This statement will only be understood by a few of my readers: I mailed my V901 form about a month ago to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund in Berlin.
Here’s what that means for those of you who don’t speak German Bureaucracy: Rentenversicherung is German for pension insurance. Every person who earns a paycheck in Germany contributes a portion of their check to the pension fund, and the German government does some form of matching. It is in this way that people create retirement funds in Deutschland.
While I was in Germany, I was “localized.” This means that I was on German payroll, German benefits, German vacation allotment, and so forth. My 401k back in the US sat, stagnant, with no contributions for those three years, but a part of every check went into the Rentenversicherung. Three years of monthly contributions is not a fortune, but it’s still a tidy little sum of money that I’m eager to reclaim.
While I could wait until I reach retirement age to get a tiny check from Germany every so often, there’s a way to get this money which is much more useful to me now. Americans who pay into the German pension fund have an option to file a form to request that their contributions (but not the matching funds from the German government) be paid out to them. The V901 is that form. There are a few guidelines:
- You must not have stayed in Germany for more than five years.
- You must not have lived in Germany for at least 24 months prior to filing your claim. Or anywhere in the European Union, I think.
- You must not be averse to filing a really complicated eleven page document through regular mail. I wanted to go to the German Consulate in Miami to do this, but they said I just needed to mail it directly to Berlin.
- If you’re not American, a completely different set of rules applies to you.
I mailed this out over a month ago, and my response was a letter yesterday from an office in Hamburg with, you guessed it, another form to fill out and mail back!
How many forms do you think I’ll need to fill out before this claim is completed?
Editor’s Note: I’m attempting to blog every day in November with CheerPeppers. I don’t expect to succeed because life be crazy, but any blogging in excess of my previous post-free month is a win, right?