People living in the UK and drawing a German pension receive a “Certificate of Existence” form once a year from their pension provider. Pensioners must personally sign this certificate of existence and, under normal circumstances, then have their signature certified by an authority or official body in the country of residence. The pensioner then returns the certificate to the pension provider. If this is not done on time, pension payments may be suspended. If you do not receive your certificate of existence form as usual, please contact your German pension provider directly.
Because of the coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, it is important that older people in particular avoid contact with others and travelling on public transport as much as possible for the foreseeable future. For this reason, in some cases different rules apply to the filing of certificates of existence this year:
1. Recipients of a German state pension
A simplified procedure has been introduced for the filing of certificates of existence for 2020 for people resident abroad who receive a pension under the Deutsche Rentenversicherung scheme (DRV, German state pension scheme): certificates of existence do not need to be authenticated by an authority or official body in the UK.
This means that you will not need to visit a German diplomatic mission or UK authority for this purpose this year.
Please find all the relevant information regarding this year’s procedure on the homepage of the German postal service. Please be advised that recipients of German state pensions will also be informed by their pension providers directly via mail.
2. Recipients of reparation pensions
The work of making reparations for National Socialist wrongs remains a high priority for Germany. It is essential that compensation payments continue to be made to holocaust survivors in the usual way in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.
a) Recipients of pensions under the BEG (Bundesentschädigungsgesetz/Federal Compensation Act):
With regard to certificates of existence to be filed by BEG pension recipients with the federal state reparation authorities, the requirements set out in the notes on the back of the relevant forms apply.
In order to protect your health, alternative forms of authentication are also being recognised in addition to the authentication options listed on the forms while the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing. This means you will not need to visit a German diplomatic mission or UK authority for this purpose. Instead you should have your certificate authenticated by
- your doctor or
- your care home manager (if you are a care home resident) or
- a Jewish self-help organisation.
If, in this instance, providing proof of life is problematic, please contact your compensation authority immediately. The London Embassy can provide you with the compensation authorities’ contact details on request.
b) Recipients of pensions under ZRBG (Law regarding the conditions for making pensions payable on the basis of employment in a ghetto):
In light of the worldwide measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, the pension providers concerned have agreed that the following simplified filing procedure will be used in 2020:
You do not need to visit a German diplomatic mission or a UK authority this year. Instead you can sign the certificate of existence and send it back directly to the pension service without official certification. Submissions by fax or email will be accepted in 2020.
c) Persons receiving Art. 2 benefits:
For recipients of benefits under the Art. 2 Agreement (Art. 2-Beihilfen) or their authorised representatives the following is valid in 2020:
The Jewish Claims Conference has simplified their procedure due to the pandemic. Life Certificates do not have to be certified at a German foreign mission (embassy/consulate), but can be sent directly to the Claims Conference. Please contact us if you require further information concerning this year’s procedure.
3. Persons receiving pensions from other pension providers
Please note that the procedures described above only apply to the state pensions mentioned.
The rules regarding certificates of existence and pension payments may be different for other pension providers (e.g. pension institutions or private pension schemes). If you have a pension of this kind, please contact your pension provider directly for details of this year’s procedure.