure you indeed receive Pension.
The minimum insurance periods also known as Qualifying periods can be 5, 15 and 35 years. For all these periods, the insurance periods from your state are also calculated.
The Pension Amount: The agreement just helps in calculating the pension periods and meet the minimum pension requirements. The amounts of Pension you receive in Germany are solely on the basis of your German insurance periods. You need to claim separately for your state insurances and you claim those even thou you live in Germany or vice versa.
The point of contact for all of your queries regarding your insurances and entitlements in Germany are as follows:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund: http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/
More detailed info in English at: http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/nn_97000/SharedDocs/en/Inhalt/06__formulare__info__broschueren/broschueren__friedemann.html