The benefits provided by VBLklassik comprise occupational pensions due to old-age and reduced earning capacity, survivors’ pensions for widows and orphans, and reimbursement of contributions. The following overview will help you learn about the benefits provided by VBLklassik in more detail.
VBLklassik occupational pension
An entitlement/claim to occupational pension (Articles 33–37 VBL Statutes) arises when the insured event occurs for an insured person who has completed the waiting/qualifying period.
The decision and notification of the pension insurance provider is relevant when it comes to drawing an occupational pension. For a person insured in the statutory pension scheme, the insured event (§33 VBL Statutes) corresponds to the first day of the month from which he/she is entitled to an old-age pension in the form of a full pension or a pension due to fully or partially reduced earning capacity. And as stated and based on the decision of the pension insurance provider. When and how can you apply for the occupational pension? The following insured events are relevant:
- Standard old-age pension as a full pension (§35 of the German Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch VI – SGB VI))
- Old-age pension for long-term insured persons as a full pension (Articles 36, 236 SGB VI)
- Old-age pension for severely disabled persons as a full pension (Articles 37, 236a SGB VI)
- Old-age pension due to unemployment or following partial old-age retirement as a full pension (§237 SGB VI; applies for those born up to 31.12.1951)
- Old-age pension for women as a full pension (§237a SGB VI; applies for those born up to 31.12.1951)
- Old-age pension for insured persons with exceptionally long contribution history as a full pension (Articles 38, 236 SGB VI)
- Old-age pension for insured persons with long history of underground mining employment as a full pension (Articles 40, 238 SGB VI)
- Pension due to fully or partially reduced earning capacity (Articles 43, 240 SGB VI)
Drawing an old-age pension from the statutory pension insurance as a partial pension does not constitute an insured event. Proof that an insured event has occurred must be provided by presenting a copy of the pension decision notification issued by the statutory pension scheme. The notification concerning the pensioner’s health insurance must also be attached to the pension application on a special form. You can either obtain pension application forms from your employer or download them from our website.
Or you can do it the easy way by accessing our client portal, “Meine VBL”, and preparing your pension application simply and conveniently online. If you do not complete it in one go, the last version of your processing status will be saved in Meine VBL. That way you can continue working on it at a later stage. After preparing your application for an occupational pension (L600A) you can send it directly to the VBL. Please don’t forget to attach the necessary documents, such as the copy of the pension decision notification issued by the statutory pension insurance and the information on health and nursing care insurance (L305). In the case of a reduced earning capacity pension you must forward the pension application to the VBL via your employer, if you were subject to compulsory insurance up to the occurrence of the insured event. A webcode sent by e-mail authorises them to provide the additional information (L600B) for your pension application.
The waiting/qualifying period (§34 VBL Statutes) for an entitlement/claim to an occupational pension amounts to 60 calendar months. The waiting/qualifying period takes into account each calendar month during which, until the beginning of the occupational pension, premiums or contributions for the compulsory insurance scheme were paid for at least one day. The waiting/qualifying period is also deemed to have been completed before the lapse of 60 months if the insured event occurs due to an occupational accident which is connected with the employment relationship on the basis of which the employee was subjected to compulsory insurance. The occupational accident must be verified by a decision issued by the provider of the statutory accident insurance (trade association).
Vested entitlement/claims arise immediately as a result of the employee’s contributions to the funded scheme in the Eastern Länder of Germany (§1 par. 2 no. 4 in conjunction with §1b par. 5 of the German Occupational Pensions Act (Betriebsrentengesetz)). For this portion of the entitlement/claim, the following special feature applies to the completion of the 60-month waiting/qualifying period: calendar months without expenses for the compulsory insurance scheme after leaving the compulsory insurance scheme are also taken into account for the waiting/qualifying period. With regard to the immediately vested entitlement/claim, therefore, the waiting/qualifying period can also be completed simply through the passing of time.
The waiting/qualifying period is also deemed to have been completed for that portion of the deferred entitlement/claim from the compulsory insurance scheme which is vested under §1b par. 3 in conjunction with paragraphs 1 and 30f of the German Act on Improving Occupational Pensions (Gesetz zur Verbesserung der betrieblichen Altersversorgung – BetrAVG). This means that an employee who has received a pension promise to be paid benefits from the occupational old-age pension retains the entitlement/claim if the employment relationship ends before the immediate entitlement/claim arises but after the employee’s 25th birthday and, if at that time, the pension promise has existed for at least five years (vested deferred entitlement/claim).
Please note: Under the German Act Implementing the EU Mobility Directive (Gesetz zur Umsetzung der EU-Mobilitätsrichtlinie), from 1 January 2018 the statutory vesting period for occupational pension entitlement/claims was reduced from five years to three. Among other things, this new regulation has implications for the insurance obligations of older employees.
Employees who cannot complete the waiting/qualifying period of 60 premium/contribution months by the time they reach the age for a deduction-free standard old-age pension are excluded from the insurance obligation under the regulations of the ATV and the VBL Statutes (§2 par. 1 sentence 1(b) ATV/§26 par. 1(b) VBL Statutes). In anticipation of a possible collective labour agreement adjustment in future, this regulation must be reviewed to take into account the new vesting period of three years under the German Occupational Pensions Act:
For employees who received a promise regarding occupational old-age pension benefits because their employment contract started before 1 January 2018, the previous five-year vesting period still applies. However, the employer must check whether these employees can still acquire deferred entitlement/claims in the relevant employment relationship for three years starting from 1 January 2018 and thus achieve the new vesting period of three years (see §30f BetrAVG).
If you have any questions in this respect, our customer service will be happy to help you.
The monthly occupational pension (§35 VBL Statutes) is the amount obtained by multiplying the total number of pension points acquired up to the beginning of the occupational pension by the base amount of EUR 4.
The occupational pension due to partially reduced earning capacity amounts to half of the occupational pension that would result from fully reduced earning capacity (§35 para. 2).
If a pensioner draws pension from the statutory pension insurance before reaching the pensionable age for the standard old-age pension and the pension is therefore reduced due to an early claim, the occupational pension is also reduced. For each month of the early claim it is reduced by 0.3 %, but not by more than 10.8 % in total (§35 para. 3).
If an immediately vested entitlement/claim exists based on the employee contribution to the funded scheme in the Eastern Länder of Germany, the basis of calculation of the occupational pension arising from that partial entitlement/claim consists of the pension points based on that employee contribution, including any pension points from old-age provision allowances. (Altersvorsorgezulagen)
Other deductions apply to the portion of the pension arising from old-age provision allowances (Eastern Länder of Germany only). For each calendar month of the early claim, that portion of the pension is reduced by 0.4 %.
By law, the VBL must retain contributions to the statutory health insurance and nursing care insurance from the occupational pension, and pay them to the health insurance company.
The health insurance contributions from the occupational pension are calculated according to the full general overall contribution rate of the respective health insurance company. Those contributions must be borne solely by the pensioners.
The same applies for contributions to the nursing care insurance. In this case, from 1 January 2017 an overall contribution rate of 2.55 % must be retained.
For childless insured persons of the nursing care insurance scheme, the overall contribution rate was increased to 2.80 % with effect from 1 January 2017. This increase does not apply to pensioners born before 1 January 1940. The same applies for persons entitled to an orphan’s pension who have not yet reached their 23rd birthday, as well as persons performing military or civilian service.
Besides biological parents also adoptive parents, stepparents and foster parents are exempt from the contribution increase. Proof of parental status must be submitted to the VBL.
As a rule, the occupational pension begins the same date as the pension from the statutory scheme commences. If the statutory pension is curtailed, refused or only partially paid, this also affects the occupational pension (see “Suspension/pro rata reduction of the occupational pension”).
The occupational pension is increased by 1 % on 1 July of each year. The indexation of the occupational pension is laid out in §39 VBL Statutes.
The suspension/pro rata reduction of the occupational pension is regulated in §41 VBL Statutes.
- The occupational pension is suspended for as long as the pension from the statutory pension scheme is wholly or partially refused.
- The occupational pension is also suspended as long as the entitled person has his/her place of residence or habitual residence outside a Member State of the European Union and fails to appoint an authorised recipient in Germany despite a request from VBL to that effect. The VBL may allow exceptions.
- The occupational pension is not paid from the moment when the old-age pension from the statutory pension scheme ends because the supplementary income limit has been exceeded, in accordance with §100 par. 3 clause 1 in conjunction with §34 par. 2 SGB VI. On request, payment recommences - from the first day of the month - when the statutory pension scheme restart their payment.
- If, with regard to the statutory pension, due to the amount of the supplementary income (§34 par. 3 in conjunction with §42 SGB VI), after the insured event for the full amount of old-age pension occurred, a partial pension is then paid, the VBL, as of 1 July 2003, only pays the corresponding partial amount of the occupational pension (§41 par. 1 clause 3). However, the conditions for the occurrence of the insured event for the old-age pension in the supplementary pension scheme are not changed as a result. An insured event only occurs if an entitlement/claim to a full old-age pension exists in the statutory pension scheme.
- If the insured event occurred due to fully or partially reduced earning capacity and if the pension from the statutory pension insurance is not paid or is only partially paid due to supplementary income, the occupational pension is also not paid or is only paid to a corresponding partial amount.
- In the case of survivors’ pensions, income is handled in accordance with the regulations of the statutory pension insurance. Any exempted amounts and the income counted towards abatement of the pension from the statutory pension insurance are not considered. Thereafter, abatement of income only occurs if the supplementary income limits under §97 par. 2 SGB VI are exceeded. As with the statutory pension insurance, 40 % of the portion exceeding the exempted amount is abatable; 60 % remains exempt from deduction. Double abatement of amounts which have already been considered by the statutory pension does not occur. The abatable income includes not only salary payments but also other pension payments such as the pension from the statutory pension insurance scheme or benefits from the occupational old-age pension scheme arising from one’s own insurance.
In the event of divorce, the family courts generally also determine the pension rights equalisation. As part of the execution, the VBL must provide information to the family court on the pension entitlement/claims of the insured spouse. This information includes entitlement/claims from both the compulsory and the voluntary insurance.
The regulations on pension rights equalisation was fundamentally reformed as of 1 September 2009. In principle, an internal division is envisaged. This means that vested rights acquired during the marriage within the respective pension system are divided between the spouses. On the basis of a legally binding decision of the family court, therefore, the entitlement/claim of the spouse subject to an equalisation obligation must be reduced accordingly, while an entitlement/claim with the same pension institution is transferred to the spouse entitled to an equalisation. Where a VBL entitlement/claim is transferred, the spouse entitled to an equalisation thereby receives, as a result, their own entitlement/claim with respect to the VBL, and can apply for an occupational pension after the occurrence of their insured event.
The spouses also have the option of concluding agreements on pension rights equalisation. A precondition for this is that the applicable regulations permit this and the pension institution involved agrees to it.
VBLklassik for survivors
The widow of an insured person has an entitlement/claim to an occupational pension (§38 VBL Statutes) if the marriage with the deceased person still existed at the moment the insured person passed away and the widow receives a widow’s pension from the statutory pension insurance.
If the marriage has been in existence for less than 12 months, in principle there is no entitlement/claim to a widow’s pension (see §38 par. 2). However, in such a situation the widow is free to present proof that the sole and overriding purpose of the marriage was not to obtain a pension for her. If such proof is produced, the entitlement/claim to a pension exists even if the marriage has been in existence for less than 12 months. The same applies for widowers.
The marital (or equivalent) children of the deceased insured person or the deceased person entitled to an occupational pension (§38 VBL Statutes) are entitled to an occupational pension if a corresponding pension is paid from the statutory pension insurance (§48 SGB VI). Children include stepchildren, foster children and other relatives/dependants accepted into the deceased person’s household in accordance with §48 par. 3 SGB VI. The orphan is entitled to an occupational pension until his/her 18th birthday. After that date an entitlement/claim exists until the 25th birthday if and as long as a child of the deceased person
- is attending school or doing vocational training or
- is performing a voluntary social or ecological year or
- is unable to maintain him/herself due to a physical, mental or emotional disability.
After the 25th birthday an entitlement/claim to an orphan’s pension only exists if the school or vocational training was interrupted or delayed due to statutory military or civilian service and for that reason the education continues past the 25th birthday. In such cases, the entitlement/claim is extended by the period of that service but by no more than a period corresponding to the duration of the statutory basic military service or civilian service.
The entitlement/claim to a widow’s, widower’s or orphan’s pension is derived from the occupational pension of the deceased person. Relevant regulations of the statutory pension insurance must also be taken into account here. The occupational pension for widows, widowers and orphans is calculated from the occupational pension of the deceased person. If the deceased person had not yet drawn an occupational pension, the basis for calculation is the occupational pension that the deceased person could have claimed if he/she had retired at the moment of his/her death due to fully reduced earning capacity.
- The type (small/large occupational pension for widows/widowers),
- amount (the pension type factor applicable after the end of the “death quarter” under §67 nos. 5 and 6 and §255 par. 1 SGB VI) and
- duration of the entitlement/claim is based on the relevant regulations of the statutory pension insurance.
Where a large widow’s pension is drawn from the statutory pension insurance, the occupational pension is as follows:
- for widows and widowers: 60 % (55 %*)
- for an orphan: 20 %
- for a dependent child of a deceased pension scheme member: 10 %
*only applies for married couples
- who married after 31 December 2001 or
- where both spouses were born after 1 January 1962.
The occupational pension of the deceased person amounts to EUR 500.
If the marriage was concluded before 1 January 2002 and at least one spouse was born before 2 January 1962, the occupational pensions for the parties equal the following amounts of the above:
- For the widow/widower: €300
- For a dependent child of a deceased pension scheme member: €50
- For an orphan: €100
If the total of occupational pensions for all the surviving dependants is a higher amount than the occupational pension of the deceased person, the survivors’ pensions will be reduced by an equal proportion so that the occupational pension of the deceased person is not exceeded.
In principle the occupational pension for survivors begins at the same time from which the survivors’ pension is paid from the statutory pension insurance (see §99 par. 2 SGB VI).
Contribution reimbursement under VBLklassik
A non-contributory insured person who has not completed the waiting/qualifying period (§44) is entitled to contribution reimbursement.
The following are reimbursed:
- the compulsory contributions paid for the time before 1 January 1978, including the employee shares in the amounts of increase,
- the employee shares in the amounts of increase paid for the time after 31 December 1977,
- the individual contributions of the person subject to compulsory insurance paid for the time after 31 December 1998,
- the contributions to the voluntary continuing insurance paid for the time before 1 January 2002.
The premiums paid by the employer are non-refundable. Contribution reimbursement can only be applied for up to the insured person’s 68th birthday and before turning 69.
Special feature in the Eastern Länder of Germany collective bargaining area
The employee share in the contribution to the funded scheme in the Eastern Länder of Germany collective bargaining area of the VBL for periods after 31 December 2003 are non-refundable. The entitlement/claims to an occupational pension based on these are vested immediately (§1 par. 2 no. 4, second sub-clause in conjunction with §1b par. 5 BetrAVG). These entitlement/claims cannot be covered through a contribution reimbursement. Where the other conditions are fulfilled, they lead to a partial entitlement/claim to an occupational pension.