Your Time at Sea has come to an end – These are the Benefits that you could Possibly Apply for
Your time at sea was a good one but also a hard one. You have now decided to go from board and you require information on how your financial situation shall be affected as from now.
The Social Insurance for Seafarers provides you with important social protection in this situation. This is especially the case should you no longer be at sea and you do not have an entitlement to a state pension. We show you how to reach a “safe haven“.
A seaman has also had to face storms in his professional life. There were long periods of unemployment or sickness. Together, we shall clarify which benefits could possibly be granted by the Social Insurance for Seafarers in this new phase of your life.
As far as this is concerned, the conditions that you meet for these benefits are of great importance – such as how long you went to sea. Please contact us. You can make use of the advice provided by the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See Information and Advice Centres.
These are the Conditions for the Social Insurance for Seafarers Benefits
You have to be at least 56 years old in order to receive these benefits
- You are only entitled to the bridging benefit, also referred to as the “seaman´s pension“ and all of the other Social Insurance for Seafarers benefits at the age of 56 at the earliest.
- The other Social Insurance for Seafarers benefits also include the “deduction compensation“: This benefit is paid to a seaman who is in receipt of a reduced full old-age pension (at the age of 60 at the earliest).
A seaman who is in receipt of a “pension for a reduction in earnings capacity” is also entitled to a deduction compensation. This is because it has been reduced due to it having been granted prematurely. There is an entitlement to this deduction compensation as from the age of 56.
- The “benefit before reaching the statutory retirement age“ is paid to you by the Social Insurance for Seafarers if you are in receipt of the full old-age pension. When you have an entitlement to a full old-age pension depends on your individual retirement age.
The “benefit after reaching the statutory retirement age“ is paid to you when you have reached your statutory retirement age at the earliest.
You are no Longer Employed in German or Foreign Shipping
The seaman is entitled to a benefit from the Social Insurance for Seafarers when he is no longer employed in German or foreign shipping.
No Entitlement to a Pension due to a Reduction in Earnings Capacity or a Full Old-age Pension
The bridging benefit can only be paid if you are not entitled to a
- full “pension due to a reduction in earnings capacity“
- full old-age pension (without deductions).
You do not have an entitlement to a bridging benefit should you have an entitlement to one of the above pensions but do not file a pension application. A separate check shall be carried out in order to determine whether you are entitled to a deduction compensation.
In order for you to be entitled to the “benefit before reaching the statutory retirement age“, you are to be in receipt of a premature full old-age pension. This benefit shall then be paid together with your pension. It is hereby of no relevance that your pension is changed or you should even no longer have an entitlement to a pension due to earnings being set off against it.
The “benefit after reaching the statutory retirement age“ shall also be paid together with your full old-age pension.
You are not Entitled to Unemployment Benefit
The bridging benefit follows unemployment benefit I so that it is only paid if you are not entitled to unemployment benefit I. There is also no entitlement to the bridging benefit if you are not in receipt of unemployment benefit I for the following reasons:
- No application has been filed for the unemployment insurance benefit
- You have not registered unemployed
- You are entitled to a sickness benefit instead of unemployment benefit I.
What does "availability" in the job market mean?
Those who are in receipt of unemployment benefit I are to be prepared to accept any reasonable employment. The legislator refers to this readiness as “availability“. There can be many reasons why seamen are no longer able to work at sea: health reasons, but also family difficulties also often play a role (placing an existing marriage at risk or difficulties with bringing the children up). Getting married can also be a reason to terminate the work at sea.
It is therefore of great importance that such reasons are pointed out when applying for unemployment benefit I. You are to state why continued employment at sea is no longer reasonable as far as you are concerned and why an “availability” is no longer possible.
If you are in receipt of unemployment benefit I and are in another European Union or European Economic Area member state, you are entitled to German unemployment benefit I for a continued period of 3 months.
What should you do? You are to file an application in Germany so that you can file an application for continued payment of unemployment benefit I with the labour authority abroad. The Agentur für Arbeit in Germany that was responsible for you in the past, issues form E 301 for this purpose. You also have to present the labour authority abroad with form E 303.
You are not entitled to Unemployment Benefit during the ”Ineligibility Period“
If you terminate your employment at sea, you shall only be entitled to unemployment benefit I from the unemployment insurance 12 weeks later. The Social Insurance for Seafarers is able to pay the bridging benefit during this “ineligibility period“.
No bridging benefit can be paid during ineligibility periods that are in force for other reasons (e.g. a delayed registering unemployed).
The entitlement to unemployment benefit I is also suspended for periods
- during which you are entitled to employment remuneration after the termination of your employment
- during which you have received a payment from your employer instead of holidays (“holiday compensation“)
- during which the contractual or statutory period of notice for your employment has not been adhered to and you have therefore been paid a settlement or compensation
You have not been paid a Temporary Bridging Benefit
The Social Insurance for Seafarers does not pay you any additional benefits if you have already been paid a temporary bridging benefit in the past.
You have met all of the Waiting Times
In order to be paid the bridging benefit, you are to have worked at sea for a period of 20 years (i.e. 240 eligible calendar months). You have then met the so-called “waiting time“.
What is deemed to be waiting time?
The time you spent at sea as an employer that was subject to compulsory insurance or as a coastal shipper or coastal fisher that was subject to compulsory insurance.
What is not taken into account as waiting time?
- Periods during which you have paid voluntary statutory pension insurance contributions
- Credit periods, e.g. times spent at school (including seafaring schools)
- Periods during which you were ill or unemployed
- Periods spent bringing up children
- Periods during which you have been paid unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, injury benefit or severance pay – even if such payments were made directly after your time spent at sea
- Times spent at sea on board ships sailing under a foreign flag, during which you were not compulsorily insured
You have met the "Special Insurance Law Conditions"
You have met the special insurance law conditions of the Social Insurance for Seafarers if you have been an employee in the German seafaring branch for at least 9 years (i.e. 108 months) as from the age of 37 (including high sea and coastal fishing) or as a coastal shipper/coastal fisher.
The calculation date (attaining the age of 37) is brought forward by periods of unemployment as long as you have contribution or credit periods in the pension insurance and these were acquired after you attained the age of 50.
File an Application with our Assistance
You need to file an application for the bridging benefit and the supplementary benefits from the Social Insurance for Seafarers. We recommend that you file the application in good time before you leave your work at sea or before commencement of the pension payments, respectively.
Our tip: let us assist you with the filing of the application. Our experts in the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See Information and Advice Centres would be pleased to advise you. Please do not wait too long if it becomes apparent to you that you shall be leaving your work at sea or that you shall no longer be entitled to unemployment benefit I respectively.
You are entitled to the “seaman´s pension“ and the other benefits from the seafaring insurance as from the date on which the application is filed at the earliest.
Please therefore consult us at an early stage so that anything that is not clear with regard to your insurance account can be clarified without pressure of time.
When you Receive Benefits from the Social Insurance for Seafarers
If you meet all of the conditions for a benefit from the Social Insurance for Seafarers, you will be paid the bridging benefit and other supplementary benefits as from the date on which you have filed the application at the latest.
The “benefits before or after reaching the statutory retirement age“ are paid to you as from the month at the beginning of which, you meet the conditions for this.
Should you apply for the benefit later, it shall be paid as from the calendar month following that in which you have filed the application.
The EU and European Economic Area (EEA) member states are:
Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Principality of Liechtenstein, Greece, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Cyprus.
The above rules regarding unemployment benefit I are also applicable to Switzerland on the basis of a treaty that has been concluded.