Receiving foreign benefits while receiving VA compensation!
Receiving VA disability compensation while living overseas may affect your ability to receive social benefits from the country you reside in. Unlike when residing in the U.S. where VA compensation has no beaing on one's ability to receive Social Security retirment or Social Security Disability, unemployment benefits, or possible welfare, many countries prohibit the receipt of their social benefits while receiving other types of 'income.'
"Rente" (German Social Security - "Deutsche Rentenversicherung":
Germany has what's called a "Fremdrentengesetz (FRG)" (or a 'foreign retirment law'), which generally states that the receipt of any foreign "retirement" that is based on the same time frame as the German retirement will lead to a euro for euro dedcution of that German retirement for the amount received from the other foreign "retirement." However, VA disability compensation is one of the very few types of "retirement" that does NOT count towards any type of German "Rente." Generally, any type of "retirement' that is based on disability is excluded from the § 31 FRG according to the following German Court cases; SG Würzburg, Urteil von 3 August 2015, S 3 R1145/13 and LSG Baden-Württemberg, Urteil vom 14 Dezember 2011, L 2 R 5754/10.
Therefore, if you're in receipt of any type of German "Rente" and they are trying to reduce that amount by the amount of VA disability compensation you're receiving, then you should file an appeal by submitting the below word.doc. Simply type in your personal information where indicated by the yellow highlighted areas. Also ensure you attached the "LSG Berlin-Brandenburg" court case an the "FG Baden-Württemberg" Court case to the appeal as evidence as well. If they further deny the appeal, this document can also be used as a "Klage" (or official Court complaint) as well.
"Arbeitslosengeld" (German unemployment):
When receiving "Arbeitsloesengeld" (German unemployment benefits), it is generally prohibited to receive it together with other 'retirement' benefits as well regardless if its from a foreign source or not; see § 156 SGB III. However, based on the status of VA compensation being classified as an "Entschädigung" and falling under "§ 31 BVG," VA compensation is exempt from being considered as income when receiving German unemployment benefits.
If the German "Arbeitsamts" is trying to tell you you cannot receive German "Arbeitslosengeld" due to you receiving VA disability compensation, they are incorrect! You should file an appeal within 30 days of receiving your "Bewillingungsbescheid" by submitting the below word.doc. Just fill in your personal information where indicated by the yellow highlighted text. If this does not rectify the problem, this word.doc can also be used as a "Klage" (official Court complaint) as well.
"Bürgergeld" and "Sozialhilfe" (Social help or 'welfare'):
Germany has a wide net of social programs to ensure its residents are cared for. Two of their social benefits are called “Bürgergeld” (translated into English means literally “citizen’s money”) and “Sozialhilfe (translated into English means literally “Social help,” or the equivalent to our Welfare in the U.S.). So what’s the difference between the two? “Bürgergeld” is basically for Unemployed, or people who can still work, that do not qualify for “Arbeitslosengeld” anymore. “Sozialhilfe” is for people who are no longer able to work, or do not have to work (for example, they receive regular retirement based on age that is minimal). Additional income generally influences the amount one receives from either of the two or can disqualify one completely from receiving them.
"Bürgergeld" in accordance with "SGB II":
Generally, when receiving “Bürgergeld” the additional amount of any other income (German or foreign) will affect the amount one receives. “Bürgergeld” and the types of income that are not counted as “countable income” when figuring the amount one becomes under SGB II are listed under § 11b SGB II. Since VA disability compensation is seen as equivalent to income under § 31 BVG, it should not be counted as income. However, due to the “LSG Berlin-Brandenburg Urteil vom 19.03.2015 – L 31 AS 2218-13,” which appears to be final, it states that the amount of VA compensation up until the corresponding BVG percentage amount is not countable, but any amount that is over the BVG amount is countable income towards figuring the amount due under “Bürgergeld.” In my opinion, the complete amount of VA compensation should not be countable pursuant “§ 11b Abs. 1, Satz 2,” but the above mentioned LSG decision characterizes VA compensation under “§ 11b Abs. 1 Satz 3” even though they clearly note that VA compensation falls under § 31 BVG in the same decision. So for example (simplified), if you receive a 30% disability rating from VA -which is $508.05 a month as a single veteran and is about €450,-‘s- (2023), €171,- of it would not be countable, but the rest i.e. €279,- would be!
So if the “Jobcenter” is calculating your complete VA disability compensation towards the amount of Bürgergeld” you’re supposed to receive, then you can use the below word .doc to appeal that decision. Simply type in your information where highlighted with yellow text. Also attach the above mentioned LSG Berlin-Brandenburg court case and the following "Finanzgericht" decision "FG Baden-Württemberg Urteil vom 9.05.2022 - 9 K 2651/21" to the appeal as evidence. If the “Jobcenter” continues to use your complete VA compensation even after submitting this appeal, this word .doc can also be used as a “Klage” as well.
"Sozialhilfe" in accordance with "SGB XII":
When receiving “Sozialhilfe” the additional amount of any other income (German or foreign) will affect the amount one receives. “Sozialhilfe” and the types of income that are not counted as “countable income” when figuring the amount one becomes under SGB XII is listed under “§ 82 SGB XII”. Since VA disability compensation is seen as equivalent to income under § 31 BVG, it would fall under § 82 Abs. 1 Nr. 2, and the complete amount should not be counted as income as it has not been appealed thus far.
So if the “Sozialamt” is calculating your complete VA disability compensation towards the amount of “Sozialhilfe” you’re supposed to receive, then you can use the below word .doc to appeal that decision. Simply type in your information where highlighted with yellow text. If the “Sozialamt” continues to use your VA compensation as “countable income” even after submitting this appeal, this word .doc can also be used as a “Klage” as well. Further, in addition to attaching the above mentioned LSG “Urteil” and the "Finanzgericht Urteil" to the appeal as evidence, you should also attach the below .pdf “Jung…” as well, which is a except from a peer reviewed “Steuer” literature that also states income under § 31 BVG is not countable in its entirety towards “Sozialhilfe.”
“Rente” Austrian Social Security:
Austria’s retirement laws are written so that when one becomes eligible for “Rente” and is a legal resident living there, the basis of the monthly payments are only based on the “Versicherungszeiten” (insured paid time) into the Austrian system. This means that one’s time worked in another EU/EWR country, or another in which Austria has an agreement with (such as the U.S.), is credited to the calculation of the work credits to reach retirement age, but the actual amount paid is only based off of the previous earnings in Austria!
Therefore, by virtue of the above, any foreign pensions/retirements (including VA disability compensation) have no bearing on their retirement pension received from the Austrian Government. Please see the following link from the Austrian Government regarding the receipt of Austrian retirement and foreign pensions; https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/arbeit_und_pension/pension/Seite.270218.html
“Arbeitslosengeld” (Austrian unemployment):
According to Austrian unemployment laws under the “Arbeitslosenversichersgesetz 1977” more specifically Artikel 2, § 16 AlVG, there is no provision therein that states any type of foreign income, regardless of its type, will affect the amount of unemployment one can receive if they become unemployed while working in Austria.
"Notstandshilfe" (Austrian Social help):
The same is also apparently correct regarding “Notstandshilfe”; see Artikel 2, § 33 AlVG. However, having said this, the “notstandshilfe” benefit is only paid to “Arbeitsuchend” who no longer have any entitlement to “arbeitslesngeld” AND do not have the needed income to support themselves. If one receives VA disability compensation, the mere fact of receiving these payments would probably exclude oneself from receiving this benefit due to exceeding the limited income requirements.