Belfast Telegraph

German pension claims rejected by government

I worked in Germany from 1966 to 1974, contributing to my 'rentenversicherung' (pension insurance). This was taken directly from my pay. I recently sought to apply for my pension from the German government. It has refused to make any payment to me, claiming that a refund was issued to me in 1976. I never received any such refund. They have failed to provide any proof that the money was refunded. TT

According to the records of the German pension insurance agency, you applied for a refund of your contributions on September 22, 1976. The agency's records also show that 8,060 Deutsche Marks were paid to you on February 25, 1977, representing the refund of your contributions.

A German court has refused to consider your submission seeking a payment of your retirement pension on the grounds that you cannot prove that you did not receive the contributions repayment.

The pension insurance agency's own detailed records from that time no longer exist, so it is not possible to inspect the paperwork to establish whether it is your own signature on the refund claim. Our repeated requests to speak to the agency went unanswered.

We also attempted to discuss the matter with your employer from the time.

However, it is not listed in phone or business directories, it is not shown as trading from the address that it used at the time you were employed and there are no recent references to it on the web.

The German embassy in London can also find no current contact details for the business. We must therefore assume it is no longer trading.

It seems to us that all options in trying to obtain this pension have now been exhausted.

Update: On August 27 in Your Money we published an inquiry by a reader who complained that Santander had written to say it had withdrawn from its promised "free banking forever" on small firms' current accounts it had taken over from Abbey.

We advised the reader to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

We are pleased to report that Santander has reviewed its decision and will continue to provide these bank accounts to existing customers on a free of charge basis.