German Social Security Number [2024 Detailed Guide]

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Last Update: Feb 23, 2024 @ 6:02 pm

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The name of Germany, as a country, shines bright among the list of nations that treat its citizens best. Germany is considered the first practically welfare state in the world. It gets the title by adopting an old-age social insurance program in 1889. Still, Germany practices some of the best social security rules in a well-designed comprehensive Social Security System, which hugely benefits the citizens of Germany. To avail of these benefits, each resident gets the Germany Social Security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer). This guide gives you a comprehensive understanding of it.

Social Security System (Pflichtversichert) in Germany

In Germany, every employee has to contribute to the Social Security System. The contributions for the Social Security System get deducted automatically from monthly. Every employee earning more than 538 Euros per month automatically became a part of the Social Security system of Germany.

The Social Security System (Pflichtversichert) in Germany consists of five main pillars. Every member and contributor can conditionally get benefits from all those.

Five parts of the Social Security System (Pflichtversichert) in Germany are:

  • Public Health Insurance
  • Long-term care Insurance (Pflegeversicheerung)
  • Pension Insurance Fund (Rentenversicherung)
  • Accident at work Insurance (Unfallversicheerung)
  • Unemployment Insurance (Arbeitlosenversicherung)

Every employee owns a unique Social Security Number.  As a foreigner, you can get your automatically generated Social Security Number when your employer enrolls you in Social Security System in Germany. The Social Security System tracks the record of every citizen’s contribution by a provided unique Social Security Number.

    What is Social Security Number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) in Germany?

    Social Security Number or SSN or Social Security ID/ Card in Germany (Sozialversicherungsnummer) is similar to Social security Number in the US or National Insurance Number in the UK.  It is assigned to every German at birth or when they first get registered in Health Insurance. As a foreigner, if you are employed in Germany, it is compulsory to have your own SSN Social Security Number.

    Social Security Number in Germany is a 12-digit unique number provided to every employee in Germany. It provides a tracking record of your contributions to the Social Security System in Germany. Social Security Number is used as your identification with the German Public Pension Office ( Deutsche Rentenversicherung).

    What do I need to get a Social Security Number in Germany?

    • The first thing you need to do is to get your address registration (Anmeldung) at the Citizen’s office (Burgeramt) in Germany. After this, you will get your residence permit. A residence permit is the main requirement to get your Social Security Number in Germany.
    • ID card with active Online ID functioning (You must be registered in Germany to get Social Security Number, no one can apply for it from abroad)
    • Health Insurance registration with a private or public Insurance provider
    • A smartphone with NFC
    • AusweisApp2 downloaded on your Smartphone
    • Computer with Windows or macOS with AusweiApp2 (Optional)

    What is Social Security Number in Germany consist of?

    A unique Sozialversicherungsnummer (Social Security Number) in Germany is made up of 12 characters. Among them eleven are numbers and one is an alphabet.

    • Character 1-2 is the number of local Pension Insurance Office.
    • Character 3-8 is the applicant’s date of birth.
    • Character 9 is the first letter of the applicant’s last name.
    • Character 10-11 are from serial numbers regarding gender. 00-49 for males and 50-99 for female
    • Character 12 is a random check digit.

    What are the benefits of it?

    Contribution to the German Social Security System (Pflichtversichert) provides a huge benefit to every member in their time of need. Every contributor is a member and gets help from all five parts of the Social Security System (Pflichtversichert) in Germany.


    These five pillars of the Social Security System (Pflichtversichert) in Germany are:

    Public Health Insurance 

    Almost all expenses from the first doctor’s visit to pre-natal care in Maternity cases and other sicknesses are financially covered.

    Long-term care Insurance

    When members became old or critically sick and need long-term care. It is financially covered and provided.

    Pension Insurance Fund

    If returning to their own country, a foreigner being a member of the Social Security System (Pflichtversichert) in Germany can claim back the Pension payments.

    Accident Insurance

    All expenses till recovery are covered if a member has an accident at work.

    Unemployment Insurance

    If a member of the Social Security System (Pflichtversichert) in Germany is unemployed, he/she can get unemployment Insurance.

    Other benefits

    Other benefits and allowances offered by Social Security System (Pflichtversichert) in Germany are:

    Housing Benefits (Wohngeld)

    In Germany, housing is usually expensive, especially in huge cities. The German government provides housing benefits to citizens with lower incomes. The benefits can be Renting support (Mietzuschuss) for those who are living as tenants. The other form is mortgage or home update support (Lastenzuschuss) for house owners with low incomes.

    Child Benefits (Kindergald)

    German Government supports parents financially in raising children. They provide for the child’s clothing, food, and education as Child Benefits (Kindergald) to almost every parent in Germany.

    Maternity Benefits (Mutterschaftsgeld)

    German Social Security System is one of the kindest for mothers-to-be.  It provides enormous benefits, financial coverage, pre, and post-natal care along with six weeks before and at least eight weeks after childbirth, and paid maternity leaves to the mother.

    Parental allowances (Elterngeld)

    German Social Security System pays a parental allowance to both parents to support them financially in the early stages of the upbringing of their newborn child.

    Sickness benefits (Krankengeld)

    If you are unable to work due to long-term illness, you will be covered financially for up to 78 weeks.

    Child sickness benefits (Kinderkrankengeld)

    If your child has fallen ill, as a parent, you are legally allowed to take off from work for taking care of your baby. These leaves are paid leaves. Your employer will pay your salary and in some cases, if your employer does not pay the salary, your public health insurance will help you financially.

    Tax Benefits

    There are many other tax-free benefits a member of the German Social Security System can avail of.

    How to get your Social Security Number in Germany?

    Getting the Social Security Number is dependent upon the character of insurance you are having in Germany. That is:

    How to get your Sozialversicherungsnummer with German Public Health Insurance?

    In Germany, you can get your Social Security ID most easily through German-Public Health Insurance. You need to sign up with Public Health Insurance and you are going to get automatic registration in Social Security System of Germany. After four to six weeks of signing up, the German pension fund will post-mail you an official letter. The letter necessarily needs to keep saved, it contains your Sozialversicherungsausweis (Social security card) and your Social Insurance Number.

    Keep in mind that you need to have your Social Security Number on the first day of your Job in Germany. If you want to have your Social Security Number faster after signing up, there is a way. You can urge for a membership confirmation (Mitgliedsbescheinigung) from your health insurance provider, three to four days after signing up. This service is offered online by most Public Health Insurance offices.

      How to get Sozialversicherungsnummer (Social Security ID) with Private Health Insurance?

      You can your Social Security Number through:

      Private Health Insurance Service  

      If you opt for Private Health Insurance Services in Germany, they will conduct the required official process for your German Social Security ID.

      Your Employer 

      If you are a foreigner, working the first time in Germany, the hiring company usually offers to apply for your Social Security ID. Within four to six weeks of application, you will have an official letter from the German pension Fund, which includes your social security ID card also called Sozialversicherungsausweis in Germany, and your Social Insurance Number. You need to keep those documents safe and sound.

      German Pension Office 

      If your employer demands to process your German Social Security ID by yourself, you can get it by visiting and requesting in person to your closest German Public Pension Office. You need to take your passport with you and provide the required information there. The process takes about six weeks and you will receive your Sozialversicherungsausweis (Social security card) and your Social Insurance Number via post mail.

      Are there any other names for Social Security Numbers in Germany?

      Yes, there are some other names used for SSNs in Germany. They are:

      • Sozialversicherungsnummer (Social Insurance Number)
      • SV-Nummer (Abbreviation for Social Insurance Number)
      • Rentenversicherungnummer (Pension Insurance Number)
      • RV-Nummer (Abbreviation for Pension Insurance Number)
      • RNVR (Abbreviation for Pension Insurance Number)

      🔶 Related Topic:  German Payslip: How to read your Salary Slip

      Who should necessarily have a Social Security Number in Germany?

      Anyone employed in Germany needs to have Social Security Number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) and Social Security Card. It should be noted that, as an ex-pat who has got a job in Germany, you need to have your Social Security Number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) on the first day at your work

      Is Social Security Number in Germany similar to the tax ID?

      Your Social Security Number in Germany is totally different from the Tax ID (Steueridentifikationsnummer).

      Link to the Topic
      What is Tax ID and Tax number in Germany?

      Can I get my Sozialversicherungsausweis (Social security card) again, if I lost it?

      Yes, you can get it by ordering again, online. But for applying again, you need to remember the Social Security Number assigned to you before.

      Do foreign students in Germany need to have an SSN?

      No, foreign students do not need a Social Security Number SSN in Germany. Only those foreigners need to have it, who are planning to have a job in Germany.

      Is the Social Security Number in Germany similar to Social Insurance Number?

      The Social Security Number and Social Insurance Number are considered practically similar in Germany.

      Bottom Line

      It is obvious that all citizens and employees in Germany, whether German nationals or ex-pats are confined to following rules by the German government. The Social Security and Welfare system is very beneficial to the members. As a foreigner employed in Germany, you are obligatorily required to have SSN or Social security Number. It is among those essential documents you need to carry with you. We have discussed the requirements, the options, and the benefits regarding the Social Security Number and the Social Security system of Germany. You can get yours easily…!!

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