It is very simple to check if you are eligible for a pension refund.

You can check it within a few seconds. 

This is the short checklist:

  1. Non-EU citizen
  2. Residence outside EU
  3. Last contributions paid 2 years ago

If you answered the three questions with yes three times, then you already have a very good chance of receiving your German pension contribution refund.

The next important point we need to check is whether you are a citizen of an agreement state. There are some agreement states that have a social security agreement with the German state. This agreement regulates the pension payments of citizens of these states in case they have worked in the other country. With the employment in the agreement state the expat acquires pension rights which are regulated in the agreement.

The following states have a social security agreement with the German state: 

Albania, Australia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, China, India, Israel, Japan, Morocco, Philippines, Serbia, Tunisia, Uruguay, USA, Canada, South Korea, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldava.

What does that mean for you?

  • If you have been employed in Germany more than 60 months you are not entitled to get a refund of your own paid pension contributions from German Pension Insurance.
  • If you haven been employed less than 60 months you are entitled for a refund. 

We call this the 60-month threshold. For example, if you are a U.S. citizen and worked 59 months in Germany, you are entitled to a refund. However, don’t forget the above condition. You must live outside the EU and your last payment must be 2 years ago. 

If you work just one month longer, you will not be eligible for a refund and will have to wait until you reach retirement age, which is currently 67.

What if you meet all the requirements but currently live in the UK? Due to the Brexit, the UK is no longer an EU state.

However, this has no influence as of today. Currently, the UK is still treated as an EU state in this context. Former expats who have worked in Germany are still not entitled to a contribution refund, even if they meet all other requirements.

Summary: If you are a non-EU citizen, reside outside the EU, your last German pension contributions were paid 2 years ago, you are a citizen of a non-agreement state, or you are a citizen of an agreement state with less than 60 months of insurance, you can start your Pensioncheck now.

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