Social organizations in German social security system

WANG Zhen1

(1.Institute of Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

【Abstract】The design of China’s social security system learned a lot from German’s social insurance system; however, besides reasonable institutional framework, corresponding social governance is also crucial for the good operation of social security system. Social organizations, which compose the foundation of social governance of a society, serve as not only a buffer strip between individuals and government, and between market and government, but also the main provider of social services. During the European debt crisis, Germany has performed better than other European countries, which the social security system has contributed a lot. However, behind the good- performed social security system, there are diverse and ample social organizations that guarantee the operation of social security system. In this paper, three social organizations in German social security system will be introduced and reviewed. China now is going to reform and improve the social security, which not only need to reform the institutional framework and policy, but also need to pay attention to the management, operation, and social service provision of social security. During this process, the structure, operation, function, regulation of social organizations in social security system in Germany will provide helpful experience.

【Keywords】 Germany; social security; social governance; social organization;


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    [1]. [1] Social organizations in this article refer to non-government and non-profit organizations whose functions fall between that of government agencies and market departments. Please refer to Salamon, L. M., Sokolowski, S. W., and List, R., “Global Civil Society: An Overview”, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, 2003. Social organizations in China are classified into three categories: 1) social groups whose primary goals are to express and represent the common wills and interests of their members; 2) non-governmental non-profit units that provide various kinds of social services; and 3) foundations that raise fund for charitable and welfare activities. [^Back]

    [2]. [1] The statutory pension insurance system established by the Bismarck government in 1893 primarily targeted at wage earners; it was not until 1911 that statutory pension insurance for salary earners was provided. At the same time, the separate insurance system for wage and salary earners operated till 1992, before which the premium rate, salaries and management systems were all different. Though the reform in 1992 unified the legal basis of pension insurance for wage and salary earners, management agencies of the two were still different. The pension insurance of wage earners was managed by state pension insurance management agencies while that of salary earners was managed by federal agencies. [^Back]

    [3]. [1] Zheng, C. Deutschland-Studien (德国研究). 13(2): 19-28 (1998). [^Back]

    [4]. [1] The payments of caregivers of children such as mothers are burdened by the government. Since 2013, the length of government paying for the caregivers of children was extended to three years. [^Back]

    [5]. [2] The payments of the unemployed are transferred directly from their unemployment insurance funds. [^Back]

    [6]. [3] For example, after the insured got sick, if he/she withdrew from the labor market, the medical insurance would pay for part of their pension insurance. [^Back]

    [7]. [4] Medical insurance payments of people who receive pensions will be made by the pension insurance fund. [^Back]

    [8]. [1] In 2007, percentage that the second pillar took up in pension income of the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, and the Netherlands amounted to 25%, 13%, 32%, and 40% respectively. Please refer to Blaich, Rudiger, “Pension Provision in Germany: the First and Second Pillars in Focus”, AEGON, -Germany-the-first-and-second-pillars-in-focus.pdf, 2010. [^Back]

    [9]. [1] At the beginning of each year, there will be a provisional premium rate. Then at the end of each year, an annual premium rate will be determined by the actual expenses of the year, which will be offset by the provisional fee. [^Back]

    [10]. [2] Gerke,W.,Mager,F.,Reinschmide,T.and Schmieder,C.,“Empirical Risk Analysis of Pension Insurance:the Case of Germany”,The Journal of Risk and Insurance, 2008,Vol.75, No.3, pp.763-784. [^Back]

    [11]. [1] The major income sources of some welfare organizations are churches. Churches transfer their income (donations or other income) to these organizations and realize their assistance goals through these organizations. For other welfare organizations, their major income are from government grants. Of course, all of these welfare organizations are legally independent. [^Back]

    [12]. [1] (Germany) Ulrich Beck. Cultural Background of Social Security in Germany: The Influence of Value and of the Constitution on Social Security. Journal of Renmin University of China. Issue No. 1, 2010. pp30-34. [^Back]

    [13]. [1] (Germany) Heinz-Dietrich Steinmeyer. The Private-operated Organization of Endowment Insurance in Germany. Social Security Studies. Issue No. 1, 2005. pp120-130. [^Back]

This Article


CN: 11-3799/F

Vol , No. 01, Pages 90-102+6-7

January 2016


Article Outline


  • The German Pension Insurance Federal Institution (DRV Bund)
  • The Mutual Pension Insurance Association (PSVaG)
  • The Association of Non-affiliated Charities (DPWV) Berlin
  • Conclusion
  • Footnote