Status: 05.12.2023, 16:00 PM
By: Lisa Mayerhofer
Poverty in old age is a growing problem. However, many pensioners do not make use of their entitlement to basic security. An overview.
Berlin – At the end of 2022, almost 1.2 million people claimed basic income support in old age and in the event of reduced earning capacity. This corresponds to an increase of almost 67,000 or 6.0 percent compared to December 2021, as the Federal Statistical Office announced in April. The increase is mainly due to refugees from Ukraine who are entitled to benefits.
However, more people would probably be entitled to basic security: Johannes Geyer of the German Institute for Economic Development (DIW) told Bild: "About 60 percent of people of retirement age who are entitled do not take advantage of it." Many of those affected would shy away from the effort that such an application entails. An overview of the service that is actually intended to combat poverty in old age.
Who is entitled to basic income support?
Adults who are unable to earn a living permanently from their own income and assets can apply for basic security in old age and in the event of reduced earning capacity in accordance with Book XII of the Social Code (SGB XII). The German Pension Insurance has the following rule of thumb for this: "If your total income is less than 924 euros, you should have it checked whether you are entitled to basic security." In addition, you must have reached retirement age or be permanently fully disabled and at least 18 years old.
Many pensioners do not make use of their entitlement to basic security. (Symbolic image) © Pond5/Imago
Important: The age limit for retirement may vary. For those born after 1964, the retirement age is 67. For older cohorts, this shifts forward somewhat: from the year of birth in 1947, the retirement age is gradually raised from 65 to 67 years for each year after 1947. Only for those born before 1947, the retirement age remains at 65.
Basic security in retirement: What about my assets?
Before you are entitled to basic security, you have to use up your existing assets – these include, for example, securities, savings, but also cars and real estate. This could initially deter many of those affected who have less money than expected in old age or are dependent on a disability pension due to illness.
However, there are exceptions to this rule: for example, a protective asset of 10,000 euros applies to single persons; in the case of spouses or life partners, it is 20,000 euros. An "adequate" home or an owner-occupied apartment is also not counted as assets.
Basic income support: How can I apply for it?
The amount of basic income you receive depends not only on your assets but also on your income. The income of the permanent partner is also taken into account. Income includes earned income, maintenance payments from parents or children, parental allowance of more than 300 euros, rental income, child benefit, sickness benefit and interest. Pensions of any kind, including the Riester pension, are also included.
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
The basic income support is an independent social benefit and must be applied for at the social welfare office. Required documents are the identity card, the pension notice, proof of income and assets as well as the proof of social security. Alternatively, the application can also be submitted to the German Pension Insurance, which will then forward it to the competent authority.
If the application has been approved and the payment of the basic income support has been approved, this is valid for a period of one year. At the end of twelve months, a new application must be submitted in order to continue to be entitled to basic security.