Pensions and life certificates in general
1.1 Recipients of a regular German state pension
Following the introduction of electronic cross-checking of death data between Germany and the United Kingdom, the German state pension scheme (Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund) generally no longer requires people living in the United Kingdom and drawing a German state pension to submit a life certificate. However, a life certificate may still be required in certain individual cases.
Further information can be found on the website of Deutsche Post. Pensioners are notified directly by the pension provider when they receive their pension adjustment notification if a life certificate is required. So if you have received a pension adjustment notification and a life certificate form was not enclosed, then a life certificate is not required this year, and you do not need to do anything.
If, on the other hand, the pensions authority asks you to submit a life certificate, you can have the form certified by any of the following:
- Public authorities e.g. police, municipal or local authorities or pension providers
- Financial institutions
- Priest’s office or rabbinate
- Notary public
- National branch of the Seliger-Gemeinde
- German YMCA
- German Welfare Council
- Association of Jewish Refugees
- Red Cross
Alternatively, you can have it certified at one of the German diplomatic missions.
If you would like to visit the Embassy, please book an appointment with the legalisation desk.
If you would like to have your life certificate certified at the Consulate General in Edinburgh, please book an appointment here.
If you would like to have your life certificate certified at a German Honorary Consulate, please contact the honorary consul for your area directly.
Once the life certificate has been certified, the pensioner must send the form back to the pension service. The address to send it to can be found in Part B of the life certificate. It is important to send the original of the life certificate.
1.2 Persons receiving pensions from other pension providers
Please note that the procedures described above only apply to the state pensions mentioned.
The rules regarding life certificates 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 the current procedure.
Reparation pensions and payments
2.1 Life certificates for reparation pensions
The work of making reparations for National Socialist wrongs is a high priority for the Federal Government and Länder. As things stand, it may be assumed that ongoing compensation payments to Holocaust survivors will continue to be made in the usual way in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.
a) Recipients of pensions under the BEG (Bundesentschädigungsgesetz/ Federal Compensation Act):
With regard to life certificates 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 certification are also being recognised in addition to the certification 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 can have your certificate certified by
- your doctor or
- your care home manager (if you are a care home resident) or
- a Jewish self-help organisation.
If, in your case, 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 (Ghetto Pensions Act):
Now that there is electronic cross-checking of death data between Germany and the United Kingdom, only certain recipients of the (ZRBG) statutory pension ordinarily resident in the UK will be asked to provide a life certificate.
If you are asked to submit a life certificate, the process in 2022 is as follows:
The pensioner must sign the life certificate themselves and visit one of the designated offices in their country of residence in person (see point 1.1 for a list of these), where they will need to provide proof of identity, and can then have the certificate officially certified.
If, for health reasons, the pensioner is unable to visit one of these offices in person, in an exceptional case like this a different person is allowed to certify the certificate, for example if the pensioner has a recent doctor’s certificate stating unequivocally that the pensioner, though unable to travel, is still alive.
The pensioner must return the life certificate to the Pension Service at the address provided in Part B of the life certificate. It is important to send the original of the life certificate.
c) Persons receiving Article 2 payments:
The Jewish Claims Conference has significantly simplified its procedure in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The more flexible arrangements concerning life certificates for recipients of regular payments under the Article 2 agreement (Art. 2-Beihilfen) will remain in place until at least 30 June 2022. Please contact your JCC Office for further details: www.claimscon.org
2.2 Notice regarding a “coronavirus special payment” for victims of National Socialist persecution who are not of Jewish descent
Have you yourself, as a victim of National Socialist persecution not of Jewish descent, ever received a one-off payment from the compensation reserve fund (“Wiedergutmachungs-Dispositions-Fonds” WDF)? Or do you know such a person and wish to inform them of their rights? Then read on!
Under a new directive, victims of National Socialist persecution who have already received a one-off payment from the WDF are entitled to a coronavirus special payment of 1,200 euros for 2021 and 2022 respectively. To claim the coronavirus special payment you need to apply in writing to the Federal Ministry of Finance in Germany.
Details regarding eligibility and how to apply can be found below. You are welcome to email us if you have any further questions about this.
2.3 Federal Government guidelines regarding transitional payments to surviving spouses of victims of National Socialist injustice who, until their death, received on-going payments under the Federal Compensation Act (Bundesentschädigungsgesetz – BEG)
The above-mentioned guidelines came into effect on 27 April 2021.
Under these guidelines, surviving spouses of victims of National Socialist injustice who died after 1st January 2020 and who, until their death, received ongoing payments under the Federal Compensation Act are entitled to receive payments upon request for a transitional period of nine months after the death of their spouse. The amount of these transitional payments is based on the minimum pension under the Federal Compensation Act.
The Recognition Payments Working Group (Arbeitsgruppe Anerkennungsleistungen) at the Federal Office for Central Services and Property Issues (Bundesamt für zentrale Dienste und offene Vermögensfragen - BADV) is responsible for implementing these guidelines.
Further information can be found here.