Social Security

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In Germany, social security (Sozialversicherung) is mandatory for all employees independent of their nationality and includes five components:

  • Health Insurance (Krankenversicherung)
  • Long-term Care/ Nursing Care Insurance (Pflegeversicherung)
  • Pension Scheme (Rentenversicherung)
  • Unemployment Insurance (Arbeitslosenversicherung)
  • Accident Insurance (Unfallversicherung)

As an employee on a contract, about 40% of your gross salary is automatically deducted for social security payments. You can find a quick overview of the individual components below.

Living and Working in Europe is a brochure published by the federal pension office (Deutsche Rentenversicherung) , which provides an overview of the social security system for foreigners. The webpages of Euraxess, the EU's network of professionals providing information and assistance to mobile researchers, describe the German social security system. Official information by the German government can be found in the Social Security at a Glance PDF file.

You will automatically be registered with social security at the beginning of your contract and receive a letter with your personal social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer). Store it carefully since you might need it for later inquires.

If you are on a scholarship, you are exempt from social security, which means you don't have to pay but you are also ineligible to use the services. You are, however, required to obtain health insurance yourself. Please check the health insurance section for details. Under some circumstances, scholarship holders may be covered by accident insurance. Check with your personal support contact at your institution.


Updated 09/09/2021 3:36pm