10.14.100 German Glossary


This section contains definitions of terms applicable to the Agreement with Germany

Australian Carer Payment

Under the Agreement with Germany, qualification for CP is restricted to a partner of a person who is in receipt of an Australian Age or DSP.

CP is not payable in Germany to a person who has not been an Australian resident for the required period (

Australian Disability Support Pension

DSP for people living in Germany can only be granted to people who are severely disabled.

DSP can be granted to people in Australia, if the person does not otherwise qualify on residence grounds.

Australian Double Orphan Pension/Double Orphan Pension

Under the Agreement with Germany, DOP is payable in respect of a young person whose sole surviving parent died while the young person was an Australian resident. However, in order to be paid DOP outside Australia, both the young person and the person claiming must be residents of Germany.

Note: The person claiming DOP does not need to have been an Australian resident.


Benefit, for Australia, means a benefit, pension or allowance payable under Australian social security legislation as specified in Article 2 of the Agreement. It also includes any additional amount or increase that is payable to a person who qualifies for that increase. RA, PhA, TAL and RAA are payable to people inside Australia, but are subject to the portability restrictions of the SSAct for people outside Australia.

For German benefits - see below.

Coverage - Pension Insurance
  • All employed persons (including apprentices) - with some low income exceptions (see below) - and certain self-employed persons are subject to compulsory insurance. Persons caring for a child under age 3, recipients of social benefits (such as unemployment benefits), conscripts or persons doing community service instead of military service, and voluntary care workers are also covered without making personal contribution payments.
  • There are special systems for certain self-employed persons, miners, public employees (supplementary insurance), and farmers.
  • Voluntary affiliation is available for all others aged 16 or older who are currently exempt from compulsory insurance, including German citizens residing abroad and resident foreigners.
Exempt Income

The Agreement provides that 'any German social assistance and payments of a similar character provided in case of need', payable to a person who lives in Germany - regardless of whether the person is paid under the Agreement or autonomously - are to be disregarded under the Australian income test; see Exempt Payments - Agreement with Germany.

The following German payments qualify as exempt income for the above purposes:

  • Benefits in accordance with the Federal Social Welfare Act (Bundessozialhilfegesetz [BSHG]),
  • Welfare benefits for war victims* in accordance with the Federal War Victims Relief Act (Bundesversorgungsgesetz [BVG]),
  • Unemployment assistance and integration assistance in accordance with Volume III of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch Drittes Buch [SGB III]),
  • Housing benefit (Wohngeld [WoGG]),
  • Care benefits in accordance with Volume XI of the Social Code (SGB XI),
  • Child benefit (Kindergeld),
  • Youth supplement in accordance with Volume VIII of the Social Code (SGB VIII).

* Excludes sickness benefit and injury pension (Beschädigtenrente).

German Basic Security Law/Basic Security Law

The basic security law ('Grundsicherungsgesetz') came into force on 1 January 2003. More detailed information is available from the German Government Social Security website.

Like the social assistance scheme it is a non-contributory, means-tested system. However, it is intended to be a 'first call' safety net, ahead of the social assistance scheme. It was introduced largely as a result of older people often not claiming social assistance, for fear of creating a debt for their children

Eligibility criteria are largely the same as for social assistance but payments generally do not become a debt for children or parents. No entitlement exists if parents or children have annual income exceeding €100.000 (as at end 2002).

German Benefit/s

German benefits payable under the Agreement are:

Note: German benefits, except the Old Age Pension (age 65+), may be reduced because of earnings. Benefits are adjusted annually on 1 July for changes in the pension value in proportion to changes in earnings and the contribution rate.

German Child Raising Pension/Child Raising Pension

Child Raising Pension (Erziehungsrente) can be paid up to age 65, if someone's divorced spouse (or the marriage has been dissolved since 30 June 1977) has died.

This is an independent source of income for people who are divorced, have not remarried and are raising children. It aims to replace the child maintenance lost as a result of the divorced spouse's death.

Entitlement exists if the entitled person (the surviving insured person) has had 60 months of coverage at the time of death of their former spouse.

German Credited Period/German Credited Periods/Credited Period/Credited Periods

These can include periods:

  • spent raising children,
  • spent providing unpaid home nursing care, from April 1995 onwards (depending on number of hours providing care and in other employment),
  • when incapacitated,
  • when unemployed, or
  • in full-time education from age 18 onwards (maximum of 3 years).
German Early Age Pension/Early Age Pension

Early Age Pension (Vorzeitige Altersrente) can be paid in the following circumstances (current at end 2002):

  • from age 63, with 35 years of coverage,
  • from age 60, with 15 years of contributions , AND unemployed for one year after age 58 and 6 months, OR in part-time work for older employees for at least 24 months before age 60,
  • from age 60, for women if they have 10 years of compulsory contributions after age 40, or
  • from age 60, for severely disabled persons with a minimum of 35 years of coverage.

Normal pension rates are reduced by taking early retirement.

German Old Age Pension/Old Age Pension

Old Age Pension (Regelaltersrente) can be paid to both men and women aged 65 or over, even if still in employment. A minimum of 5 years of coverage is required.

German Orphan's Pension/Orphan's Pension

Orphan's Pension (Waisenrente) can be paid to dependent children of a deceased contributor - up to age 18, or up to age 27 if the orphan is still in education/vocational training or is severely disabled.

Orphans who have lost both parents receive one fifth and orphans who have lost one parent receive one-tenth of the full pension, plus a supplement.

Entitlement exists if the deceased contributor had 60 months of coverage or was a pensioner at death.

German Pension Insurance Fund/German Pension Insurance Funds/German Pension Fund/German Pension Funds/Insurance Fund/Insurance Funds

Pension insurance funds in Germany, including their areas of responsibility, are:

German Pension Insurance Scheme/Pension Insurance Scheme

The pension insurance scheme is the main component of Germany's social security system, the others being social assistance, and the basic security law (or 'Grundsicherungsgesetz') introduced on 1 January 2003.

German benefits payable under the pension insurance scheme may take account of the insured person's age, contribution record and/or disability - depending on the type of pension claimed.

German Period Of Coverage/German Periods Of Coverage/Period of Coverage/Periods of Coverage/Coverage

This is a period (or periods) of contributions or any other period which, under German legislation, is equivalent to a period of contributions, for the purposes of entitlement to a German pension. Equivalent periods include credited periods and/or substitute periods.

German Reduced Earning Capacity Pension/Reduced Earning Capacity Pension

Pensions available are:

  • pensions on account of partial or complete reduction in earning capacity (Rente wegen Erwerbsminderung), and
  • pensions for miners (Bergleutea,).

These pensions can be paid to persons under age 65, whose earning capacity is reduced or who can no longer work at all.

The basic requirement is that the claimant has a total of 60 months (5 years) of coverage, and 36 months of contributions in the last 5 years - unless exempt, for example in case of an accident at work.

Note: Special legislation applies to miners, unable to perform either their previous work or a comparable job in the mining industry.

German Social Assistance/Social Assistance

Social assistance (Sozialhilfe) is a non-contributory, means-tested welfare system - for people who are in need, or in danger of becoming destitute. When paid to a person living in Germany, these payments are generally treated as 'exempt income' under Australia's income test.

Social assistance can be provided as personal assistance, cash benefits or payments in kind. Before claiming social assistance people can be asked to draw on personal assets (although smaller savings deposits and someone's principal residence are generally exempt).

Social assistance can become a debt, repayable by first-degree relatives (spouse, parents, children).

German Substitute Period/German Substitute Periods/Substitute Period/Substitute Periods

These are periods when special circumstances such as military service prevent the payment of contributions.

German Widow's or Widower's Pension/Widow's or Widower's Pension

A number of different pensions, with similar names, are available under the Agreement:

  • Widow's/Widower's Pension (Witwenrente/Witwerrente):
    • can be paid to a woman who was legally married to the insured person at the time of his death. In some circumstances it can also be paid to men.
  • Widow's/Widower's Pension from the next to last spouse (Witwenrente/Witwerrente nach dem vorletzten Ehegatten):
    • can be paid to widows or widowers who would have been entitled to Widow's/Widower's Pension above, but have remarried and this subsequent marriage has been dissolved (e.g. by death or divorce) or declared null and void.
  • Widow's/Widower's Pension of spouses divorced before 1 July 1977 (Witwenrente/Witwerrente an vor dem 01.07.1977 geschiedene Ehegatten):
    • can be paid to the former wife or husband of a deceased insured person, if the marriage was dissolved before 1 July 1977 and the surviving person did not remarry during the lifetime of the insured person.

Entitlement exists if the deceased contributor had 60 months of coverage or was a pensioner at death.


For Australia, means the Acts which form the Australian social security law that applies to:

  • age pension,
  • disability support pension,
  • carer payment,
  • pensions payable to widows (PPS and BVA), and
  • double orphan pension.

For Germany, means the social security legislation concerning the:

  • Wage Earners' Pension Insurance (Rentenversicherung der Arbeiter),
  • Salaried Employees' Pension Insurance (Rentenversicherung der Angestellten),
  • Miners' Pension Insurance (Knappschaftliche Rentenversicherung),
  • Steelworkers' Supplementary Insurance (Hüttenknappschaftliche Zusatzversicherung), and
  • Farmers' Old Age Security (Alterssicherung der Landwirte).

For Australia, means a citizen of Australia.

For Germany, means a German citizen within the meaning of Germany's Basic Law (Grundgesetz).

Pension Insurance

German benefits are largely financed from compulsory contributions, half of which are normally paid by the employee (9.55% of earnings) and half by the employer. The employee is not required to make contributions if earnings are below €325/month. Self-employed pay 19.1%. (Figures as at 2002).

Note: Following the unification of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on 3 October 1990, the social security system of the FRG remained in force and the system of the GDR continued to apply on an interim basis within the former GDR territory. The FRG and GDR systems were merged effective 1 January 1992, at which time Part VI of the Social Act came into force throughout the entire federal territory.

Widowed Person

This means a person (male or female) who stops being a partnered person because of the death of the person's partner. It does not include someone who has a new partner. Payments that can be granted to widowed persons are PPS and BVA.

Last reviewed: 17 August 2015