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What is the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony?

The Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony (Apothekerversorgung Niedersachsen) is – as a professional pension insurance carrier – a facility of the Pharmaceutical Society of Lower Saxony (Apothekerkammer Niedersachsen) which was founded on the 1st of January, 1980. It is administered for and by pharmacists. On the 1st of January, 1984, the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony, as the result of an interstate treaty, expanded to include the members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Hamburg. As a consequence of German reunification, the professional pension insurance carrier grew further to also cover the members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Saxony-Anhalt, again based on an interstate treaty which entered into force on the 1st of January, 1995. For more than 40 years we have been responsible for the reliable and future-oriented old-age pension, occupational invalidity cover, and survivors’ benefits scheme of our members.

Our main task is the provision of dependable and future-oriented old-age pension, occupational invalidity and survivor’s benefits to our members. 

  • We provide information around the clock in a reliable and competent manner and advise you on questions regarding payment of contributions and the drawing of benefits.

  • We ensure secure and profit-yielding investment of assets.

  • Our administration is organised in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Providing personal support to our members is of the utmost important to us with:

  • a consistent, assigned contact person and time for individual consultations

  • prompt responses 

  • a high quality service and standards

A mandatory member is, in principle, anyone who is a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, or Saxony-Anhalt, who has not reached the normal retirement age with its consequent entitlement to old-age pension according to § 16 Para. 1 of the Articles of Incorporation of the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony at the time of becoming a member, and who is not unfit for work within the meaning of the Articles of Incorporation of the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony. The obligation to participate is binding by act of law. 

  • However, you are required to register as registration is not automatic.

    We recommend your timely registration to avoid disadvantages incurred by missed deadlines.

Employed pharmacists are subject to participation in the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony irrespective of the obligation to be insured in the statutory retirement pension plan. Membership in the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony entitles you to be granted exemption from the statutory retirement pension plan according to § 6 Para. 1 No. 1 SGB [German Social Code] VI. Exemption becomes effective from the start of your employment if the application is submitted within three months of taking up your employment. For each change of employment, a new application for exemption needs to be made.

The group of people to whom mandatory insurance applies also includes the self-employed in the pharmaceutical field working in their own pharmacy, working in a leased pharmacy, or, those who work on a fee basis.

Employed pharmacists who are exempted from the statutory retirement pension plan due to participation in the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony pay pension contributions in the amount of the statutory retirement pension contributions. The employer is legally obliged to pay half of the contribution amount to the pension scheme.

Employed pharmacists who are not exempted from the statutory retirement pension plan have to pay – in addition to the statutory retirement pension contributions – pension contributions to the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony to the amount of 2/10 of the maximum contribution rate of the statutory retirement pension. To avoid this double burden we recommend that you immediately apply for exemption from the statutory retirement pension plan via the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony.

Self-employed pharmacists are also obliged to pay pension contributions. In principle, the general pension contribution to be paid corresponds to the maximum contribution of the statutory retirement pension. Upon application and proof of income, a partial waiver of contributions may be granted (contribution: 18.6% of revenue). Upon application and with a qualifying low income, the minimum contribution amounts to 2/10 of the general pension levy. 

To increase your pension entitlements, you may, if you wish, make contributions in excess of the general pension contribution of up to a maximum of 18/10 of the general pension contribution. Higher payments are also recommended for tax benefit reasons (pension contributions can be deducted as special expenses).

  • Old-age pension

It commences after completing 67 years of age. Only for the birth cohorts 1953 to 1963 are there diverging dates. You will find your own regular pension commencement date in your annual notification on entitlements. The start of the pension can also be brought forward by up to a maximum of 5 years, with fixed monthly deductions. This earlier commencing old-age pension can also be used as partial pension of 30%, 50%, or 70%. Moreover, the old-age pension can also be deferred upon written application by a maximum of 36 months beyond the regular start of old-age pension. For each month of deferred pension, the pension increases by a cumulative supplement.

  • Survivors’ pension

The widow’s or widower’s pension amounts to 60%, the orphan's allowance to 20%, and the half-orphan’s allowance to 10% of the pension for occupational invalidity or old-age pension, or, respectively, the entitlement to pension for occupational invalidity or old-age pension which existed at the time of death of the member.

  • Pension for occupational invalidity 

Pension for occupational invalidity is granted upon the occurrence of a qualifying event. No so-called waiting period has to be fulfilled. The protection against occupational invalidity takes effect with the first contribution made. Contribution periods previously completed with a different professional pension insurance carrier in Germany will also be taken into account.

Upon application, financial assistance for medical rehabilitation measures can be granted if curative treatment or follow-up treatment following major surgery is urgently required to prevent occupational invalidity.

A key benefit of the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony versus the statutory retirement pension plan is, amongst other things, that you gain protection against occupational invalidity after only one single contribution payment. However, the requirements for admission to the occupational invalidity pension are met only if the pharmaceutical profession can no longer be practised completely. There is no protection against occupational invalidity for the most recent role or position held as a pharmacist, meaning that the protection is intended to apply when any professional activity within the entire spectrum of activities of pharmacists is made impossible on medical and/or invalidity grounds. However, there is no reference to activities outside the profession. If this protection is not enough for you, then you should consider taking out a private pension for occupational invalidity.

The membership obligation ends upon appointment as a civil servant or professional soldier. Already upon appointment as a civil servant employed by the state for a probationary period or, respectively, temporary-career volunteer (soldier), an exemption from membership is possible upon request.

The membership also ends with the transfer of professional activity to another professional association or with the withdrawal from the Pharmaceutical Society of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, or Saxony-Anhalt.

Once you register with the Pharmaceutical Society of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, or Saxony-Anhalt, we will be informed by the respective association of your membership with them. Subsequently, you will receive the documents for registration with the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxonys.

I still have questions.

The specific regulations regarding the law on contribution and benefits can be found in the Articles of Incorporation of the Pharmacists' Pension Fund of Lower Saxony. You can also contact us directly; contact details can be found in the “Contact” section.