Deutsche Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See
Regionaldirektion Nord
Millerntorplatz 1
20359 Hamburg


Phone: +49 40 30 388-0
Fax: +49 40 30 388-19 77

Seafarer's special fund

Seafarer’s special fund supports retirement of seafarers

The seafarer’s special fund provides a „bridging allowance“ and „benefits paid after reaching the standard minimum pensionable age“ for seafarers after their employment or self-employment in the seafaring industry has ended. In doing so it honours the particular strain of working on board of seagoing ships. The seafarer is offered the opportunity of early retirement by providing a pension payment bridging the period between the retirement from sea service and the start of the standard old-age pension payments. In that the seafarer’s special fund provides enhanced social security for seafarers.

The benefits of the seafarer’s special fund are paid all over the world.

The bridging allowance is only paid on application

Bridging allowances and the benefits paid after reaching of the standard minimum pensionable age are paid on application. It is recommended to submit the application early, prior to retirement from sea service or to the start of pension drawing, as this may affect the start of payments. Generally, a preliminary application can be filed without form, with the relevant form completed and submitted at a later stage. It is further recommended, to file the application in one of the information offices of the Knappschaft-Bahn-See (KBS). Application forms are also accepted by all municipal social security agencies.

For application forms and further information on the seafarer’s special fund please click read the website of KBS (only in German).

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Contributions and benefits

The seafarer’s special fund is financed by the contributions of the insured seafarers and their employers.

The benefits of the seafarer’s special fund are regarded as income which entails compulsory contributions to the statutory health and nursing care insurance.

Furthermore these benefits are regarded as taxable income according to the German income tax law.

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Start of benefits from the seafarer’s special fund

The seafarer’s special fund starts paying the bridging allowance and the supplementary assistance generally one day after the preconditions have been fulfilled, but not before the application has been filed.

If an entitlement to a bridging allowance or to supplementary assistance being paid as bridging allowance exists during the month of reaching the standard minimum pensionable age, the start of the benefits paid after reaching the standard minimum pensionable age will be delayed until the following month.

The bridging allowance is not subject to the regular increase of statutory pensions.

The provisions for maintenance settlement in case of divorce and for tax splitting for married couples are not applied to the bridging allowance.

Seafarers, who have completed the qualifying period for the bridging allowance may receive, in addition to the information on the expected amount of the statutory old-age pension, information on the amount of the bridging allowance. If no such information has been provided, seafarers may inquire at the Knappschaft-Bahn-See, who will also inform about the expected amount of the bridging allowance. To ensure reliability of the information the pension insurance account must have been settled. The information is only valid for the current state of the pension insurance account. Prospective periods of contributions will not be considered, not even as a prediction.

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