Both Germany and the Netherlands have legal old-age pension schemes. However, this is regulated differently in the two countries. The amount of your old-age benefit depends on the duration of your insurance. If you have accrued insurance periods in the Netherlands and in Germany, you will get a old-age pension from both countries, provided you meet all the requirements.

You can only get an old-age pension if you have also accrued rights. Insurance periods are periods of time that count towards the accrual of your old-age benefit. As a rule, every year in which you work and pay contributions counts. In addition, periods in which you did not pay contributions may also be counted. Periods of voluntary insurance are also insurance periods.

Legal and compulsory insurance

In Germany, employees and their peers are compulsorily insured under the German Pension Insurance Scheme (Deutsche Rentenversicherung). This insurance provides benefits in the event of old age, reduced earning capacity and death. It is a legal compulsory insurance for employees.

Raising the age limit

In Germany, the age limit for the standard old-age pension will be gradually raised from 65 to 67 years starting in 2012. If you were born after 1946, your old-age pension will not start at the age of 65, but between the ages of 65 and 67, depending on your birth year. Exceptions apply to workers who have been insured for at least 45 years on the basis of gainful employment. You can retire at 65 without having your pension reduced. Raising the age limit to 67 also affects the other (early) old-age pensions.

Survivor benefit

Your partner may receive a German survivor’s pension. The German pension insurance (DRV) pays the survivor’s pension. The age of your partner does not matter. It is true that older partners get more pension than younger ones. Do you have children under 18? If so, they will receive a half-orphan’s pension until they turn 18. If your children are enrolled in education, the half-orphan’s pension will continue to be paid until they reach the age of 27. The same applies if a child is disabled.

Reduced earning capacity pension

After 78 weeks of illness, your sickness allowance ends and the German pension insurance decides whether you will receive a reduced earning capacity pension. You must have previously worked for at least five years in Germany or in other EU member states and be incapacitated for work according to German law. The German pension is calculated for the years you worked in Germany. Did you also work in the Netherlands before that? If so, you may be entitled to a Dutch benefit. This benefit will only be granted for the years in which you worked in the Netherlands and only if you are also incapacitated for work under Dutch rules.

The SVB’s Bureau voor Duitse Zaken has issued a detailed booklet about your rights in the Netherlands and Germany if you are incapacitated for work. You can download this brochure here.