When working in Germany as an employee, you pay 9,3 % of your gross income each month into the German state pension scheme. But only after you have paid contributions for at least 5 years are you actually entitled to a state-funded pension. We show you what you should do if you do not meet this minimum requirement. Only in a few cases are you eligible for a refund. For many, the option to meet the minimum conditions is much more interesting.
The key points
If you are not eligible for a pension and are not expected to reach the minimum contribution period of 5 years to get a pension, you want to ask for an immediate refund of your contributions.
But, you are only entitled to a refund if you are not a German or EU citizen and not from a country with a social security agreement with Germany or live in any of these three areas.
As you will not get back the employer contributions, nor any parental points you have built up, it usually makes more sense to try to meet the minimum 5-year requirements e.g. by working in Germany or another EU country, or a state like Australia or the US that has an agreement with Germany.
Only if you are relatively young (under 40) and a good investor or if you just worked for 2-3 years does it make sense to request a refund. Keep in mind that most individuals are not good investors. We advise a disciplined investment in that case like Pensionfriend's PPP with good ETF choices.
For many people (those that expect to live long, or are not good investors) it makes sense to meet the minimum requirements for example by working a year longer.