What if France and Germany suddenly merged?

The French social security system III - age

In France, basic pensions in the private sector are supplemented by the mandatory supplementary pension insurance Agirc-Arrco, which, like basic pensions, is based on the pay-as-you-go principle.

A - basic pension

Basic pensions are recognized by the following bodies:

  • from the (regional) pension and occupational health funds (caisses régionales d'assurance retraite et de santé au travail - CARSAT)
  • from the Ile de France pension fund responsible for the greater Paris area (caisse nationale d'assurance vieillesse d'Île-de-France)
  • from the general social security funds (of the overseas departments)
  • from the Social Security Fund in Mayotte.

1 - Rights of the insured

a) The different retirement ages

Retirement age 62 (the statutory retirement age)

For all cohorts from 1955 onwards, the statutory, earliest possible retirement age is 62 years.

In order to receive a deduction-free pension at the age of 62, the required number of insurance trimesters must have been completed, depending on the age group of the insured person.

Retirement between 65 and 67 years of age (automatically recognized, deduction-free pension)

From a certain age, the pension is calculated without deductions, regardless of the insurance trimesters acquired. Depending on the age group of the insured person and taking into account his or her personal situation, this age can be between 65 and 67 years.

b) Calculation of the pension (only in the general pension system)

The amount of the pension depends on three factors:

  • Average annual salary: It is calculated from the gross wages from which contributions were made. For this purpose, the 25 best years in the professional résumé are used.
  • Pension rate: The maximum rate of 50% is reduced by a reduction coefficient, the amount of which depends on the number of trimesters that are missing to obtain the full rate, taking into account the duration of the insurance and the age, with the latter two criteria being chosen which is more favorable for the insured person. The rate is at least 37.5%.
  • Duration of insurance and the periods recognized as being equivalent: The rate of the pension that applies between the statutory retirement age and the age of the automatic granting of a deductible pension (between 62 and 67 years for insured persons born after January 1, 1955) results from the duration of the insurance periods and other taken into account Periods. The full rate of 50% can be determined by the duration of the insurance (depending on the year of birth between 166 and 172 trimesters), the age (67 years for insured persons born in 1955 and later) or the membership in certain categories (disabled person, at least 50% permanently disabled person, recipient of a Disability pension, worker with the status of family mother or war veteran).

To calculate the pension rate, the periods in which contributions were paid to the various insurance companies recognized on French territory (Article L.351-1 of the French Social Code - code de la sécurité sociale) and periods recognized as substitute periods are taken into account: these are about periods of work interruption due to illness, maternity, disability, work-related accident, military service, unemployment, etc.

Employment periods abroad:

Foreign employment periods completed in countries with which France has concluded social security agreements can, under certain conditions, be taken into account when determining the pension rate.

In addition, under French law, foreign employment periods before April 1, 1983, for which insurance periods can or could be purchased, are taken into account as equivalent periods of insurance when calculating the pension rate from the statutory retirement age (Article R. 351-4 of fr . Social Insurance Act).

The term of insurance is understood to mean the actual duration of the insurance (including the periods recognized as being equivalent) in the respective insurance system. In the course of various reforms, the insurance period required for a full pension has been gradually increased, with the result that insured persons born in 1955, 1956 and 1957 require an insurance period of 166 trimesters. The necessary insurance period is increased by a further trimester for 3 consecutive years up to a total of 172 trimesters for those born in 1973 or later.

For an insured person born in 1957, the calculation is made as follows:

  • Average annual income (of the best 25 contribution years) X rate (between 37.5 and 50%) X duration of insurance in the general system / 166 trimesters (maximum duration of insurance for those born in 1957).

Early retirement

It is possible to retire before the statutory retirement age without any deductions. The pensions are as follows:

  • Pension due to permanent incapacity to work or a particularly arduous job
    In the event of permanent incapacity to work due to an accident at work or an occupational disease, an insured person can retire at the age of 60 regardless of the duration of the insurance without any deductions. Depending on the degree of incapacity for work, you may be entitled to one of the following pensions:
    • Accident pension in the event of permanent incapacity for work of at least 20%
    • Disability pension in the event of permanent incapacity for work of at least 20%
    • Occupational disability pension or accident pension in the event of permanent incapacity for work of at least 10% and less than 20%. The insured person has the option of applying for a pension in the event of permanent incapacity for work if:
      • he has been exposed to risk factors in his professional life for at least 17 years,
      • his inability to work is due to his work.
  • A pension based on a long insurance period can be obtained by those insured from the age of 60 who can prove a minimum insurance period and minimum insurance contributions and who entered professional life very early. The necessary insurance period depends on the year of birth, the retirement age and the age at the start of professional life.
  • A pension due to a severe disability can be claimed by those insured between the ages of 55 and 59 who can prove a permanent severe disability of at least 50% or whose severe disability was recognized before December 31, 2015 and who can prove a certain period of insurance as a severely disabled person (of which a minimum duration must be Insurance contributions due to gainful employment). The provisions on the duration of insurance are based on the year of birth and the desired start of retirement.

You can find more information on the issue of early drawing of a disability pension on the website: lassuranceretraite.fr

Pension at a reduced rate

For people who would like to claim their old-age pension, although they have not yet reached the necessary insurance period to receive a deduction-free pension (50%), the pension rate is reduced. The reduction factor depends on the number of missing trimesters and the year of birth of the insured person: 1.25 for those born after 1953, this corresponds to a decrease of 0.625% per missing trimester. If one of these pensions is claimed, the deduction calculated is final.

number of
Pension rate
149,375 %
248,750 %
348,125 %
447,500 %
546,875 %
646,250 %
745,625 %
845,000 %
944,375 %
1043,750 %

Increase in the basic pension (work after reaching the retirement age of 62 years)

Those insured who at the age of 62 (statutory retirement age) have the necessary insurance period for a deduction-free pension (50%) and who are still gainfully employed after reaching the statutory retirement age receive a pension with surcharges. These rules are applied at different rates depending on when the insurance period is reached. With regard to times after January 1, 2009, the surcharge is 1.25% per additional trimester worked.

c) Increase in the duration of the insurance

Pension increase for raising children

With one parent, the insurance period increases by up to 8 trimesters per child.

  • 4 due to maternity (90 days of maternity counted as one trimester) or adoption,
  • 4 due to the Upbringing the child during the first four years after birth or adoption.

For children born on or after January 1, 2010, the crediting of additional trimesters in the event of adoption or upbringing can be shared between both parents. These will be taken into account with one or the other after their free agreement. It is also possible to split the trimester between the two parents within a period of six months after the child's 4th birthday or adoption.

Increase in pension for bringing up disabled children

Up to 8 trimesters can be taken into account due to the upbringing of a child who is 80% incapable of work, on the basis of which an entitlement to a disability education allowance (allocation d'éducation de l'enfant handicapé - AEEH) disability compensation benefit (prestation de compensation handicap - PCH ) consists.

Postponing the retirement date

If an insured person has reached the statutory retirement age (67 years) and is therefore entitled to a deduction-free pension, but does not have the necessary insurance period to receive a full pension (from all basic insurance systems), he can obtain a longer insurance period by leaving after Reaching the standard retirement age delays the application for a pension, although he is free to continue to work. The insurance period is then extended by 2.5% per trimester.

d) Increase in the pension amount

There are different pension supplements:

  • Child surcharge Insured persons who have raised 3 children for at least 9 years before their 16th birthday receive a 10% surcharge on their pension. Both parents receive this surcharge with an old-age pension.
  • The surcharge for dependent spouses has not been granted since January 1, 2011. Insured persons who received it before December 31, 2010 will continue to receive it as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. It amounts to € 609.80 annually.
  • The allowance for third-party aid is entitled to persons whose old-age pension replaces a previously existing disability pension, as well as persons who receive an old-age pension due to incapacity for work or an old-age pension that has subsequently been converted into a disability pension, and who meet the requirement for the supplement before the time at which they are entitled to have a deduction-free pension (67 years of age). In order to be able to take advantage of this service, the help of a third person in coping with the tasks of daily life must be deemed necessary. Since April 1, 2021, the amount has been € 1,126.41 per month.

Pension supplement: in order to increase the pension, insured persons can continue to be gainfully employed even after the point in time at which they are automatically entitled to a deduction-free pension and at which their entire insurance periods under all basic pension systems entitle them to a deduction-free pension. A surcharge of 1.25% is credited for each insurance trimester that is completed after reaching the statutory retirement age and the insurance period required for a deduction-free pension (maximum of 4 insurance trimesters per year).

e) Minimum and maximum pension rates

  • The Old People's Solidarity Benefit (allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées - SPA) is paid to low-income pensioners living in France. This is a differential benefit that depends on income and family situation. For a single person, this can be topped up to an amount of € 903.20 per month.
  • The minimum contribution is paid to insured persons who have made low-wage contributions and who meet the requirements for a deduction-free pension. The amount of the minimum contribution is set at € 645.50 per month. Additional surcharges due to a long insurance period or other factors may be added. However, the minimum contribution cannot exceed the total amount of all your own pensions (basic and supplementary pensions) by a certain amount (€ 1,203.37).

The amount of the basic pension may not exceed 50% of the social security ceiling (€ 1,714.00 per month in 2021).

f) Entitlement to several pensions from own insurance: uniform pension redemption from adjusted pension systems

With the pension reform of January 20, 2014, a uniform pension redemption was created for insured persons who have paid contributions in at least 2 of the following pension systems:

  • the general pension system for employees (régime général des salariés - RG),
  • the agricultural workers' pension system (régime des salariés agricoles - SA),
  • the self-employed pension system (régime des travailleurs indépendants artisans, commerçants, industriels).

As a result, the insured from these pension systems only have the option a pension application to provide and thus instead of several pensions just a pension to acquire.

To do this, the insured person submits the pension application to one of the pension insurance funds in which he has made contributions. In the course of the pension procedure, the pension insurance funds involved transmit the information necessary to determine the pension.

Usually is the one Pension insurance agency responsible for determining and paying out pensions at which contributions were last paid. An exception has been created for certain cases: for example, if the insured person last paid contributions to 2 equivalent pension systems at the same time, or if he last belonged to a pension system that was not adjusted.

The pension determination is carried out by the fund, which has been found responsible in this way, in accordance with the statutory provisions from its own pension system.

Calculation formula:

  • Pension = average annual income X rate X completed insurance period / maximum insurance period taken into account.
  • Average annual income: Sum of the average earnings and earnings of the best 25 years from all adjusted pension insurance systems. This sum must not exceed the annual amount of the current income threshold from social insurance.
  • sentence: between 37.5 and 50%. If the rate is based on the duration of the insurance, the insurance and replacement periods from the adjusted pension systems, but also those from the other systems to which the insured person belonged, are taken into account. No more than 4 trimesters per calendar year can be taken into account.
  • Completed insurance period: Number of recognized trimesters from the relevant, adjusted pension insurance systems.

2 - Rights of the bereaved

Survivor's pensions and widower's or widow's allowances are recognized by the following bodies:

  • the regional pension and occupational health funds (caisses régionales d'assurance retraite et de santé au travail - CARSAT)
  • the Ile-de-France pension fund responsible for the greater Paris area (caisse nationale d'assurance vieillesse d'Île-de-France)
  • from the general social insurance funds (of the overseas departments)
  • the Social Security Fund in Mayotte.

a) Surviving spouse's survivor's pension

The survivor's pension is paid to the surviving spouse or the divorced surviving spouse. The allocation is not automatic, it is income and age-dependent:

  • Spouses and divorced spouses who are at least 55 years old are entitled to a survivor's pension. (If the death occurred before January 1, 2009, there is an entitlement to a survivor's pension from the age of 51.)
  • • Personal income and - in the case of remarriage, registered or unregistered cohabitation - new household must not exceed a certain amount (€ 21,320.00 per year for a single person).

The amount of the survivor's pension must not exceed 54% of the pension that the deceased received or could have received.

If the deceased spouse was married several times, the survivor's pension is divided between the surviving spouses in relation to the years of marriage.

A surcharge of € 98.72 per month can be granted if the surviving spouse has to support at least one child under the age of 16 and does not receive an insured person's pension.

The amount of the pension is also increased by 10% if the pensioner has raised at least 3 children in his life.

If a pensioner has applied for a retirement pension and has reached the age of entitlement to the full rate, he can receive a supplement of 11.1% of the amount of his survivor's pension if the total amount of his pensions does not exceed the amount of € 2,624.26 per quarter .

* There is no entitlement to a survivor's pension for the surviving dependents of a registered or unregistered cohabitation

b) Widow's or widower's allowance

The widow's or widower's allowance is granted to the surviving spouse of a deceased insured person who has not yet reached the age of 55 for two years and whose income does not exceed € 2,344.87 per quarter if the deceased insured spouse has died in the previous year for at least € 2,344.87 Has paid contributions for 3 months (consecutive or not).

The monthly allowance is € 625.30.

Further information can be found on the old-age insurance website.

c) orphans

The basic pension under the general system does not provide for an orphan's pension. However, there may be entitlement to this type of benefit within the framework of supplementary pension insurance or an old-age pension from a special system.

B - Compulsory supplementary pension insurance

All employees who are required to be insured under the old-age insurances of the general social security system, the mutual social insurance for agriculture or the miners' insurance must also be insured with supplementary pensions.

For private sector workers, supplementary pension insurance is administered by two supplementary pension insurance associations:

The Agirc-Arrco supplementary pension system was launched on 01/01/2019. It is the result of the merger of the two supplementary pension schemes Arrco (Association of Supplementary Pension Insurance for Employees) for all employees (executives and other employees), and Agirc (Main Association of Pension Funds for Executive Employees) only for executive employees.

Like the basic pension system, the supplementary pension system is based on a pay-as-you-go system: the contributions paid in by employees and employers are paid directly to those entitled to benefits as pensions.

In this system, earnings points are awarded: the contributions are converted into earnings points annually and stored in a personal account. To determine your pension amount, you have to multiply the number of earnings points by the value determined annually.

1 - contributions

The supplementary pension is calculated on the basis of criteria that are included in the assessment base for social security contributions. Since January 1, 2019, the Agirc-Arrco system has been based on a two-tier system based on wages

Assessment base applied. A contribution rate is applied for both levels, which in turn is made up of the employer's share (60%) and the employee's share (40%).

Tax baseWorkers setEmployee replacementEmployer compensationApplicable rate when calculating the earnings points
Level 1: between € 0 and € 3,428 (simple income threshold)3,15 %4,72 %7,87 %6,2 %
Level 2: between € 3,428 and € 27,424 (eight times the assessment ceiling)8,64 %12,95 %21,59 %17 %

The effective contribution rate (taux appelé) corresponds to the employer's contribution rate (taux d‘appel), which is based on the employee's contractual contribution rate (taux contractuel), also the calculation rate of the earnings points (taux de calcul des points), which is multiplied by a factor of 127. The earnings points resulting from the contribution payments (employer and employee shares) are calculated using the contribution rate obtained using the calculation rate for earnings points. The contribution overhang resulting from the employer's contribution is used to cover the running costs of the Agirc-Arrco pension system.

Depending on whether the employee is a manager or not, two to three additional deductions apply:

  • the contribution to the general compensation (contribution d'équilibre général - CEG) which is used to financially compensate for retirement before the age of 67,
  • the contribution to the technical compensation of the supplementary insurance (contribution d'équilibre technique - CET) is applied to wages that are above the social insurance ceiling,
  • Apec (Association for the placement of senior executives).

See also: Table of contribution rates and assessment limits for social insurance

2 - acquisition of pension points

In this supplementary pension system, the pension amount is calculated using pension points.

To calculate the pension points, not only the points received through contributions are used, but also points without contribution payments that have been earned for:

  • Periods of insurance prior to the application of the pension system;
  • Periods of incapacity for work that lasted longer than 60 days and for which daily benefits were paid from health or maternity insurance or accident insurance;
  • Periods in which a disability pension was received;
  • Periods of receiving unemployment benefit.

Three criteria are decisive when calculating the pension points: the contribution assessment basis, the calculation rate of the earnings points and the purchase price of the points (reference earnings).

Number of pension points = income threshold x contribution rate of the pension points / purchase price of the points

3 - application for a pension


Anyone who:

  • has reached the statutory retirement age, i.e. 62 years, and has completed the necessary number of trimesters (quarters) to receive a basic pension without deductions;
  • has reached a minimum age between 65 and 67 years of age, depending on the age group, without the need for a specific insurance period.

It is possible to claim the supplementary pension without deductions before the age of 62 if the basic pension has been recognized due to a particularly long insurance period or a reduction in earning capacity.


With the AGIRC-ARRCO supplementary pension system, newly established on January 1, 2019, temporary deductions and supplements to the pension amount were introduced. The aim of these is to induce the insured to postpone his retirement beyond the point in time at which he is entitled to a pension without deductions.

This measure applies exclusively to those born in 1957 or later who are entitled to a supplementary pension from the AGIRC-ARRCO insurance without any deductions from January 2019.

Three options with or without discounts are offered:

  • the application for a pension from the supplementary pension insurance is applied for at the time when the right to a basic pension without deductions exists, which means that a three-year deduction of 10% is applied to the supplementary pension; the supplementary pension is paid without any deductions from the age of 67.
  • The pension application from the supplementary pension insurance is applied for one year after the right to a basic pension exists. The pension is paid out in full without any deductions.
  • The pension application from the supplementary pension insurance is applied for two years or even later after the right to a basic pension exists. In this case, a one-year surcharge is granted in the amount of:
    • 10% if retirement of the supplementary pension has been postponed for 2 years,
    • 20% if retirement of the supplementary pension has been postponed for 3 years,
    • 30% if retirement of the supplementary pension has been postponed for 4 years.

The amount of the gross supplementary pension is calculated as follows:

  • Annual gross amount = total number of earnings points x point value

As of November 1, 2019, one point in the Agirc-Arrco system is worth € 1.2714.

With this supplementary pension, the pension amount is determined in relation to the salary earned during the entire working life and is therefore - in contrast to the basic system - not limited to the 25 best years of earnings.

4 - child allowance

Two family allowances can be recognized:

  • a surcharge for a child still to be looked after
  • a surcharge for biological or raised children.

Those who meet both of the eligibility requirements will receive the higher benefit.

More information can be found on the website: www.agirc-arrco.fr

5 - survivor's pension


Spouse The spouse or divorced, not remarried spouse of the deceased receives a survivor's pension. Neither the free nor the registered civil partnership justify a claim to a survivor's pension.

Age requirements:

  • if the survivor has two dependent children or is disabled at the time of the death of the insured person;
  • from the age of 55, the death of the employed person or pensioner should have occurred after January 01, 2019;
  • if the death occurred on January 1, 2019, the rules in force before the Agirc-Arrco reform will apply;
  • from 55 years of age for a survivor's pension in the Arrco system if the employee or pensioner died on or after July 1, 1996;
  • from 60 years at the earliest - for a survivor's pension in the AGIRC system, the death of the employed person or pensioner should have occurred after March 1st, 1994. It is possible to receive this pension from the age of 55, whereby this is then paid in a reduced amount, unless the beneficiary also receives a survivor's pension from the basic insurance.

In contrast to the basic insurance, the survivor's pension from the supplementary insurance is paid regardless of income.

The supplementary pension amounts to 60% of the acquired rights of the deceased.


In the Agirc-Arrco system, only full orphans receive a supplementary pension if they are at the time of the death of the last parent

  • is younger than 21 years; or
  • is under 25 years of age and entitled to a pension; or
  • was recognized as disabled 21 years ago regardless of an age requirement.

An orphan's pension can be recognized for each deceased parent.

If the last surviving parent died after January 1, 2019, the orphan's pension from the Agirc-Arrco supplementary pension insurance is 50% of the entitlements acquired by one or both parents.

If the last surviving parent entered before January 01, 2019, you are entitled to:

  • half an orphan's pension (50%) from the Arrco system,
  • an orphan's pension equal to 30% of the pension entitlements from the Agirc system.