If you’ve just started your new job in Germany (congrats!), your employer will ask for your social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer). Your colleagues will likely say, “Hey, that’s easy. Just ask your public health insurance company to send it to you straight away”. However, this is easier said than done. In addition to the stress of starting a new role,  this is probably the last thing you want to think about. The matter is further complicated if you’re already privately insured. Or, if you haven’t even thought of health insurance coverage yet…  how do you obtain your social security number then?

Things can get a little messy if your employer requests that you apply for your social security number yourself.

But never fear, we have a solution!

Enrolling as a member of the public health insurance system will be the easiest and quickest way for you to obtain your social security number. For more information, contact us at KLforExpats directly. Otherwise, we’ll dive into the various options available to you and why this may be the best option for you below.

But first thing’s first… why a social security number? It’s pretty simple, really. In Germany, like most countries, if you work, you typically pay social security. This is so you can access benefits. These include anything from unemployment allowances and maternity leave to pension and public healthcare.

How to get your social security number as an employee

There are two scenarios you will likely fall into:
Scenario #1: You will earn below the income threshold of €62,550 / year

If this applies to you, you will be a mandatory member of the public health insurance scheme. However, you will have to find a provider yourself. This is not organised by your employer. Get in touch with us for a quick, hassle-free onboarding if you need help weighing up your options. The public health insurance provider you choose will then issue your social security number within 3 – 4 days after you’ve signed up. Easy!

Secenario #2: You will earn more than €62,550 / year

If this scenario applies to you, again you will have to find your own health insurance. You will however, be eligible for private health insurance. This means you can choose to be a voluntary member in the public scheme or instead, obtain private health insurance.

Like in Scenario #1, obtaining public health insurance will mean that you automatically receive a social security number.

When you are privately insured, your company’s HR department might offer to obtain a social security number for you via the company’s digital payroll system. But the reality we often see is that HR departments request that you apply for your social security number yourself. You will then be asked to bring it along with you on your first day in order for payroll to process your first pay cheque.

So, Scenario #2 might be the unlucky case for you if your new employer is a little less established. It might mean that they do not yet have the systems in place to carry out the digital process of applying for your social security number. This is often the case with smaller businesses or start-ups.

Applying for your social security number yourself is not complex by German standards. However, it will require you to go into the office of the German Pension Insurance (Deutsche Rentenversicherung) so that you can apply in person. The problem with this is that these offices are few and far between. Unless you live in Berlin or Munich, you may need to travel for your appointment! You may also find it difficult to find the time to do so if you’ve just started your new job.

Obtaining your Social Security Number through Public Health Insurance

But like we said above, if you need to obtain your social security number urgently in order to get paid, we have a solution! If you’re new to Germany, that solution is to simply apply for public health insurance initially. Enrolling in the public health scheme means that you’ll receive your social security number straight away. When we work with public health insurance providers, we typically see individuals receive their social security number within 3-4 days of applying for their health insurance.

And the best part?
This does not mean that you need to stay enrolled in the public health scheme if you ultimately want private health insurance. Opting to choose public health insurance buys you time. This allows you to make a more informed decision about your health insurance whilst also obtaining your social security number in a way that’s quick and painless.

Applying for public health insurance simply to get your social security number and then changing to private health insurance can be done very easily. It is something most insurance brokers, including ourselves, would be very happy to help you with. It may even be the case that you’d like to stay enrolled in the public health system permanently. If you think this could apply to you, you can learn more about the benefits of public health insurance in Germany here.

Otherwise, if you need your social security number urgently, applying for public health insurance is your most quick and painless option. You can always switch to private health insurance afterwards if you desire.

Want to know more about how you can apply for public health insurance to get your social security number?

Get in touch with us directly!