pension printed on rubber stamp over tax form - in German language: Rente

“The pension is secure,” emphasized Labor Minister Norbert Blüm regularly in the 1990s. Since then there have been a number of reforms to keep the pension system stable in the face of longer life expectancy and a stinking birth rate.

But the situation remains difficult, the federal subsidies from tax funds have had to increase for years. Gesamtmetall boss Stefan Wolf is now calling for a gradual increase in the retirement age to 70 years. An overview of the problem:

Life expectancy in Germany has been increasing for years, while the birth rate is low. The result: fewer and fewer workers have to finance an ever-increasing number of pensioners. According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 18 million people aged 65 and over lived in Germany in 2019.

With a moderate demographic development, their number will reach a peak of 23.3 million by 2037 and then stabilize at this level in the longer term. At the same time, the number of people in work will fall – by between two and ten million by 2060, depending on the statistician’s scenario.

Prior to 2012, workers could retire at age 65 with no deductions. Since then, the retirement age has gradually increased by one to two months from year to year. The retirement age is 66 for people born in 1958 and 67 for those born after 1964. Exceptions to the increase in the retirement age apply, among other things, to severely disabled people and those with reduced earning capacity.

Yes, under certain conditions. Anyone who has paid into the pension fund for at least 45 years can continue to stop working earlier with full income. This used to be possible from the age of 63, but for those born after 1953 the age limit is now also being gradually shifted to 65.

For long-term insured persons who have paid into the pension fund for at least 35 years, it is still possible to retire at the earliest at the age of 63 if they accept a permanent pension reduction. This is up to 14.4 percent. 0.3 percent is deducted from the pension for each month of early retirement.

“There will be no pension cuts and no increase in the statutory retirement age,” it says categorically in the coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. It was also agreed that the contribution rate for pension insurance should not rise above 20 percent during this legislative period. It is currently 18.6 percent, with employees and employers each paying half. According to the coalition agreement, the minimum pension level of 48 percent should also be permanently secured.

In order to better distribute the burden between the generations, the traffic light coalition now wants to set up a capital stock for the statutory pension insurance. Returns on the invested capital should later flow into pension payments.

According to the coalition agreement, the parties want to strengthen the previous pay-as-you-go pension from contributions from the working population “through the participation of women and older workers as well as employment-related and qualified immigration”.

The Deutsche Rentenversicherung provides extensive information on its website. There is also one for the start of the pension and the amount of the pension.