Status: 05.12.2023, 16:00 PM
By: Marvin K. Hoffmann
Those who have never worked can still receive a pension – but only under certain conditions. Nevertheless, no one in Germany goes away empty-handed.
Hamm – Arno Dübel passed away in mid-2023 – he was probably the best-known unemployed person in Germany. His distinctive "no way" once became an internet hit, but he never really worked. Nevertheless, he received money in his old age. Because, that's what characterizes the welfare state of Germany, no one is abandoned. In case of doubt, the basic income support applies. However, if you have never worked, you could still claim a pension. There are several options.
Pensioners who have never worked can apply for basic income support
The most obvious option is basic security in old age. This social benefit is intended to ensure that the basic subsistence needs of older people who do not have sufficient resources of their own are met. If you want to apply for basic income support, you have to meet various requirements.
Those who have never worked receive money from the state at retirement age
Those who have never worked will receive money from the state at retirement age. The amount of basic income varies, as it is intended to guarantee the minimum subsistence level. Several factors such as place of residence, rental costs and individual needs play a role. One thing is clear: you won't get rich with basic security as a substitute for a pension, a life of luxury is not possible.
Applying for basic income support
"As a needy person, you can receive basic security in old age and in the event of a total reduction in earning capacity if you have either reached the standard retirement age – which is the point in time at which you can receive the regular old-age pension – or if you are permanently fully disabled and at least 18 years old," explains the German Pension Insurance. The place of residence must also be in Germany.
Please note: Basic income support is a social benefit in its own right. It must be applied for. The application date is important for the start of basic income support.
However, those who have never worked but have spent their time raising children have a small advantage. In this case, this time is credited to your pension – even if you have never worked, you will receive the child-rearing or mother's pension. "In some cases, this is what gives rise to a pension entitlement in the first place, for which you have to prove a certain minimum insurance period. This can even lead to you receiving a pension later on without ever having paid in yourself," explains the German Pension Insurance.
Raising children can be worthwhile – then you are entitled to a pension
Converted, one year of child-rearing time brings about 34 euros in pension per month. As the German Pension Insurance further explains, in addition to the biological parents, other persons can also receive the child-rearing time:
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- adoptive, step- or foster parents, as well as
- Grandparents or relatives, if the child lives there permanently in the same household as a foster child. In this case, there may no longer be a relationship of custody and upbringing between the biological parents and the child.
- Child-rearing periods are not taken into account for persons who already receive a full old-age pension after reaching the standard retirement age or a pension in accordance with civil service law or other regulations such as a pension,
- have reached the standard retirement age and have never been covered by statutory pension insurance or have acquired pension entitlements in another pension scheme as a result of their upbringing, which are taken into account there in the same way as in the statutory pension.
If you have never worked, you can still receive the survivor's pension
There is also another way in which people can draw a pension in old age even though they have never worked: through the death of a spouse. "The death of a father, mother or a partner can jeopardise one's economic existence. We protect you with our pensions," explains the German Pension Insurance. The pension for surviving dependents, for which the additional earnings limit does not apply, is available in different versions:
- If your spouse or partner dies, you may be entitled to a widow's or widower's pension.
- If you are a minor or still in education or vocational training and lose one or both parents, you can receive a half-orphan's or full-orphan's pension.
- Are you divorced and raising a minor child? Then you can receive a child-raising pension in the event of the death of your ex-partner. This also applies to widowed spouses or partners with pension splitting.
- If you remarry as a widow or widower, your widow's or widower's pension will cease to apply. You will then be entitled to a pension severance payment as "start-up capital".
If you have never worked in your life, you could still be entitled to a pension, which is likely to be increased again in 2024. Otherwise, it is advisable to apply for basic income support – which, by the way, could also apply if you receive a disability pension. Nobody in Germany goes away empty-handed – not even Arno Dübel. To be on the safe side, you can take care of your own retirement provision – an ETF savings plan, for example, could help you reach retirement age.