Statutory pension insurance (Germany)
The statutory pension insurance (GRV) in Germany is a branch of the structured social insurance system , which mainly serves to provide for the old age of employees . Insured persons and their surviving dependents are entitled to a pension if the insurance law and personal requirements required for the respective pension are met (pension entitlement). In addition to the employees, certain self-employed persons are also compulsorily insured in the pension insurance. In addition, voluntary insurance is generally possible. In addition to old-age pensions , pensions for reduced earning capacity and pensions for surviving dependents as well as rehabilitation benefits are provided.
The statutory pension insurance is primarily financed through a pay-as-you-go system . This means that the contributions of the current contributors are paid immediately as pensions to the current retirees. By crediting earnings points, they simultaneously acquire their own pension entitlements in their pension drawing phase (so-called generation contract ). Since the system is subject to a subsidy from the federal budget, the extremely controversial question arises as to whether these annual subsidies are sufficient for the benefits that are not covered by contributions.
In view of the demographic change , there is often a demand to change the financing of old-age insurance from a pay-as-you-go system to a capital-forming system, with the form of private old-age insurance being preferred. It is also often denied that demographic change is actually calling into question the pay-as-you-go pension system and that a funded system enables more effective and socially fairer financing of pensions (compare the Mackenroth thesis ).
The statutory pension insurance provider in Germany is the Deutsche Rentenversicherung , which is divided into 14 regional and 2 national providers. The legal basis is the Sixth Book of the Social Security Code - Statutory Pension Insurance - (SGB VI). The social insurance for agriculture, forestry and horticulture ( SVLFG ) is responsible for the self-employed and their members in the fields of agriculture, forestry and horticulture . The legal basis is the Farmers Old Age Insurance Act (ALG) i. V. m. the Act on the Reorganization of the Organization of Agricultural Social Insurance (LSV-NOG).
The insured risks of the statutory pension insurance (GRV) are the age , the disability and the death of the insured, who may trigger a survivor's pension . For the purpose of preserving and restoring the worker insured who do support the GRV in the context of medical and vocational rehabilitation . These are original benefits that are not non- insurance- related because they serve to directly avert the insured risks, the realization of which would lead to premium losses. Before reaching retirement age for old-age pensions, the principle of “ rehabilitation before retirement” applies to the topic of reduced earning capacity . H. an attempt is always made to restore employability before paying a pension as compensation. The pension will only be paid if this is actually not possible.
The following risk cases are again emphasized for the statutory pension insurance:
- Old age pensions,
- Pensions for reduced earning capacity and
- Survivor's pensions (widow's / widower's pensions and half / orphan's pensions).
For entitlement to benefits, according to SGB VI
- insurance requirements,
- personal requirements (age, reduced earning capacity, death),
- and to meet legal waiting time requirements.
Old age pensions
According to the current legal situation ( retirement age receive a pension without surcharges or discounts (see pension formula ). Each later start of retirement increases the pension, each earlier start of retirement reduces it (exception: pension for the severely disabled or if contributions have been paid for 45 years, you can retire at 65 without deductions). The 2007 law changed the standard retirement age.f. SGB VI), those who apply for an old-age pension when they reach the standard
Amount of pensions
The relative amount of the pension depends above all on the number and the amount of the contributions paid in during the insurance life. The contributions are converted into earnings points . Child-rearing periods are rated like the compulsory contribution periods of an average earner, without individual contributions being paid, but if other compulsory contribution periods are added, they can receive fewer earnings points if a certain maximum limit would otherwise be exceeded overall (see also: Additive crediting ). For every child born before January 1, 1992, the child-rearing period is the first 24 months, and for every child born after December 31, 1991, the first 36 months of the child's life. For relevant non-contributory periods (e.g. periods of school-based training), the so-called overall performance assessment or the comparative assessment are used to determine further earnings points, the amount of which depends on the remuneration and income insured during the rest of the period. Surcharges are credited for periods of reduced contribution (e.g. periods of vocational training).
The monthly pension is calculated according to the pension formula by multiplying the earnings points with the access factor , the pension type factor and the current pension value. This is standardized in SGB VI. Contributions are only raised up to the contribution assessment ceiling. This determines a maximum contribution. Maximum contributions and the maximum possible payment period result in the highest possible pension.
A corner pensioner is a fictitious person who pays contributions from an average income for 45 years and who retires when the regular retirement age is reached. The pension achieved on the basis of such a pension biography is called the standard pension (colloquially "corner pension"). The corner pension (west) was € 1,284.06 on July 1, 2018, which corresponds to 48.1 percent of the last gross salary. It is not an average pension, the amount of which is considerably below the basic pension.
The average pension results from the quotient of the respective group-related total payment and the number of this considered group. In the general pension scheme, the average old-age pension for men in the old federal states was € 1052 on December 31, 2011, in the new federal states it was € 1006, women in the old federal states received an average old-age pension of € 521 in the new federal states Federal states of € 705.
3.7 million pensioners receive a statutory pension of less than 300 euros per month. Six million retirees receive up to 500 euros. 13 million senior citizens, around 72 percent, received a pension of up to 1,000 euros per month in 2012.
There are special features in the miners' insurance (pension insurance for miners).
Pension and employment
While drawing a full retirement pension, pensioners are exempt from statutory pension insurance (Paragraph 4 of Book Six of the Social Code (SGB VI). If they continue to work, the employed pensioner no longer has to pay contributions. His employer, however, still has to pay the contribution which would have to be paid if the employed full pension recipient were subject to compulsory insurance ( (1) SGB VI). However, this contribution no longer increases the pensioner's pension entitlements. This is intended to deprive the employer of the incentive to employ persons who are not insured.
Pensions due to reduced earning capacity
The word early retirement (legally imprecise) denotes all forms of early transition to unemployment that lead to a pension being paid by the GRV, such as the disability pension or the early retirement pension after receipt of unemployment benefit. “ Early retirement ” refers to the same case for civil servants with early start of retirement benefits.
Basically, it can be said that if you start your retirement early before the statutory retirement age, the pension will be reduced by 0.3% per month of early drawdown for the entire duration of the claim. For a pension starting one year earlier, the monthly pension amount otherwise due decreases by 3.6 percent (compare the pension calculation below or with the pension formula , but with a disability pension by a maximum of 10.8 percent). The deduction is made from the pension value that results at the time of claiming the early retirement pension, not from the extrapolated old-age pension value. The early pension is lower than the regular old-age pension for two reasons:
- Once through the earlier start of retirement after which no further contributions are paid,
- and then again through the discount on this already lower pension value.
This deduction tries to take into account the shorter period of contribution payments in working life and the expected longer duration of the pension. For decades, the retirement age has often been significantly lower than the applicable statutory age limit.
Around 17% of all pensioners start their retirement with a pension because of reduced earning capacity , 90% of them because of total disability. The comparable regulation was called "disability pension" until 2000. The amount depends on the contributions previously paid, but is up to 10.8% lower than the old-age pension.
In 2007 a study showed that experts rated a constructed test case completely differently. In 2010, the Deutsche Rentenversicherung processed 361,963 applications for disability pensions. About half were approved and the other half rejected, 114,000 of them for medical reasons.
Widow's pension / widower's pension
Widows or widowers are entitled to a widow's / widower's pension after the death of the insured spouse if the insured spouse has completed the general qualifying period . The disadvantage of widowers compared to widows in terms of survivors' pensions, which was in effect until 1984, no longer applies due to unisex requirements. Since January 1, 2005, the registered civil partnership has also been treated as equivalent to marriage in terms of pension law.
No pension in the event of remarriage or provision marriage
In the event of remarriage, entitlement to the widow's / widower's pension lapses. If the new marriage is divorced, if the new spouse dies or if the marriage is declared null and void, you are entitled to the previous pension (widow's pension or widower's pension after the penultimate spouse) under the other conditions .
Widows or widowers are not entitled to a widow's pension or widower's pension if the marriage has not lasted for at least a year, unless the particular circumstances of the case do not justify the assumption that it was the sole or predominant purpose of the marriage Establish entitlement to a survivor's pension. This applies, for example, to sudden, unforeseeable accidental death or if the couple had no knowledge of a fatal illness at the time of the marriage.
Grandfathering (old cases)
The term "old case" is not clear in the statutory pension insurance. Due to multiple legal changes, one can only consider grandfathering cases up to the respective change.
- A “grandfathering case 2002” applies if a spouse died before January 1, 2002 or if at least one spouse was born before January 2, 1962 and the marriage was concluded before January 1, 2002. This regulation has existed since 2007. The benefits of the statutory pension insurance are divided into two central areas: The payment of old-age pensions has been one of its central tasks since the existence of the statutory pension insurance. But the insured are also largely protected by the pension against the consequences of reduced earning capacity and the death of their spouse. The second major task of pension insurance is rehabilitation. It ensures that sick and disabled people have a positive influence on the ability to work and - if possible - restore them.
As a function of wage replacement, the pension should offer the insured person a sufficient livelihood. As a rule, pensions are paid as
- Old age pensions (e.g. regular old-age pension),
- Pensions for reduced earning capacity as well
- Death pensions (e.g. widow / orphan's pensions)
A "grandfathering case 1985" applies if a spouse died before December 31, 1985 or an application was made to continue the old law by December 31, 1988.
Small widow's / widower's pension
The surviving partner receives what is known as the small widow's / widower's pension for a maximum of 24 months. The limitation to 24 months does not apply to "grandfathering cases 2002".
Large widow / widower pension
If the surviving dependents meet one of the following requirements when the insured person dies or later, they are entitled to the large widow / widower's pension:
- at least 45 years old or
- fully or partially incapacitated or
- Raising your own child or a child of the insured spouse who is not yet 18 years old.
If the insured person dies after December 31, 2011, the age limit of 45 years for the large widow's pension will be gradually increased to 47 years by 2029. For details, see(5) SGB VI.
The amount of the widow's / widower's pension is based on the pension entitlement of the deceased insured person.
In the first three (full) calendar months after the month in which the insured person died, the pension entitlement is paid out in full (so-called " death quarter ").
Subsequently, the entitlement for the small widow's / widower's pension is 25% and for the large widow's / widower's pension 55% (or 60% in old cases) of the deceased's pension (income may also be credited).
If the deceased spouse was already drawing a pension at the time of their death, the surviving dependents can apply to Deutsche Post AG for an advance on the widow's or widower's pension within 30 days of their death. Regardless of this, a formal pension application must be submitted to the responsible pension insurer for the widow's / widower's pension.
40% of the excess amount is offset against the widow's / widower's pension, which is reduced by a reduction, if it exceeds an exemption. No income is taken into account in the quarter of the death. In the " grandfathering cases 1985" no income is earned , in the " grandfathering cases 2002" earned income and income replacement income are taken into account and, in new cases, additional property income and parental allowance. The reduction amount is an amount that varies depending on the type of income and amounts to a certain percentage of the income. The reduction takes into account that the surviving dependents have to pay taxes and social security contributions. The exemption is calculated from 26.4 times the current pension value (since July 1, 2013): (West) or (East) and increases for each minor child by 5.6 times the current pension value.
Half-orphans receive 10%, full orphans receive 20% of the pension calculated on the date of death of the insured person due to full disability plus a surcharge in accordance with Section 78 SGB VI. Own income is not offset against the orphan's pension. Up until June 30, 2015, orphans over 18 years of age were credited.
In addition, a pension is paid up to the 27th birthday during school, technical college, university or vocational training, as well as if the orphan is disabled. Since July 1, 2015, improved orphan's pension benefits for orphans of legal age have been in effect and prior income is no longer included. The pension is suspended during statutory military or community service; the entitlement is extended accordingly beyond the age of 27. Adopted children, foster children, grandchildren or siblings can also be recognized as orphans if they have lived in the same household as the deceased and were supported by him / her.
Although this pension is paid out of the surviving (former) spouse's insurance, it counts as a death pension.
Reimbursement of contributions
The reimbursement of contributions can be made for certain groups of people upon application and is regulated by employer's share is not reimbursed.VI of the Social Code. Contributions will only be reimbursed if a waiting period of 24 calendar months has elapsed after leaving the compulsory insurance. They are reimbursed to the extent that the insured persons wore them; the
Pension information and pension information in Germany
Since 2002, the pension insurance institutions have been sending current pension information to the insured in accordance withSGB VI a few years before the expected start of retirement . The pension information gives the insured person information about the current pension entitlements. A distinction is made between an early start in the event of full disability and the amount of the future regular retirement pension if the current conditions would not change, i.e. H. so without changes through laws or wage changes. In general, reference is made to the supply gap: the current net wage and the expected lower pension and the loss of purchasing power due to the expected future inflation.
After an introductory period, all insured persons who have reached the age of 27 and who have contributed periods of at least 5 years (60 calendar months) should receive annually pension information.
After reaching the age of 55, the pension information is replaced every three years by a "detailed pension information", which also shows the start of the pension for the various types of pension, with and without deductions for earlier claiming of old-age pensions.
Basis of the pension calculation
The basis of the pension calculation are the pension-law times contained in the insurance history of the insured , which were finally determined bindingly in the procedure for account clarification by decision according to Abs. 5 SGB VI, as well as additions made afterwards and "pension-law times" entered into the insurance account through data transmission.
Explanations of the terms insurance history, pension information , pension information and assessment notice can be found below in this article.
The insurance history in Germany
The insurance history is a proof of the data stored on the insurance account of an insured person about pension law periods created by the insurance carrier. To clarify the account , the “current” insurance history is sent to the insured as a list. From this it can be seen whether all pension law times are known to the German pension insurance. The forms usually required or a prepared answer sheet are attached to the insurance history. Missing periods of pension law can be supplemented by the service providers after receipt of the answer from the insured person or incorrectly ascertained facts can be corrected. The procedure is regulated by law in SGB VI.
Finally, a decision capable of taking legal action (notification of assessment) is issued, with which the insurance carrier is bindingly determined. The insurance account is then deemed to have been cleared with regard to the data contained therein that was not previously ascertained and was more than six calendar years ago. However, additions and corrections are still possible at the request of the insured person. They are sometimes necessary due to the passage of time and later data.
Data retrieval with the new identity card
Using the electronic identity card , which has the function of electronic proof of identity, it is possible with an AusweisApp to call up an insurance history, pension information, pension information, a certificate of the amount of the pension or a pension certificate via the Internet.
Deductions for health and long-term care insurance
People with compulsory insurance in the KVdR have to pay the general contribution rate (uniform contribution rate for all health insurances ; since 2015: 14.6 plus the additional contribution specific to the health insurance fund) and the full contributions for long-term care insurance to the health insurance provider (retention and transfer procedure by the RV providers). Half of the health insurance contribution and the additional contribution have been borne by the RV carrier since January 1, 2019. If the total monthly pension is not higher than one twentieth of the monthly reference amount (2016: € 145.25 West / € 126.00 East), no health and long-term care insurance contributions are withheld. This is independent of other income subject to contributions and is regulated in Section 226 (2) SGB V and Section 57 (1) SGB XI.
Those insured voluntarily in the GKV (statutory health insurance) pay the general contribution rate, including additional contributions and full contributions for long-term care insurance. You will receive a subsidy from the RV provider, although the additional contribution is not eligible here either.
Those with private health insurance in the PKV pay the premium according to the agreed tariff, but receive a subsidy.
For tax purposes , the statutory pension was only to be taken into account with the so-called income share as a type of income until 2004 . The earnings share corresponds to a fictitious return on the contributions paid in previous working life. The earlier the insured person retired, the lower the absolute pension amount and the higher the taxable income portion of the monthly old-age pension. Example: If you retire at the age of 65, the income share was 27%. Since the basic tax-free allowances were not reached even with a very high pension , taxes only had to be paid if there was other taxable income .
As a result of a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court , which calls for equal tax treatment of pensions and pensions, pension taxation was placed on a new basis from 2005. For current pensioners ("existing pensioners") the taxable portion has been 50% since 2005, in 2020 the taxable portion will be 80% and will then increase by 1 percentage point for each age group of pensioners. From 2040 pensions will be 100% taxed.
Financing the pension insurance
In principle, the pension insurance is financed by contributions, which in the case of employees subject to compulsory insurance are paid half by the employee and half by the employer (exception: in miners ' insurance , the employer pays the difference between the employee's share of the general contribution rate and the total amount of the miner's contribution rate). The contribution is collected by the responsible collection agency and paid to the responsible pension insurance company. Voluntarily insured persons and self-employed persons subject to compulsory insurance pay the full contribution alone ( , SGB VI). There are special features in artist social insurance and for marginal employment .
The pension insurance contribution is raised according to a contribution rate as a percentage of the income subject to contributions, which is taken into account up to the contribution assessment ceiling . Since January 1, 2018, the contribution rate has been 18.6% in general pension insurance and 24.7% in miners' pension insurance.
The contribution assessment limit for general pension insurance for 2015 in the old federal states was 6,050 euros per month, i.e. 72,600 euros per year, in the new federal states it was 5,200 euros per month, i.e. 62,400 euros per year. In 2015, it was € 7,450 per month in the miners' pension scheme in the west, i.e. € 89,400 per year, and € 6,350 per month in the east, i.e. € 76,200 per year.
In 2016, the new monthly income threshold for general pension insurance (West) rose from 6,050 euros (2015) to 6,200 euros per month. The income threshold (east) rose from 5,200 euros (2015) to 5,400 euros per month.
In 2016, the income threshold for miners' pension (West) was € 7,650 per month (7,450), and the income threshold (East) was € 6,650 per month (6,350). The provisional average wage in the statutory pension scheme was set nationwide at 36,267 euros per year for 2016.
In 2018, the monthly income threshold in the general pension insurance (West) was 6,500 euros (annual amount 78,000 euros). The income threshold (east) was 5,800 euros per month or 69,600 euros per year.
In 2018, an assessment ceiling (west) applied to the miners' pension insurance: 8,000 euros per month, in the contribution area east 7,150 euros per month.
|in millions of euros|
|in millions of euros|
The contributions made by employees and employers are supplemented from tax revenues to compensate for non-insurance benefits (federal subsidy). In addition, since 1998, a lump sum has been paid for services not covered by contributions, which is refinanced through VAT increases. Since 1999, this subsidy has been supplemented by an increase in the additional subsidy, which was initially funded from funds under the law for the continuation of the ecological tax reform. In addition, reimbursements are made for specific transitory items in those cases in which the GRV provides services for the federal government. These include, for example, child-rearing periods from 1992, pension supplements and benefits under the entitlement and expectancy transfer law (AAÜG - transfer law for GDR pensions) and miners' pensions.
While the general federal subsidy serves a general relief, compensation and security function due to the fulfillment of tasks for society as a whole by the GRV, the payment of the additional subsidy is expressly made to cover benefits not covered by contributions and to reduce additional wage costs. In 2010, for example, the funds raised by the federal government for the general GRV (excluding transitory items) amounted to 58.9 billion euros. In addition, in 2010 there were further grants for child-rearing periods in the amount of 11.6 billion euros, reimbursement of unification-related benefits in the amount of 0.32 billion euros, reimbursement for the AAÜG in the amount of 4.3 billion euros and for the subsidy for the miners' union in the amount of 5.9 billion euros. This means that in 2010 the total federal funds amounted to around 81.2 billion euros.
The burden on the federal budget leads again and again to demands for lower grants and real cuts in all pensions of the GRV via the social and tax system. The case law of the Federal Constitutional Court has even seen a kind of equal tax treatment of pensions from the GRV with pensions of civil servants due to the high tax share. These arguments of excessive tax benefits for statutory pensions are countered by the fact that the Constitutional Court confused the budgetary position of the GRV with the individual claims of the contributors and that the legislature has decided on an abundance of benefits that are not fully covered by the federal subsidies. In addition, these benefits, which are not covered by contributions, would, in very many cases, benefit those recipients who, in the actuarial sense, do not belong to the risk community of the insured community that bears the pension insurance. The majority of the pensioners have financed their own pension payments through regular contributions and, despite the subsidies, even bear burdens of a general socio-political nature, which should actually be financed from the state budget.
The non-insurance costs in the GRV, which are partially covered by the federal grant, d. H. without the pensioners having paid actuarially equivalent contributions, for example, consist of the following items:
- Family compensation (children's periods for women born before 1921, orphan's pensions)
- Consideration periods, child-rearing periods, supplements to widow's pension for mothers
- Pensions due to death (except splitting pensions)
- Pensions for replacement periods (military service, captivity)
- Integration of displaced persons and resettlers
- Transfers to the new federal states
- Participation in insurance in the event of unemployment, pensions due to the labor market situation
- Early pensions (e.g. partial retirement)
- Minimum pensions
- Recognition for training periods, upgrading of the first three insurance years
- Rights of disabled people in sheltered facilities
- Health insurance for pensioners (KVdR), (the long-term care insurance for pensioners (PVdR) is borne by the pensioners themselves)
- Additional agreements with the USA, Israel, Canada
- Pension components, insofar as they differ in the amount of the present value of the pension in relation to life expectancy from the average life expectancy of a man's pension from 65 or 67 years of age
- Transient items for which the GRV only acts as an administrator (miners' shank subsidies, GDR supplementary pension)
In addition to these items to be financed through the general budget, the federal government is also required to provide federal funds as part of its financial responsibility
- Demographic load
- Organizational and design sovereignty through the federal government
- Co-financing of other social systems by the GRV (rehabilitation, professional development)
- Proportional administrative costs for third-party services
In 2011, non-insurance benefits were only partially paid from federal funds. The Karl Braeuer Institute calculated a coverage gap of around 7 billion euros for 2011, which corresponds to an excessive burden on the contributors of around 0.8 percentage points of the contribution rate. The flat-rate contribution from the federal government was not increased in connection with the extension of child-rearing periods for children born before January 1, 1992 from 12 to 24 months (so-called " mother's pension "), which came into force on July 1, 2014 , although the federal government has granted it Measure forecast annual additional expenditure of around 6.7 billion euros. Among other things, because of the additional benefits for raising children, only the general federal grant will be increased by EUR 400 million in each case from 2019 to 2022.
If one assumes for the purpose of the GRV that it is supposed to ensure the provision of its insured persons in old age and in the event of disability, then it becomes clear that the non-contributory benefits for preferential pensions have a general socio-political background. They only have to do with the insured community of contributing employees in the GRV within the framework of general state welfare that affects all citizens. According to the general opinion, state welfare benefits are to be financed from the state budget.
To list the pensioners in the new federal states as subsidy recipients because their residents "never paid into the West German GRV" does not seem to some sources to be justified, because this gives the impression that the West German contributors or the Federal Treasury have to finance all pensions there . Because it is a pay-as-you-go financing, the contribution payment of the compulsory insured persons there and the payment of the pensions there began on the day of reunification. Due to the slump in contributions due to unemployment , the latter, however, to a greater extent than in the old federal states , a larger subsidy from tax revenues is actually required, which must, however, be assessed in the same way as other reunification costs .
The pension insurance is financed on a pay-as-you-go basis . Current contributions, administered by the institutions of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung (formerly: BfA , Landesversicherungsanstalten , Bahnversicherungsanstalt , Bundesknappschaft and Seekasse ) are paid out directly as pensions. To ensure solvency at all times, there is a so-called sustainability reserve . It is made up of excess operating resources and accumulated reserves.
Calculation variables of the pension insurance
Based on the income development in previous years, the social security figures for the following year are set annually by statutory order. For the statutory pension insurance, the reference value and the contribution assessment limit are important.
earnings and expenses
|in € million||in %||in € million||in %|
|Contribution income (insured persons and employers)||163,367||76.13||185.288||73.75|
|Federal subsidies for pension benefits without own contributions||40,717||18.98||45,791||18.22|
|Additional federal grants||9,078||4.23||19,095||7.60|
|Pension expenditure 1||190.198||88.64||224.352||89.29|
|Health insurance for retirees||12,831||5.98||15,251||6.07|
|Administrative and procedural costs||3,509||1.64||3,521||1.40|
Explanation: 1 total of gross pensions; before deduction of the pensioners own contribution to the social security.
Source: Business and accounting results of the statutory pension insurance, Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
Since January 1, 2018, the contribution rate has been 18.6%.
When pension insurance was introduced in 1891, the contribution rate was 1.7%. If the contribution stamps to be paid in the individual wage classes are converted into wage percentages, this results in an average of 3.5% for 1924 and an average of 5.5% for 1928. The contribution rate rose continuously from 10 percent in 1949 to 17 percent in 1970. Since 1970 it has been between 17 percent and 20.3 percent.
Guilds and guilds in the Middle Ages already knew self-help institutions on a community basis. Crafts and mining are considered to be the earliest forerunners of today's social security. The law on the association of miners, smelters and saltworks workers in Miners from April 10, 1854 was the first state statutory, public-law workers' insurance. With this law, the miners' insurance funds were organized uniformly and made mandatory. The miners were obliged to pay contributions and the minimum benefit of the fund was determined. An imperial embassy of Wilhelm I on November 17, 1881 initiated the establishment of a workers' insurance, in which workers are insured against illness, accident and material hardship in the event of invalidity or old age.
The passing of the law on disability and old age insurance on June 22, 1889 (after a resolution on May 24, 1889) was introduced by the Reichstag on January 1, 1891 as workers' pension insurance (RV). It provided for an old-age pension from the age of 70 (with a much lower life expectancy than today) and a disability pension in the event of disability. The prerequisite for the old-age pension was at least 30 years of contributions (with the 60-hour week that was customary at the time). After the introduction of the regulations on health insurance (1883) and accident insurance (1884), this branch of insurance was Otto von Bismarck's last regulation on social insurance . He justified the decision in favor of a purely state and not private-sector organization of pension insurance with the fact that one could not expose the "savings pennies of the poor" to bankruptcy risk or allow "a deduction from the contributions to be paid as dividends and interest on shares" .
When pension insurance was introduced in 1891, the contribution rate was 1.7%, financed by employees, employers and government subsidies, i.e. taxpayers' money, one third each. At that time, an unskilled worker earned 80 marks a month (today's purchasing power: 536 euros) and had this 1 / 3 of 1.7%, so pay 0.567% as an employee contribution, which were monthly 12:45 Mark (today's purchasing power: 3.01 euros). The compulsory insurance was initially only valid up to an annual income of 2000 marks (today's purchasing power: 13,394 euros), which corresponds to 167 marks a month (today's purchasing power: 1,118 euros), which at that time included all workers ("commercial" workers) as well as the "small" Employees.
The contribution payment was initially made using contribution stamps that were acquired by the employer in order to be stuck into the receipt card of the employee subject to compulsory insurance. The chronological assignment of the contribution was made by handwritten entry of a date on the contribution stamp. Weekly stamps (for one or more weeks) were used in disability insurance and monthly stamps were used in employee insurance. The contribution stamp procedure for the compulsorily insured of the disability insurance was replaced by the wage deduction procedure introduced on June 29, 1942. The remaining insured had to use contribution stamps until 1974.
Efforts soon began to regulate social insurance in a comprehensive and comprehensive manner. This happened with the Reich Insurance Code of June 9, 1911, in the fourth book of which the right to pension insurance for workers was regulated and survivors' pensions were introduced.
The Insurance Act for Salaried Employees of December 20, 1911 introduced an independent pension insurance for salaried employees. The Invalidity and Old Age Insurance Act had already included salaried employees in the compulsory insurance. However, the salaried profession demanded an independent and independent salaried employee insurance with its own insurance company. With the Insurance Act for Salaried Employees, which came into force on January 1, 1913, the requirement (of salaried employees) was finally met legally.
In 1916 the retirement age was lowered from 70 to 65.
Historical financial problems
The system based only on savings could not last long. After the First World War , the reserves were largely devalued by the subsequent hyperinflation . The net worth of the Deutsche Rentenbank had melted from 2.12 billion marks (in 1914) within a decade to a remainder of only 14.6% of this sum. Even then, pension payments began to a certain extent from incoming contributions, and the state helped out with tax revenues. Nevertheless, massive cuts in benefits, especially as a result of the Great Depression (1929–1933), were inevitable. The statutory pension insurance was far from guaranteeing the previous standard of living in old age, but little more than a small extra income. The main source of retirement income was, more than ever, the benefits of one's own children or, in an extreme emergency, the state welfare. During the Nazi era, funds from the social systems were even misappropriated for other projects (especially armaments).
Even after the Second World War , the system was initially retained. At that time, the pension had a largely supportive function and - due to a lack of reserves - was financed up to 50% from tax revenues.
Only with the pension reform in 1957 did the transition to the pay-as-you-go system that still exists today : instead of building up reserves, the employer initially had to pay half of the gross wage, half of which was paid by the compulsory members of the statutory pension insurance, and this was used immediately for pension payments were. This enabled an immediate, significant pension increase and henceforth a dynamic adjustment of the pension amount to the gross wage development. The main arguments in favor of the pay-as-you-go system at the time were that pensions could be paid immediately, that no capital assets could be destroyed by wars or economic crises, that capital savings on a macroeconomic scale would not be possible anyway ( Mackenroth theorem ) and that the state would pay contributions the active middle generation could always prevail.
With such justifications, pay-as-you-go systems have been introduced in a number of other countries since the Great Depression and in the post-war period, for example in the USA in 1936 as part of the New Deal , in Japan, Austria and Switzerland.
Because no reserves are formed, a pay-as-you-go system also requires the existence of a subsequent generation whose relatives are subject to compulsory insurance and, above all, pay sufficient contributions. However, in times of high unemployment, slowly rising wages and declining employment figures as well as higher life expectancy, such systems come under financial pressure, in particular because employees with higher earnings only pay in with contributions up to the contribution assessment ceiling and the self-employed and civil servants are completely exempt from the obligation to contribute.
The reform was largely based on a study by Professor Wilfrid Schreiber , whose concept, however, was only partially implemented. The study demanded that the “totality of all workers” should be included, including the “self-employed workers”. In addition, the assessment ceiling, i.e. the income limit for compulsory insurance, should be completely abolished. Through both measures, the statutory pension insurance should be placed on the largest possible foundation "in order to ensure the consistency of its calculation bases over all possible structural changes in economic society and its composition according to occupation and type of employment". Schreiber had also planned a child's pension and a doubling of the contribution for childless people in order to relieve the families financially and thus ensure the continued existence of the system, which is dependent on the next generation. The then Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer rejected these components, however, and prevailed against concerns from Ludwig Erhard, for example .
Transfer of the entitlements from the GDR to the FRG
With the unification of the two German states on October 3, 1990, there was also the need to transfer pension entitlements from the pension systems of the GDR into federal German law. This was agreed in the unification agreement and implemented accordingly with the Pension Transition Act and the Entitlement and Expectancy Transfer Act . In addition to the pension insurance of the GDR, this also included the special and supplementary pension systems of the GDR.
Association of pension insurances for workers and employees
With the Pension Reform Act of December 18, 1989, the law of statutory pension insurance was set as the sixth book in the SGB with effect from January 1, 1992, and the separate pension laws for the pension insurance of workers (fourth book of the Reich Insurance Code (RVO)) and salaried employees ( Employee Insurance Act) repealed. This step unified pension law and was therefore more than just a renaming of the codes.
The "Law to Reform the Organization of Statutory Pension Insurance", which came into force on January 1, 2005, also abolished the organizational difference between the pension insurance schemes for blue-collar workers and salaried employees, which were previously managed separately by the state insurance institutions and the Federal Insurance Agency for white-collar workers.
Financing pressures and reforms
New burdens from reunification
From the outset, a significant part of the pension payments were made from tax revenues, primarily to finance non-insurance benefits . The federal subsidy amounted to almost 25% of the pensions paid out in 1964, fell to around 15% in the 1970s and remained at around 16% until the end of the 1980s. In the 1990s, however, the statutory pension insurance ran into increasing financial difficulties. One reason was the transfer of the system to the new federal states: Since there was almost no open unemployment in the GDR , the pensioners and insured persons there earned comparatively high pension entitlements based on an extrapolation of their income earned in the GDR based on a fixed factor on approximately comparable western earnings to the GRV, while due to the economic situation from the new federal states only relatively low pension contributions were earned. The problems were exacerbated by a surge in the number of unemployed.
Demographic change and sustainability
In addition, the beginning of the birth cohorts to enter the labor market, increased unemployment and increasing life expectancy began to shift the relationship between contributors and pensioners. Politicians reacted in 1992 with the first cutbacks (in particular a link to net wages instead of gross wages). The “demographic factor” introduced in 1997 was initially withdrawn by the red-green federal government after the change of government in 1998; however, the “sustainability factor” appeared in the new century . It takes into account the pure numerical ratio of contributors to pension recipients and thus limits the pension increase. The result is nominally weak growth or stagnation , i.e. H. Adjusted for inflation, pension payments that remain the same or decrease.
Federal grants for non-insurance benefits
In addition, the federal subsidy has been increased regularly since 1991, above all to relieve the pension insurance through the - systematically correct - reimbursement of non-insurance benefits from tax revenues. Today it amounts to around a quarter (approx. 75 billion euros) of the total expenditure, but does not cover the total expenditure of non-insurance benefits.
One-time liquidity effects
The liquidity reserve ("fluctuation reserve") was reduced. The payment dates for employers were brought forward by 14 days in 2006. For new pensioners who joined the company from April 1, 2004, the pension payment will be credited on the last bank working day of the month instead of at the beginning of the month as before.
Approval of pension reforms due to population development
The statutory pension insurance was repeatedly adapted to the current social and economic framework conditions, otherwise it would not have proven itself for more than a century. It was precisely the political treatment of the subject of “old-age poverty” that led to open discussions about a system change. Based on this expectation, different conclusions were drawn: On the one hand, demands are made for a system change (e.g. "unconditional basic income", "basic pension", "basic pension"), on the other hand, a further development of the existing system is required (e.g. "Employment Insurance"). One measure taken in recent years has been to raise the standard retirement age to 67. The proponents of pension reforms emphasize that some reform measures would be burdensome in nature, but that they are all aimed at consolidating the welfare state.
Criticism of pension reforms due to population development
Critics of the pension reforms emphasize that a one-sided view of the demographic factor ignores the multitude of aspects that are actually decisive for pension financing. Due to the complexity of the relationship between population development and pension contributions, the unions in particular, but also individual academics such as Gerd Bosbach, criticize those political concepts that call for an increase in the retirement age , pension cuts or increased private provision, for example through private insurance and equity funds. In the opinion of the critics, these concepts primarily served to relieve employers through lower non-wage labor costs and indirect subsidies for the insurance industry. Gerd Bosbach depicts in his criticism of the reformers of the pension that the number of insured employees and the decisive for the amount of contribution payments could be increased by increase in full-employment or employment, except for the already made raising the retirement age for example by
- the increased (full) employment of women and underemployed men (with several million precariously employed)
- reducing unemployment ,
- the mobilization of the silent reserve
- the earlier start of employment,
- the inclusion of civil servants, the self-employed and others in the group of contributors
- the integration of immigrants into the labor market
The premium volume can be increased by increasing the premium rate
- the exclusion of the financing of third-party services through insurance contributions
- the increase in gross income parallel to productivity growth (1–1.5% per year) and / or economic growth
- the increase in the proportional insurance premiums through more permanent positions, full-time contracts, fewer bogus self-employed , less precarious employment and more normal employment .
In addition, the decline in the number of children and adolescents also leads to cost savings, because in a population with a high proportion of children and adolescents, high expenditures must be made for them too, which tend to decrease in the case of under youth. The burden on the employed is not only in the provision of old age, but also in the provision of children, adolescents and young adults in school, training and studies. When considering the burden, all areas must be included, not just retirement benefits.
The fact that employees who are subject to compulsory insurance have to provide for an increasing number of inactive people who are entitled to a pension is not a new phenomenon:
- From 1900 to 1990 the proportion of the population over 65 years of age tripled steadily from 4.9 to 14.9%,
- while the proportion of those under 20 was halved.
- The life expectancy rose from 45 years for men to 76 in 2002,
- the retirement age fell from 70 to 65 years (from 1911).
- The number of people in employment doubled between 1955 and 2014 due to increased employment of women and growing precarious employment.
- GDP tripled in real terms from 1960 to 2005.
- Overall economic labor productivity per employed person rose by 22.7% from 1991 to 2011, according to the Federal Statistical Office in Germany. Labor productivity per hour worked rose by 34.48%. This reflects the simultaneous decrease in the average hours worked per employed person by 7.5%.
Controversial topics of pension insurance in Germany
Introduction of compulsory insurance for everyone
A general compulsory insurance would prevent large sections of the population from neglecting the necessary preventive care without obligation and falling into general welfare in old age. In addition, pension financing would be placed on a more solid basis if the high-income sections of the population were not excluded from the generation contract.
Crisis security of the state pension insurance
Because or when the state determines the rules for pension insurance, it also has the obligation to compensate for financial bottlenecks with taxpayers' money. A legally organized insurance offers a relative security even in the case of liquidity difficulties of the pension insurance company.
Purely private pension systems would not be sufficiently secure for the economy as a whole and their social distributional effect would not be socially balanced. Low-income sections of the population in particular, who particularly need security in old age, would then have to get by without adequate insurance cover (see relative poverty ). Because of various possible forms of market failure (see moral hazard , adverse selection ) and as a result of inflation risks , private providers are unable to offer real annuities for everyone. Private providers would also have to set up reserves for all risks, which would make this insurance more expensive.
Risks of a pay-as-you-go system without reserves
After the currency reform of 1948, neither the state nor the privately organized insurance had reserves for pension payments to the current generation of pensioners. Therefore, the collective service of financing for the elderly - regardless of the type of organization and its respective financing method - must be provided in a direct way by the respective working generations. The formation of macroeconomic reserves is hardly possible (see Mackenroth thesis ). This makes the system extremely vulnerable to crisis situations in which contributions decline.
Lack of equal treatment of pensioners (equality) in the German system
The system that emerged after the pension reform of 1957 in the Adenauer era is strongly based on the conservative German welfare state tradition. The pensions are largely funded by contributions, not taxes, according to an insurance principle. They are not provided by a state authority, but by independent institutions; their amount remains closely linked to earned income. Originally there were egalitarian ideas of the social democrats, which in 1957 did not come into play because of the majority situation. Only with the increasing financial need of the pension insurance were pension reforms carried out, which had the effect of lowering new pensions and decoupling the pension amount from the amount of the contributions paid. This achieved a leveling effect, albeit in the form of a downward adjustment of the pension levels. Even for middle-income recipients, the pension entitlement is far below the originally set target of 75% of the last net wage.
Decoupling the pension from the dynamics of gross income
What was new about the pension reform of 1957 was the element of “dynamism”, which initially met with strong resistance in the economy. The dynamic pension should move up over time with the gross income of all employees and thus compensate for inflationary devaluation. The background to this regulation was the deeply rooted experience of old-age poverty in a population that had lost their personal savings and private life insurance entitlements in the course of hyperinflation (1923) and the currency reform (1948). Recently, however, the financial burdens on the pension insurance have increased, so that the dynamic pension has been significantly restricted in several pension reforms and the pension amount has now in fact been decoupled from the development of gross income.
Constitutional property guarantee despite a lack of capital
According to the case law of the Federal Constitutional Court , pension entitlements are protected by the property guarantee of the Basic Law insofar as they are based on one's own pension contributions. However, the pension insurance has not formed a capital stock from which paid contributions can be paid out. This is why the next generation is obliged to secure the old-age pension of the current pensioners (possibly their own parents).
Lack of support for families with children
This pay-as-you-go system, known as the generation contract , can only work if the working generation can raise a sufficient number of children and if these children then also pay insurance contributions into the GRV as employees. This gives rise to community responsibilities to those who have children. However, this has not been sufficiently implemented in social legislation.
Overemphasis on the aging of the population
Critics object that this view of the jurisprudence - largely shaped by Paul Kirchhof - overemphasizes the importance of children in a pay-as-you-go system. Contrary to Kirchhoff's monocausal, purely demographic perspective, social insurance comes under pressure mainly for two completely different reasons: The expansion of the low-wage sector with little or no contributions has reduced contributions. In addition, wages and salaries, and thus contributions, did not grow in line with productivity and national income. Correspondingly, more employees should pay into social security or income should be more closely aligned with increasing productivity. A shrinking population can be managed through the increasing integration of the formerly unemployed into working life, through the activation of the hidden reserve and through an increase in the female employment rate in particular , especially through the creation of full-time jobs subject to insurance.
Higher pension payments in East Germany
The East German pensioners are often referred to as subsidy recipients because their residents "have never paid into the West German GRV". This gives the impression that the West German contributors or the Federal Treasury have to finance all pensions there. However, this ignores the fact that this is a pay-as-you-go financing. Thus, on the day of reunification, the compulsory insurance contributions and pensions there began. If an independent fund had been set up for this purpose, its percentage grant requirement would initially have been similar to that in West Germany. This fund would also have felt the growing problems with the age pyramid and the drop in contributions due to unemployment , the latter, however, to a greater extent than in the West. Therefore, a higher tax subsidy is actually required, but it should be valued in the same way as other reunification costs. On the other hand, the East German figures show that the average pension payment is higher there, while at the same time a lower average pension insurance contribution is paid due to the lower wage level. Subsidizing East German pensioners by West German and East German residents in the old federal states cannot be dismissed as a matter of principle.
There are other explanations for the higher average pension in the east: There were no civil servants there; the corresponding, rather above-average paid state-administrative activities were carried out as employees and now require pension payments, which affect the amount of the average pension east. As in the West, new employees in these areas are now civil servants, so they do not contribute to the pay-as-you-go system for their predecessors. In the west of Germany the civil servants have an independent supply from tax revenues; these payments are not included in the calculation of the average pension west. Furthermore, East German women had more years of work on average.
On the other hand, many West German pensioners have additional retirement benefits from company pensions and life insurance, so that the comparison of the average pensions east and west from the GRV does not represent a comparison of the actual average pensioner income.
Disadvantages for prisoners due to a lack of pension insurance
Prisoners who work during their imprisonment period without having a free employment relationship outside the institution are not insured for a pension because of their work in prison; in this respect, they do not acquire any entitlement to a pension. This can have detrimental consequences after discharge, mainly due to the lack of pension provision. Although the legislature had already decided on compulsory pension insurance for prisoners with the passage of the Prison Act in 1976, a special federal law would have been required under Section 198 (3) Prison Act, but such a law has not yet been passed. In order to change this, the petition committee of the German Bundestag was handed a petition on June 6, 2011, which 15 organizations had formulated. In response to a corresponding recommendation by the Petitions Committee, the Bundestag referred the petition to the Federal Government - Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs - on April 3, 2014 and forwarded it to the state representative bodies so that they can re-examine the matter and look for ways to remedy the situation.
As early as 2008, the federal government announced that it “continued to consider the inclusion of prisoners in the statutory pension insurance to be sensible” (BT-Drucksache 16/11362). On April 25, 2013 there was a debate in the Bundestag on this subject. On September 24, 2014, the parliamentary group “Die Linke” introduced a motion to the German Bundestag to include prisoners in the pension, health and long-term care insurance in the future. The plenary debated this again on December 18, 2014. In mid-June 2015, an action by the prisoners' union addressed this matter with a written appeal to the justice ministers of the federal states. On 17./18. In June 2015 the Conference of Justice Ministers decided to instruct the Prison Committee of the Länder to examine the principles and effects of including prisoners in the pension insurance and to present the result to the Ministerial Conference.
Equity of the pension system
In his monograph The Two Class State , Karl Lauterbach criticizes the fact that, unlike in Scandinavia or Great Britain, the problem of justice is almost never discussed in the public debate in Germany, although the injustices are abundantly clear: the poor pensioners subsidize the rich because the life expectancy of low-wage earners 10 years lower than that of those receiving high pensions. Nowhere in Europe is this difference so clear. In comparison with the contributions paid in, the poor whose income is 50% below the average loses 30,000 euros, while those who earn twice as much as the average gain more than 100,000 euros through the pension. The workers paid the employees 'high returns and also covered civil servants' pensions through their taxes.
Lauterbach believes that a pension system like that of Switzerland is much fairer because it is more solidaristic, because a basic pension is financed there from tax revenues. This also puts less strain on the labor market and favors employment. A privatization of the pension system is not an alternative, because the transition generation would then have to bear a double burden.
In the case of the Riester pension, too, the taxpayers paid the tax subsidy for the rich, the poor, who could not afford the insurance, got nothing. It would only have made sense as compulsory insurance for everyone, as it was originally planned. As a private insurance company, it was mainly of benefit to the insurance company and less to the insured. In no other country in the world apart from Germany did insurance companies succeed in being subsidized by taxpayers' money.
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