Anyone who, due to illness or accident, is no longer able to work or can only work for a few hours a day can, under certain circumstances, receive a disability pension (Erwerbsminderungsrente). What are the requirements for receiving this type of pension? How much does it amount to? What does “full” and “partial” mean? In this article we will go into the subject in more detail.
Conditions for claiming a disability pension (Erwerbsminderungsrente – “EM”)
In Germany it is not easy to receive the Erwerbsminderungsrente, as over 40% of applications are rejected. In order to receive an EM pension, on the one hand, there must be a clearly defined clinical picture and on the other hand, all legal requirements must be met. The legal basis for this can be found in the Sixth Social Security Code, SGB 6, § 43.
Insurance law requirements: The first condition for receiving it is that you have not yet reached the retirement limit age. In addition, you must have been insured in the public pension insurance scheme for at least 5 years before your application for the Erwerbsminderungsrente. It is also essential that in the 5 years prior to applying for EM you have paid compulsory contributions for at least 3 years for an insured occupation or activity.
Medical requirements: The first step is to verify whether the applicant’s ability to work can be fully or partially recovered through medical or vocational rehabilitation measures. This principle is called “rehabilitation before retirement”. If it is not possible to recover the capacity for work through rehabilitation measures, the extent to which the applicant can still work is examined. On this basis, it is then determined whether full or partial disability is permissible.
Limited in time: As a rule, the Erwerbsminderungsrente is only granted for a certain period of time. Only if it is unlikely that the capacity to work can be recovered, and if someone is able to work less than 3 hours a day, the pension can be approved for an unlimited period. The EM pension entitlement is only granted for as long as the incapacity for work persists. This means that the pension can be withdrawn as soon as the state of health improves. That is why it is important for those receiving this kind of support to apply for an extension at least 6 months before the expiry period.
What does total and partial disability mean?
Anyone who is able to work less than 3 hours a day for health reasons, i.e. due to illness or disability (not only in their job, but in all professions) can be entitled to a full disability pension. Those who can work less than six hours a day but more than three hours a day are entitled to a partial disability pension. Anyone who can work six hours or more per day is not entitled to either.
How much is the amount?
The amount depends on the amount of pension payments accrued up to that point. It is calculated on the basis of information provided annually by Deutsche Renteversicherung, i.e. on the basis of: the salary earned so far by the applicant, the Rentenartfaktor, and the current value of the pension (Renterwert). The sum of the partial Erwerbsminderungsrente is exactly half of the full Erwerbsminderungsrente.
When the value of normal pensions increases, does the value of disability pensions also increase?
Yes! the adjustment of pensions concerns all pensions of the compulsory pension insurance, i.e. in addition to the normal old age pension, for example, also the disability pension and pensions for widows and widowers.
It used to be possible to receive a disability pension without deductions from the age of 63. Since 2012, the age limit is gradually being raised and from 2024, applications for a disability pension without deductions can only be made from the age of 65.
Those who receive an EM pension before reaching this age limit will be subject to tax deductions. The deduction is around 0.3% for each month of early retirement, but never exceeds 10.8%.
How can I receive the Erwerbsminderungsrente?
In order to receive the EM, you must apply to the relevant pension fund. The verification procedures can be very lengthy, sometimes it takes several years before an EM pension is approved. (The social rights of pensioners and disabled people are defended by the VdK association, which has always stood by the older and weaker members of society).
Are there any additional income limits?
For partial disability, the additional income limit is always calculated individually (in 2018 it will be at least €14,798 per year). It is always best to inquire with your pension fund and request the calculation of the individual supplementary income limit. For the total disability pension there is a fixed additional income limit of €6,300 per year. In the calculation of the additional income, not only the professional activities but also the remuneration for honorary work is relevant.