More and more people receiving their German pensions abroad

More and more people receiving their German pensions abroad

As the number of foreign nationals working in Germany increases, so too does the number of people drawing their German pensions from abroad. According to a new report, the number of pensions paid to people outside Germany has increased significantly over the last 20 years. 

1,72 million German pensions paid abroad in 2021

Over the past two decades, the number of pensions paid by the Deutsche Rentenversicherung to bank accounts overseas has risen by around 37 percent, according to a new report quoted by dpa. Overall, around 1,72 million German pensions were paid out abroad in 2021, up from 1,26 million in 2002. 

According to the statistics, approximately 13 percent of all German state pensions are actually paid to people who live outside the federal republic. This share has increased by almost 2 percentage points over the last 20 years. 

The most common places for people to receive German pensions overseas are Austria (where more than 26.000 German pensioners live), followed by Switzerland (just less than 26.000) and the USA (22.000).

“Guest workers” increasingly reaching retirement age

The Deutsche Rentenversicherung put the increase down to the waves of immigration in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, when many so-called “guest workers” came to fill a huge worker shortage in the post-war years. Many of these workers from countries like Italy, Spain, Greece, the former Yugoslavia and Turkey are now reaching retirement age and have returned to their home countries, where they can claim their German pensions. 

If you have paid into the social security system for five years or more, you are entitled to receive a German pension when you retire, and it can normally be transferred to a foreign bank account, wherever in the world you live. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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