CLAIMS CONFERENCE BULLETIN

Since 1997, the German government has been awarding old age pensions to Holocaust survivors based upon work performed for some form of remuneration in Polish ghettos similar to Lodz during World War II. In 2002 Germany enacted supplemental legislation covering this wartime situation. This is the pension commonly known as the Ghetto Pension, or ZRBG in its German acronym.

Since the 2002 legislation, the Claims Conference in conjunction with United States legislators and the Israeli government has been actively engaged in pressing the German authorities to resolve certain problems in the implementation of this pension. The Claims Conference has also held regular meetings with parliamentarians from the different parties in the German Bundestag to brief them on the issues involved. Our efforts to ensure that this and other German social insurance laws may benefit as many survivors as possible are ongoing. Please see “Overview on German Pensions for Work in Ghettos ” for more information.

Child-Rearing Pensions or Benefits

Under German Social Insurance laws, certain pensions or benefits for child-rearing periods (Kindererziehungszeiten) may be claimed by individuals who have the requisite insured work credits. These work credits must have been gained during remunerated employment in Germany or on territory annexed into the Third Reich (such as a Nazi-occupied Ghetto), before, during or after the war. Please see “Overview on Payments for Child Rearing Periods” for more information.

These laws have allowed certain survivors with the qualifying insurance contribution or work credits to receive small pensions (between Euro10- Euro 40 monthly per child) if their children were born before January 1, 1950 in Germany or during flight from Nazi persecution. Other survivors can use child-rearing periods as work credits to increase payments received in conjunction with different German Social Security payments. Neither pensions nor benefits are transferable to the child.

Recent Changes Affecting Survivors

Until now, provisions of the Germany Social Security Code (Section 306) have blocked survivors from receiving the Ghetto Pension if they were already receiving a small social security pension (such as the child rearing payments). But a recent ruling by Germany’s Federal Social Court provides the basis for reassessing certain of these older pensions. Survivors who were awarded very small Social Security pensions prior to the 1997 establishment of the Ghetto Pension may now also file claims to the Ghetto Pension.

Applicants who do so before June 30, 2006 are entitled to retroactive payments to July 1997 if approved. Applications received after that date are retroactive back to the date of application.

Ghetto Pension applicants who were rejected solely on the basis of Section 306 should contact their German Social Security office for a re-assessment and a new Ghetto Pension application. Please note that the laws governing German Social Security are complex. Individuals are urged to seek specialized legal assistance Please see “German Social Security” on the Claims Conference website for relevant contact information and to learn more about the Ghetto Pension and Child Rearing Benefits.

The Claims Conference is not involved in the administration, implementation or processing of Social Security pensions for the German government or its Social Security institutions.

The information presented herein is intended for information purposes only and solely as a general guide. The information is not intended as legal advice and is not legally binding. It is a summary of specific issues and does not represent a definitive or complete statement of the programs and policies of the agencies mentioned. The information may not address the special needs, interests and circumstances of individual recipients. Individual situations differ and recipients are urged to seek individual advice. Individuals seeking specific information on a program are urged to contact the relevant program or to consult their social service agency or help center representative. To the best of our knowledge the information is correct as of the date of this document and this information may change subsequent to the said date: December 2005

For more information: www.claimscon.org