Pension insurance warns: basic pension under time pressure


KShortly after the coalition agreement on the basic pension, serious doubts arise as to whether their implementation at the planned start date of 1 January 2021 is technically possible. The pension insurance warned on Wednesday that it was questionable whether they get the data necessary for an income test in time from the tax authorities. In the run-up to the current decisions on the basic pension, the Lander had informed the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs that the finance administration for IT projects of such magnitude requires experience of about two years.

Dietrich Creutzburg

However, "largely automated procedures" are a "crucial prerequisite for being able to administer a basic pension with income test with justifiable expense," said the President of the German Pension Insurance Association, Gundula Robbach on Wednesday in Wurzburg.

"If the electronic data interchange with the financial administration can not be realized in the ambitious timetable, we assume an additional need of several thousand additional places with the old-age pension insurance." Moreover, the decision of Union and SPD leaves still many detailed questions, which for the technical Implementation should be clarified – which is only to be expected in the legislative process.

Pension insurance could require a thousand new employees

With a smooth course this could probably be completed in March or April. This suggests that the Pension Insurance 2020 may have to hire several thousand new employees within a few months – for example, if it turns out in July that the tax offices of the 16 countries can not deliver the necessary data punctually in a form suitable for electronic processing. Then, pensions officers might need to manually evaluate tax assessments and other data from up to 4 million potential retirees.

"We make every effort to ensure that we can meet the requirements of the resolutions," Robbach emphasized. However, it requires the participation of many actors; In addition to the tax offices, the registration offices would probably also have to be included in the data exchange. If the pension insurance actually needs several thousand new employees in the short term, the Federal Employment Agency will also have to help to quickly find suitable candidates. From Berlin it can be heard that in the often overburdened district offices there are already worries that pension insurance will soon hire them.

The party leaders of Union and SPD had decided on Sunday a compromise on the basic pension. It provides that the pension insurance automatically increases the remuneration of long-term insured low earners if their total income falls below certain thresholds; planned are 1250 euros for single persons and 1950 euros for retirees in couple households. In addition, there should also be a "glide zone" in which the new pension supplements do not drop abruptly but gradually to zero.

High examination costs

Details are not yet determined politically. The main condition for the receipt of a basic pension is according to plan that the insured had accumulated at least 35 years of contributions through work, child rearing or caring for relatives and that their contributory earnings were below 80% of the average wage.

Since not all periods of insurance count as contribution periods for the basic pension, it will be a great expense, according to Robbach, to check this – especially since the basic pension should also be given to seniors who have long been retired. Especially with insured persons from the former GDR, the examination of the contribution years will often be very costly.

Another difficulty is that senior citizens should receive a basic pension abroad; 1.5 million recipients of German pension live there in total. Introducing an automatic data exchange with tax authorities in Naples, Istanbul or Tokyo for the income test should be difficult. What happens if the exam can not be implemented by January 1, 2021 seems politically open. The SPD would probably not lock itself, if necessary, to introduce the basic pension without examination.

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