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4.3.6.30 Holocaust Restitution Payments - Germany & Austria

Summary

This topic explains the treatment of compensation for victims of National Socialist persecution (restitution) payments from Germany and Austria, including how these payments are identified and the documentation involved. This topic covers the following matters:

  • treatment of German restitution payments,
  • treatment of German age, invalid and/or disability pension paid as a result of 'deemed contributions',
  • partner entitlements to German restitution payments,
  • identifying German restitution payments,
  • documentation involved - German restitution payments,
  • compensation payments to forced labourers and slave workers,
  • payments to workers employed in a ghetto,
  • ghetto labour compensation fund,
  • payments to displaced Jewish persons,
  • treatment of Austrian restitution payments,
  • identifying Austrian restitution payments,
  • documentation involved - Austrian restitution payments,
  • restitution to those who suffered loss or damage, and
  • prisoner of War Compensation Act (KGEG) payments.

 

Treatment of German restitution payments

Restitution payments are made by the German Government to victims of Nazi persecution for a number of reasons including loss of health, property and professional advancement.

 

German restitution payments ARE NOT treated as income for social security purposes.

 

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general - see (n)

 

Treatment of German age, invalid &/or disability pension paid as a result of 'deemed contributions'

A recipient of a German age, invalid and/or disability pension qualifies for assistance on the basis of contributions made during their working life. As a concession to people who were unable to contribute to these schemes, because of persecution, the German government 'deems periods of contribution' to have been paid.

 

A German pension paid under this arrangement is EXEMPT under the income test. In these cases the whole payment is disregarded as it would be impossible to calculate and disregard that portion of the payment made for deemed periods of contribution.

 

Partner entitlements to a restitution payment - Germany

Partner entitlements to a restitution payment are NOT treated as income for social security purposes.

Explanation: In some cases the partner of a person who was receiving a restitution payment may be entitled to a once off death benefit or a widow's pension.

 

Identifying German restitution payments

German restitution payments include:

  • specific restitution payments under the BUNDESENTSCHADIGUNGSGESTZ (BEG), and
  • general German pensions where a person is deemed to have made contributions to the pensions scheme.

 

A person receiving restitution payment should have documentation relating to the payment. The following words identify payment for restitution or persecution:

  • WIEDERGUTMACHUNG RENTE, or
  • ZUSTELL BEVOLLM.

 

The German Embassy and Consulates in Australia DO NOT maintain records that would allow them to give advice on whether a pension is paid with 'deemed periods of contribution'.

 

Compensation for forced labourers & slave workers

Compensation payments from the Foundation 'Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future', (Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft) established on 12 August 2000, are to be made to forced labourers and slave workers. For the purposes of the compensation arrangements, forced labourers are people brought to Germany involuntarily for more than 2 months, while slave workers were imprisoned in concentration camps, ghettoes or under similar conditions for more than 2 months. Half of the compensation funds are provided by German industry and half by the German Government. The entire payment is EXEMPT from the income test as it represents a payment under a law of the Federal Republic of Germany by way of compensation for a victim of National Socialist persecution.

 

Where a beneficiary of the payment dies after 15 February 1999, the surviving spouse and children are entitled to the payment in equal shares. If the beneficiary is survived by neither spouse nor children, payments may be made to grandchildren or siblings. If no application is made by these persons, heirs named, by will, may apply for payment. These payments are EXEMPT from the income test.

 

Compensation payments made to forced labourers or slave workers funded from the Foundation will be processed and paid by partner organisations. Details of the various partner organisations can be found (in English and German) in a press release dated 11 August 2000 on the German Economy Foundation Initiative Steering Group website.

 

Payments to workers employed in a ghetto

Relates to law dated 20 June 2002 regarding the conditions for making pensions payable from an employment in a ghetto (ZRGB) (Gesetz zur Zahlbarmachung von Renten aus Beschäftigungen in einem Ghetto (ZRBG) vom 20 Juni 2002). The Federal Social Court decided on 18 June 1997 that periods of work for remuneration in the former Ghetto of Lodz (with effect from 1 January 1942) must be taken into account as periods of contribution for a German pension.

 

A person must satisfy various conditions before taking into account periods of work in a ghetto through the ZRGB:

  • status as a persecuted person by regulations of the German Federal Indemnification Law (BEG),
  • forced to live in a ghetto in a territory occupied by the German Reich or incorporated into it,
  • performed remunerative work in a ghetto, and
  • no credits were given for the periods of contributions completed in a ghetto by a foreign social security system.

 

These payments are NOT treated as income for social security purposes.

 

Ghetto Labour Compensation fund

The German Government announced on 19 September 2007 the establishment of a new fund to pay symbolic compensation for 'voluntary' work in Holocaust-era ghettos.

 

The fund will issue one-time payments of 2,000 Euro to Holocaust survivors who performed voluntary work in ghettos subject to criteria of the German Government.

 

These payments are NOT treated as income for social security purposes.

 

Payments to displaced Jewish person

Since 1 July 1990, German Foreign Pensions Law (Fremdrentengesetz (FPL)), has authorised periodic compensation payments to people forced to flee their homelands once they fell under National Socialist influence, as they were Jewish and German speaking, but did not identify as German. At present payments cannot be made to Australian residents. Payments are made to residents of Israel, Canada and the United States of America as these nations have supplementary agreements with Germany.

 

These payments are NOT treated as income for social security purposes.

 

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general - see (n)

 

Treatment of Austrian restitution payments

Austrian restitution payments are NOT treated as income for social security purposes.

Explanation: Restitution payments are made by the Austrian Government to victims of Nazi persecution.

 

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general - see (n)

 

Identifying Austrian restitution payments

A restitution payment received because of persecution can be identified by the words:

  • OPFERUSSORGUNGGESEZT (Victims Care Act),
  • KRIEGOPFERVERSORGUNGGESEZT (War Victims Care Act), or
  • VERFOLGUNG (Persecution).

 

The Austrian Embassy and Consulates in Australia do not retain records that would allow them to give advice on whether a person's payment is paid because of persecution.

 

Restitution to those who suffered loss or damage

Existing payments of restitution by the Austrian Government are made from the Reconciliation Fund through which compensation payments are directed primarily to forced or slave labourers, or to their children, compulsorily transferred to Austrian territory during the Second World War.

 

To extend restitution to those who suffered loss or damage as a result of, or connection with, events that occurred in Austria during the National Socialist (Nazi) era or during World War Two, the Austrian Government established a General Settlement Fund. This fund provides compensation payments to people who emigrated from Austria between 4 March 1933 and 9 May 1945 in response to political, religious or other persecution, who remained abroad as a result of that emigration and who can demonstrate damage or loss arising out of the emigration.

 

The additional restitution payments started from 1 March 2002 and applications for the payments closed on 27 May 2003 (for more detail refer to the National Fund of the Republic of Austria web site).

 

  • Payments are not made through the settlement fund to former prisoners of war or military internees. The Austrian Government has agreed on compensation payments for former prisoners of war of the Western Allies and for civilians arrested outside Austrian Territory. Similar compensation arrangements are in place for former prisoners of war from Eastern European countries.

 

Prisoner of War Compensation Act (KGEG) payments

There are 3 types of recipients for Prisoner of War Compensation Act (Kriegsgefangenenent schadigungsgesetz (KGEG)). Austrian nationals who:

  • during the First or Second World War were made prisoners of war; or
  • during the Second World War, or during the time of allied occupation of Austria, were for political or military reasons arrested and stopped by a foreign power, or
  • for reasons of political persecution or impending political persecution (within the spirit of the Austrian Victims Welfare Act Opferfursorgegesetz for the period 6 March 1933 and 9 May 1945) were outside Austria and were arrested by a foreign power after the beginning of the Second World War.

 

Where it is clear that a person receives a payment in the third category due to National Socialist persecution, the payment may be excluded as income by SSAct 8(8)(n).

 

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general - see (n), section 8(11) An amount received by person is an exempt lump sum…

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3.2.31 Income Exempt from Assessment - Specifically Approved, 4.3.6.31 Holocaust Restitution Payments - Other Countries, 4.3.6.40 Restitution Payments - Netherlands

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Last reviewed: 4 January 2010


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