FAQ pension scheme
Foreigners may join the German pension scheme on a voluntary basis provided Germany is their habitual abode. In order to be eligible for a pension, at least 60 monthly instalments have to be accrued. The pension may be drawn at home at a later stage. In addition, social security agreements concluded with Germany may in some cases allow for rights accrued in Germany to be taken into account in calculating the pension entitlement in one's own country.
I was a researcher in Germany, working on the basis of a fellowship. Subsequently, I worked in France and now I am employed in Poland. I'm currently in the process of collating the pension rights I have accrued and need to know how much pension I am entitled to in Germany. Does the time spent as a fellow count?
The German statutory pension scheme only applies to people who are in employment. On principle, anyone living on a fellowship is not subject to the German statutory pension scheme. However, if contributions have been paid to the German pension scheme, for example if a fellow has been employed or paid voluntary contributions, citizens of the EU are eligible to have all the contributions recognised that have been paid within the EU. Depending on the duration of contributions, periods during which rights have been accrued will either be taken into account in calculating your pension in your own country or you will receive various proportions of your pension entitlement from different EU states.
In the case of citizens of third countries, it depends whether a social security agreement has been concluded between Germany and your own country on mutual recognition of accrued rights. If there is no such social security agreement, you are only eligible for a German pension if contributions have been paid to the German pension scheme for at least 60 months. For shorter periods it may be worth applying to have your contributions refunded.
Having paid 144 monthly contributions you are eligible for a German pension if you have reached pension age. The size of the pension is calculated individually during the authorisation process. Apart from the amount and number of monthly contributions made, factors which may affect the size of the pension include periods which contribute to working periods, though no contributions were paid during them, such as education, child-rearing or unemployment.
Disclaimer: All the FAQs and the information on which the answers are based are carefully monitored. However, we cannot assume any responsibility for contents. All the contents are of a general nature and cannot deal conclusively with every individual case. They are not necessarily complete, comprehensive or completely up to date. They neither constitute legal advice nor legally-binding information and cannot be a substitute for expert advice.