TN 6 (11-20)

GN 01707.020 German Social Security Benefits

A. Introduction

This chart describes the eligibility requirements for German old-age, survivors, and disability benefits under the three principal systems described in GN 01707.010.

B. Policy — German eligibility requirements

As explained in GN 01707.012 - GN 01707.016, there are several types of contributory and noncontributory coverage under the German system. Unless otherwise noted, coverage requirements in the chart must be met using periods based on contributory coverage (compulsory or voluntary), substitute periods, or child-rearing periods. Except as noted, excused periods may only be used to compute benefit amounts. However, the rules vary depending upon the type of benefit claimed. The appropriate German agency will decide which coverage periods can be used to determine eligibility and benefit amounts.


Old-age Benefits


regular old-age

  • age 65

  • 5 years of coverage

early retirement

  • age 63, or as early as age 60 if disabled

  • 35 years of coverage (excused periods may be included, but at least 15 years must be periods of contributory, substitute or child-rearing coverage)

retirement due to unemployment

  • age 60

  • 15 years of coverage, including 8 years of coverage based on work in the last 10

  • unemployed in Germany for 52 weeks during the 18-month period before
    attaining age 60 or if later, the date application filed

early retirement for women

  • age 60

  • 15 years of coverage

  • at least 121 months (over 10 years) of coverage based on work in last 20 years

Disability Benefits

  • any age

  • work capacity reduced to less than 50%

  • 60 months of coverage at any time prior to onset of disability

  • 36 months of contributions based on covered work in 5 years immediately before onset (this requirement is deemed met if disability results from work accident). Substitute, excused, and child-rearing periods, periods of benefit receipt and certain other periods extend the 5-year period.


60 months of coverage before 1984 and contributing continuously since 1/1/ 84

NOTE: The severity of the individual's disability determines whether he or she receives an occupational incapacity benefit or a higher total disability benefit.

Survivors Benefits

deceased worker must have 60 months of coverage or have been entitled to benefits before his/her death


  • any age

  • not remarried

divorced widow/widower

  • any age

  • not remarried before the worker's death

  • marriage was dissolved prior to 7/1/77

  • dependent on worker for year prior to death or worker had to pay alimony at the time of death (if worker was not paying support at time of death, a former spouse may still qualify if other conditions are met)

NOTE: If the marriage ended after 6/30/77, benefits may be payable based on the former spouse's own insurance record. The former spouse must be unmarried and raising a child entitled to benefits.


under age 18, or under age 25 if disabled or attending school or vocational training

Miners' Benefits

Persons who work in mining in Germany contribute to a special miners' fund and may qualify for one of the retirement or disability benefits described above or one of the miners' benefits explained below.

reduced occupational capacity

  • unable to perform the mining work normally performed in the past

  • same requirements as for disability benefits, but the qualifying period of 60 months must be based on contributions to the German Miners' Pension Insurance Fund

benefits on attainment of age 50

  • age 50

  • 300 months (25 years) of continuous underground mine work

  • unable to perform any work economically equivalent to the mining work performed in the past

benefits on attainment of age 60

  • age 60

  • 300 months (25 years) of continuous underground mine work

  • terminated mining employment

C. Procedure

Refer individuals who want official information about German benefits to the following address:

Deutsche Rentenversicherung
Dezernat II.7.2
44781 Bochum

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
GN 01707.020 - German Social Security Benefits - 11/23/2020
Batch run: 11/23/2020