With pension splitting, couples divide their pension entitlements among themselves. As a result, one of the partners – usually the woman – receives a higher pension. She keeps this even after the death of her partner and remarriage – in contrast to the widow’s pension.

Couples have been able to choose pension splitting as an alternative to the widow’s pension since 2002. However, many insured persons do not even know this.

In the process, both partners divide the pension entitlements from their marriage among themselves. The time from the wedding date to the start of the retirement pension counts. All the provisions mentioned below also apply to registered civil partnerships that have been established since January 1, 2005.

With pension splitting, both partners divide their pension entitlements acquired during the marriage equally. The partner with the higher pension entitlements – usually the man – gives up parts of his entitlements to the partner who has fewer provisions.

Advantage of pension splitting: After the death of one of the two partners, this pension remains with the surviving partner even after remarriage. This distinguishes the split pension from a widow’s pension.

Before deciding to split your pension, you must have completed your working life. This means that one of the two partners is entitled to a full old-age pension. The unentitled partner must have reached the regular retirement age. For those born in 1957, it is 65 years and eleven months.

In order for pension splitting to take place at all, couples have to meet a number of conditions. The German pension insurance lists:

Pension splitting is possible if couples

If pension splitting was not permitted during the lifetime of both partners due to the strict requirements, after the death of one of the two partners the other can opt for pension splitting. The prerequisite is the mentioned 25 years of pensionable periods.

According to pension insurance, a pension splitting is binding for everyone involved. After a joint declaration for a pension splitting has been submitted, there is no longer any possibility of switching to a widow’s pension if the partner dies.

A sample calculation for the old federal states shows the effect of a pension equalization with the values ​​that have been in force since July 2022. Since that time, the value of a pension-relevant payment point (EP, often called “pension point”) has been EUR 36.02 per month.

Background: An EP expresses the amount of monthly old-age pension for someone who has earned on average for a year and paid pension contributions on it. Anyone who earns exactly the same amount as the average salary of all those subject to pension insurance receives a full pension point. In 2022, the average salary was 38,901 euros, in 2023 the provisional value is 43,142 euros. The amount will be finally calculated during the year. Since July 1, 2022, a full pension point has brought a monthly pension of EUR 36.02 in the old federal states.

The German pension insurance emphasizes that couples have to check carefully whether a survivor’s pension or pension splitting is cheaper. The pension insurance company offers interested parties free advice.

This works out

The FOCUS Online Guide answers all important questions about pensions on 135 pages. Plus 65 pages of forms.