Will I get a German social security number?
Well, sort of.
When you start a new job, your employer will register you for your Sozialversicherungsausweis as part of the registration process for payroll tax. This is a document with a unique ID that is similar to the social security number in the US. It proves that you pay into statutory social security schemes, such as health insurance. Remember, whether you choose public or private health insurance, this cover is mandatory in Germany.
If you pay into a German pension, you will receive another document called a Rentenversicherungsausweis, which has a different unique ID.
By the way: We know taxes and contributions are complicated at the best of times, and even more so in a foreign country. If you need guidance, check out our simple guide to German taxes!
What does social security in Germany cover?
The clue is in the name. Sozialversicherung translates literally as ‘social insurance’. Employees pay various contributions from their salary to create a comprehensive safety net of state benefits, including:
- Unemployment insurance
- Health insurance
- Old-age pension insurance
- Disability insurance
- Social care
The German social security system is set down in the Sozialgesetzbuch, also known as the Social Code or SGB for short. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) has produced a comprehensive English-language guide to the German social security system, which you can download here.
What about my US social security arrangements?
Beneficiaries of the US Social Security Administration should direct all queries regarding US social security entitlements and payments to the SSA Federal Benefits Unit at the US Consulate General in Frankfurt.