Deutsche und englische Fassung Working in Germany and Australia

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1 Deutsche und englische Fassung Working in Germany and Australia > > > Effects of the Social Security Agreement Benefits which you can receive Your contact

2 Working without limitations You were working in Australia before or you are intending to emigrate to Australia? You are an Australian national working in Germany now? Perhaps you are wondering how your work in different countries will affect your pension in the future since there are different social security systems in Australia and Germany. Although that is correct, we can reassure you. Germany and Australia have concluded an agreement to absorb possible disadvantages for you. This brochure informs you about the details of the Social Security Agreement between Germany and Australia, its effects on German Law and the claims you have in Australia. Please feel free to contact us at any time in case of further questions. This brochure was prepared with great care. Nevertheless, we cannot assume liability for the correctness of the information with regard to foreign law. Please contact in each case the locally competent bodies to receive binding information on a point of law. Our brochure also offers you all information in English. The German version, however, shall be only legally binding for German Law. Imprint Editor: Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, Geschäftsbereich Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Kommunikation, Berlin, Ruhrstr. 2, postal address: Berlin, phone: 865-1, fax: , internet: pictures: Bildarchiv Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, printing: Bonifatius GmbH, Druck Buch Verlag, Paderborn, 1. edition (8/2007), no This brochure is part of the public relations work of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung (German pension insurance fund). This brochure is basically at no charge and not intended for sale.

3 Contents 4 Working down under 9 Voluntary insurance 11 Refunding of contributions 13 Rehabilitation a plus for your health 15 Retirement The advantages of the agreement 19 The adequate German pension for you 34 Retirement benefits for miners: A special benefit 36 Your German retirement benefits in Australia 39 Retirement benefits of the Australian pension insurance fund 45 Your health insurance and nursing insurance as a pensioner 47 Your contact in Germany and Australia 50 We give you information. We offer you advice. We are at your disposal.

4 Working down under The Agreement has been in operation since It only refers to pensions. It is applicable for you if you paid pension contributions in Germany and lived in Australia permanently. You can also profit from the agreement if you are a surviving dependant. The objective of the agreement is to provide you with a pension from both countries. Periods of residence do not accrue in Australia if you live there without a permanent right of residence. Therefore, it might be important for you to know whether you are still insured in Germany. The German pension insurance fund is at your disposal with regard to this matter. Please note: You are not paying contributions to the pension insurance fund in Australia. However, Australian periods of residence accrue if you lived in Australia with the permanent right of residence after the age of 16. Australian periods of residence do not accrue with a visa for a limited period, e. g. within the scope of an employment or holidays. Therefore, you will not be able to claim any Australian pension according to the agreement. Please have this examined by the Australian authority Centrelink in due time. 4

5 As a rule, you are no longer insured in Germany if you are working in Australia. There are, however, some exceptions. Assignment You remain insured with the German pension insurance, if> > > > your employer, based in Germany, assigns you to Australia within the scope of your employment in Germany, you work in Australia for a limited period of time from the beginning, you are still integrated into the German company and are subject to the instructions of the German company and you receive your total salary from your German employer. Please note: The assignment shall be limited in time in advance. There has not been any time limit so far, but there must be a clear duration. Germany and Australia concluded a supplementary agreement on February 09, 2007 which provides assignments for no more than 48 calendar months, presumably as from You may also be employed by your German employer for the work in Australia only or were previously assigned by the employer to another country. Example: Peter T. works in Cologne. His employer assigns him to Adelaide for 2 years. Peter T. remains insured in Germany with the pension insurance fund during the 5

6 2 years in Australia. He and his employer have to pay contributions in Germany according to the standard German contribution rates. His German health insurance, nursing insurance, unemployment insurance and accident insurance are also in continued existence. Your health insurance fund decides whether you are still insured in Germany. Your German employer shall file the application. Compulsory insurance upon application You are no longer insured in Germany if you are working in Australia for your employer, based in Germany, for a limited period of time from the beginning, but are integrated into the business there and not in Germany. As a German national, however, it is possible for you to insure yourself in Germany upon request. As the request only applies for the future, you and your employer respectively, shall file the application before your assignment to Australia. Example: Marcus R. works in Frankfurt. His employer assigns him to Melbourne for 6 months. He works at a branch office which also pays his salary during this period. He concluded a contract of employment with the branch office for this purpose. In order to remain insured in Germany, his German employer filed an application for a compulsory insurance before the commencement of the employment in Australia. Therefore, Marcus R. remains insured in Germany during the 6 months in Australia. His German employer has to pay contributions for the German pension insurance fund. Your (previous) German pension insurance authority decides about the application for a liability to insure. Only your German employer pays the contributions. 6

7 However, you can take an interest in the contributions within the scope of contractual agreements. Our advice: The liability to insure upon application only exists for the pension insurance fund. Therefore, please contact the respective authority to remain insured with the German health insurance, nursing insurance, unemployment insurance and accident insurance. Please also read our brochure Kindererziehung Ihr Plus für die Rente. Periods of bringing up of children You can count upbringing periods if you as a parent reside in Australia with your child. This is only possible, however, if you remain insured in Germany during the employment in Australia (e. g. due to an assignment). The insurance in Germany due to your employment in Australia must continue to exist during the upbringing or must have existed at least up to the child s birth. You are no longer insured in Germany if you are working in Australia for your employer, based in Germany, at a subsidiary/branch office for a limited period of time and are integrated into the business in Australia. You can also count upbringing periods of children in this case. The only requirement is that your contract of employment with your German employer continues to exist and that you still have rights and obligations under the contract. You can also count upbringing periods as an accompanying spouse if your spouse complies with the requirements. 7

8 Example: Gunnar S. works in Munich. His employer assigns him to Sydney for years. His wife Silke and his daughter Pauline, 2, are accompanying him. Gunnar S. has concluded an additional contract of employment with the branch office. His employer, however, can bring him back to Munich at any time. He provided in the contract with his employer not to render any job performance in Germany during the in Australia. In return, his employer pays him a small amount of fringe benefits for this period. The employment with the German employer continues to exist. Silke S. can still count upbringing periods for their daughter Pauline. 8

9 Voluntary insurance It can possibly make sense to be voluntarily insured in the German pension insurance fund. In case you do not have a permanent right of residence, periods of residence do not accrue in Australia and you are not insured in the German pension insurance fund furthermore, e.g. by virtue of an assignment, you can raise the number of your contributions with a voluntary insurance and thus increase your future German pension. You can basically always get yourself voluntarily insured when residing in Germany, independent of your nationality. As a German national residing abroad (e.g. in Australia) you can also pay voluntary contributions. You must have already paid contributions for the German pension insurance fund for 5 years to get yourself voluntarily insured in the German pension insurance fund if you are an Australian national and live in Australia. A contribution for the German pension insurance fund is sufficient if you are an Australian national and live within the European Union. You can determine the amount and number of your voluntary contributions, however, there are minimum and maximum contributions. In addition, you can only 9

10 For further information please read our brochure about voluntary insurance. pay voluntary contributions for the current year until March 31 of the following year. A voluntary insurance is basically not possible if you are already compulsorily insured in Germany or if you already receive full German retirement benefits. A voluntary insurance is also not possible if you are under the age of 16. Please note: It is often not possible to claim German benefits for reduction in earning capacity with voluntary contributions. As a rule, compulsory contributions are required for this purpose. We offer you advice in this matter. 10

11 Refunding of contributions As an Australian national who has worked in Germany for a while you might want to receive a refund of your contributions paid in Germany. As a rule, you as a German national are not entitled to receive a refund of your German contributions. However, a refunding of contributions is only possible if you as an Australian national have paid contributions in Germany for less than 5 years. Furthermore, there have to be at least 2 years since you were insured in Germany. Example: Marc J. worked in Germany for 3 years and paid pension contributions. He decides to return to Australia now. He can have his share in contributions refunded 2 years after expiration of his employment in Germany. You only receive a refund of your share in the contributions. The share of your German employer lapses. 11

12 12 Please note: If you receive a refund of your contributions you have no further claims for a pension in the future. Therefore, take advice of your social security insurance authority. You can find the addresses on page 51.

13 Rehabilitation a plus for your health Amongst others, the German pension insurance fund does not only pay pensions but also rehabilitation benefits. They are meant to prevent sickness, overcome disabilities and to prepare you for your everyday life and occupation. You can receive medical rehabilitation benefits if your working capacity is considerable disadvantaged or already reduced due to sickness or disability. These medical rehabilitation benefits can be carried out either out-patient or in-patient. For further information please read our brochure Mit Rehabilitation wieder fit für den Job. Your working capacity must be restored or considerably improved with a rehabilitation. Therefore, we initially offer you a rehabilitation before you can receive benefits for reduction of earning capacity, according to the principle rehabilitation before retirement. However, you must have paid contributions for a certain period of time (so-called minimum period of coverage). This is basically a period of 15 years. The period can also be 5 years if a reduction of the working capacity is already existent or can be expected. 13

14 Please note: Both your German contributions and your Australian periods of residence are included in the 5 and 15 years respectively. For further information about the Australian periods of residence please also read page 4. Nevertheless, if you do not have the minimum period of coverage, you can receive medical benefits as well if you have paid compulsory contributions for an insurable employment or self-employment for at least 6 calendar months during the last 2 years before your application. Please note: Rehabilitation benefits are only carried out at German institutions. 14

15 Retirement The advantages of the agreement To receive a pension, you have to comply with certain conditions. They vary according to the different types of pensions. Usually you have to be of a certain age and must have been insured or employed for a certain period. Finally, you have to file the application in time as the beginning of your pension is in accordance with this time limit. For further information about when Australian periods of residence do accrue, please read page 4. Your German periods of coverage and your Australian periods of residence can be taken into account by virtue of the Agreement. Therefore, you can complete the required number of years of coverage (so-called qualifying period) in both Germany and Australia and can receive a pension from both countries. Overlapping times, however, can only be taken into account once. Aggregation for the German pension Your German periods of coverage and your Australian periods of residence can be aggregated for the qualifying period if you have paid at least one German contribution. 15

16 Example: Please also read the chapters The adequate German pension for you and Retirement benefits of the Australian pension insurance fund. Hartmut M. emigrated to Australia in 1978 but returned to Germany in He had the right of permanent residence during his residence in Australia. Thereby, Australian periods of residence accrued. Hartmut M., now 63 years old, would like to retire in Germany. He has to complete the qualifying period of 35 years for this purpose. He reaches a period of 32 years with his German periods of coverage only. But in combination with his Australian periods of residence he reaches 46 years. As intended, Hartmut M. can receive his German retirement benefits at the age of 63. He will receive his Australian retirement benefits 2 years later due to the fact that a person can receive Australian retirement benefits at the age of 65 only. Appropriate documents are e.g. salary statements. You have to comply with so-called conditions in accordance with insurance law with some German pensions. This means that you have paid sufficient compulsory contributions for an insurable employment or selfemployment during certain periods (e.g. within 10 years). Your Australian periods of residence can also be taken into account for this purpose if you were employed or self-employed in Australia. You have to furnish prove by presenting appropriate documents. Aggregation for the Australian pension Only Australian residents can receive Australian pensions. Please note: You are an Australian resident if you live in Australia and have a permanent right of residence or if you are an Australian national. 16

17 However, if you live in Germany you are treated as equivalent to an Australian resident by virtue of the agreement. Therefore, you can also receive a pension from Australia, even if you do not currently live in Australia. However, a condition for you is that you once lived in Australia with the permanent right of residence or were an Australian national at that time. In addition, you must have been a resident in Australia for a certain minimum period in order to receive a pension from Australia. Your German contribution periods can be taken into account as periods as resident of Australia by virtue of the agreement. If you are currently no longer an Australian resident, the condition for you is that you have lived in Australia with a permanent right of residence for at least 12 months. In addition, 6 of the 12 months must have also been without interruptions. You can find the address on page 49. For further information about the time for application, please read page 32. Filing of the application The agreement also helps you to file the application. This means that you can also file your German application for a pension with the Australian institution Centrelink without failing to observe a time limit. In addition, the application for an Australian pension is considered as an application for a German pension and vice versa. For this purpose, you must state in your application for a German pension that you also have completed Australian periods of residence. This is also conversely applicable for your Australian application for a pension. Example: Horst N. emigrated to Australia in Now, at the age of 65, he files the application for his Australian pension with his local institution. He also states his German periods of coverage in the application. The application for an Australian pension is also considered as application for a German pension. Therefore, Horst N. does not fail to observe any time limit. 17

18 Calculation of the pension Australian periods of residence do not have any influence on the amount of your German pension. Your German pension is only calculated with your German contributions. For further information about the crediting of income, please also read page 39. The same is also applicable for an Australian pension. It is calculated with your Australian periods of residence. In addition, your own income and property are deducted from your Australian retirement benefits if they exceed certain allowances. Thereby, your German pension is considered as income. The income and property of your spouse or partner with whom you are living together as husband and wife is also taken into account. The agreement also helps you in this matter. If you live in Germany, only a part of your German pension is taken into account as income in Australia. This proportion is dependent on the duration of your Australian periods of residence: The less periods you have, the less is deducted from your Australian pension. A different calculation applies if you live in Australia. The German pension is deducted from the maximum possible Australian pension. Your other income and property is only taken into account afterwards. This calculation is only possible, however, if your periods of coverage as Australian national alone are insufficient for an Australian pension. Otherwise, your German pension is taken into account as a normal income. 18

19 The adequate German pension for you There are different types of pensions in Germany. The German pension insurance fund pays benefits for reduction in earning capacity, retirement benefits and widows and surviving dependants pensions. What type of pension is adequate for you and when can you receive these pensions? Benefits for reduction in earning capacity You can receive benefits for reduction in earning capacity if your ability to work is limited or if you are unable to work at all due to an illness or a disability for an unforeseeable period. In this case it depends on how long you are still able to work: If you can work from 3 to no more than 6 hours a day you receive benefits for a partial reduction in earning capacity. If you can work no more than 3 hours a day, you receive benefits for a complete reduction in earning capacity which are twice as much. For further information please also read the brochure Erwerbsminderungsrente: Das Netz für alle Fälle. If your earning capacity is partially reduced and you do not have a (part-time) job which corresponds to your remaining earning capacity, you receive benefits for a complete reduction in earning capacity due to the fact that the German labour market is no longer accessible for you. In order to receive benefits, you must complete the 5-year qualifying period and have paid compulsory contributions before the > > 19

20 reduction in earning capacity for at least 3 years in the last 5 years. The qualifying period of 5-years includes: contribution periods (compulsory or voluntary contributions), substitute qualifying periods (e. g. periods of political persecution in the GDR), periods of a pensions rights adjustment or a pension splitting and periods with premiums for an insignificant and insurance-exempted employment. > > > > Your German contributions can also be aggregated with your Australian periods of residence. The contribution period of 3-years must be a matter of compulsory contributions which you paid for an employment or a self-employment. Your Australian periods of residence when you were employed or self-employed are also taken into account. Sometimes, you need less contributions if your earning capacity is partially reduced due to an industrial accident in accordance with German law, an accident or an illness subsequent to a training. Our advice: The period with compulsory contributions of 3 years is not required if you already have completed the qualifying period of 5 years before 1984 and if you have legal periods of retirement benefits for all months since then. This also includes your Australian periods of residence. You initially receive benefits for reduction in earning capacity for a limited period of no more than 3 years. However, the benefits can be extended if the health 20

21 restrictions are still existent afterwards. You receive regular retirement benefits when you reach the standard age limit (currently 65 years). If you want to continue to work and you receive benefits for reduction in earning capacity, you are only permitted to earn amounts within certain limits. Foreign income and social security benefits are credited, too. Regular retirement benefits You receive regular retirement benefits in Germany at the age of 65. You must have paid contributions to the German pension insurance fund for at least 5 years in order to receive this benefit. For further information about deduction of retirement benefits, please also read page 22 and 23. Thereby, your German contributions are aggregated with your Australian periods of residence. As a regular old age pensioner, you are permitted to earn a bit extra without limits and are not subject to deductions. Against the background of the demographic development in Germany with a continuously rising life expectancy and declining birth rates, the progressive increase of the age limit to 67 years, for regular retirement benefits amongst others, was adopted in order to maintain the stability of the social security pension insurance fund. The increase is initially carried out starting in 2012 in 1-month steps and in 2024 in 2-months steps beginning with the year of birth This results in a regular age limit of 67 for insured with the year of birth Increase of the age limit to 67 Insured Increase of the age Year of birth by months of years by months

22 Insured Increase of the age Year of birth by months of years by months An increase of the age of entry for retirement benefits is also carried out for retirement benefits before reaching the age of 65 by virtue of the retirement benefits at the age of 67. If you want to know whether and to which extent you are affected by this change of law, please read our brochure Rente mit 67 was ändert sich für mich? Early retirement benefits You can receive retirement benefits in Germany before the age of 65. However, you have to expect a sustained deduction of your retirement benefits. You have to accept a deduction if you want to receive retirement benefits before the age of 63 with regard to retirement benefits for severely disabled persons. Your retirement benefits will be reduced by 0.3 percent for each month you claim your early retirement benefits before reaching the age of 65 and 63 respectively. 22

23 Example: Stefanie K. turns 60 on July 27, She wants to claim her early retirement benefits for women 5 years in advance, i.e. on August 1, The deduction of her retirement benefits is 18 percent (60 months x 0.3 percent). You can determine the commencement of your retirement benefits and thus can determine the amount of the deduction for yourself. Please consider that it is not possible to change to another type of retirement benefits (with lower deductions) later once you chose a certain type of retirement benefits. This is a final decision. Our advice: Please contact your social security insurance authority for advice. This is also important due to the fact that there might be exemptions, so-called protection of confidence regulations. For further information about which periods are eligible as well, please read page 20 (qualifying period of 5 years). Retirement benefits for long-standing insured You can receive retirement benefits for long-standing insured without deductions, if you are 65 years old and have completed the qualifying period of 35 years. Retirement benefits for particularly long-standing insured are available in addition as of Your German periods countable towards eligibility for a pension and periods to be considered due to parenting are counted among the 35 years. 23

24 Our advice: Periods countable towards eligibility for a pension are periods when you were ill, pregnant or unemployed. Periods of education and studies can also be periods countable towards eligibility for a pension. Periods to be considered due to parenting are periods of bringing up of children. Your German periods can also be aggregated with your Australian periods of residence in order to reach 35 years. You can already receive retirement benefits when you turn 63. However, the retirement benefits are then reduced by a deduction from the retirement benefits of 7.2 percent (24 months x 0.3 per cent). If you want to continue to work and you receive retirement benefits, you are only permitted to earn amounts within certain limits. Foreign income is credited, too. For detailed information about all retirement benefits please read our brochure Die richtige Altersrente für Sie. Please note: The age limit for early retirement benefits is progressively reduced from having reached the age of 63 to having reached the age of 62 for the year of birth 1947 and older. However, this only applies if you have agreed upon partial retirement work before January 01, 2007 as defined by the German partial retirement work law. Retirement benefits for severely disabled people You can receive disability benefits at the age of 63 without any deductions, if your physical fitness is limited due to an illness or a disability. However, for this purpose you must 24

25 > > complete the qualifying period of 35 years and are certified in Germany as severely disabled person. Please read page 20 for further information. (Qualifying period of 5 years). Your German periods of coverage are not the only periods counted among the 35 years. Your Australian periods of residence can also be added to the 35 years. Please note: You can only be certified as severely disabled person if your residence or job is in Germany. A disability certified in Australia is not equal to a severe disability certified in Germany. For further information please read our brochure Reha und Rente für schwerbehinderte Menschen. If you were born before 1951 you do not have to be severely disabled. You can also claim retirement benefits for severely disabled people if you can no longer follow a regular gainful employment by virtue of health reasons (disability) or your physical fitness decreased by more than half of the physical fitness of a healthy person who can compared with you (occupational disability). > > If you are a disabled person in Australia, it might be possible for you to fulfil occupational invalidity or incapacity in Germany as well. However, this does not necessarily have to be the case. For this purpose you will have to file an application for retirement. You can enter retirement at the age of 60. However it will be reduced by a deduction of 10.8 percent (0.3 percent x 36 months). If you were born after 1951 the age limit for retirement benefits for severely disabled people without deductions is progressively increased from having reached the age of 63 to having reached the age of 65 years. The minimum age limit when you can receive retirement benefits at the earliest is increased from 60 years to 62 years at the same time. 25

26 If you want to continue to work and you receive retirement benefits, you are only permitted to earn amounts within certain limits. Retirement benefits due to unemployment or according to partial retirement work You can receive retirement benefits due to unemployment or according to partial retirement work without deductions at the age of 65. However, for this purpose you must were born before January 01, 1952, have been already unemployed for 1 year or have practised partial retirement work for 2 years in Germany upon completion of the age of 58 and 6 months, complete the qualifying period of 15 years and have paid compulsory contributions before the beginning of your retirement benefits for at least 8 years in the last 10 years. > > > > The contribution period of 8-years must be a matter of compulsory contributions which you paid for an employment or a self-employment. Your Australian periods of residence when you were employed or self-employed are also taken into account. Your German contributions are aggregated with your Australian periods of residence, too. The periods mentioned on page 20 are also credited to the qualifying period of 15 years. 26

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