Germany has made a historic amendment to the social security law in favor of its migrant workers.
About two years ago, Ghanaians in German petitioned the Government of Ghana to enter into a bilateral agreement on old age pension with the German Government. The Union of Ghanaian Associations in Germany – UGAG, who submitted the petition on behalf of all Ghanaian Unions and Institutions in Germany, has since been mounting fervent pressure to ensure that the petition meets the approval of both governments and enable every Ghanaian the right to claim full pension entitlements and the payment of pensions upon their return to Ghana when on pension.
As at now, Ghanaians who retire and wishes to return to Ghana or chooses to live in any non-EU State is paid only 70% of the pension which is due to him/her.
A Ghanaian who is supposed to receive 500.00€ as monthly pension in Germany will only get the 500.00€ when he/she continues to live in Germany. If the beneficiary decides to relocate to Ghana or any other nation, which is not a member of the European Union receives 350.00€ - thus 70% - and not the full 500.00€. Alternatively, if he/she chooses to claim his/her pension in bulk instead of monthly remittances, he/she is paid 70% of his total contributions made. This is just because Ghana does not have a bilateral agreement on social security with Germany.
The good news is that Germany has made a historic amendment to the social security law in favor of migrant workers whose countries of origin have no bilateral agreement on pension scheme with Germany. In accordance with the amendment, with effect from 1st October, 2013, every Ghanaian who chooses to return to Ghana whiles on pension, shall receive 100% of his entitlement due to him/her.
From 1st October, 2013, Ghanaians as well as all foreigners, whose countries of origin have no bilateral agreement on pension with Germany, will be treated equally. That means no more 70% but 100% pension, no matter where you choose to live and collect your pension.
The great news is that all those who went on pension from 1992 and relocated to their countries of origin or any other place other than Germany and for that reason received 30% less of what was due to them, will get it refunded to them. This means retrospectively from 01.01.1992 they will get the pension recalculated, a new and corrected pension slips sent to them and the deducted 30% refunded to them. A refund for the period of 249 months as per 30th September, 2013.
Those who went on retirement from 1992 need NOT take any action. But they will be shocked to fine huge amount of money on their bank account, if because of the poor addressing systems; the information does not reach them at all or on time. For example someone who received just 100.00€ less per month from the 01.01.1992 will be due to get about 24900.00€ refunded to him/her!
Anyone who went on retirement before 1992 will ONLY get consideration, if they apply for it. That means, unlike those from 1992, those who went on pension up to 31.12.2013, must actively submit an application before they can be considered. The applications must be submitted latest by 31.12.2017.
How can the beneficiaries, their surviving spouses or children be informed about this changes or good news?
We want to use this opportunity to appeal to the embassies and consuls, the mass media, the radios and local union, churches and all fellow Ghanaians to cascade this information to whoever it may concern.
Should anyone have any questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to approach your responsible pension office, German Embassies and other responsible office.
By Alexander Okai Anane
President, Ghana Union Stuttgart e.V.