Danish state pension when you live abroad

You can apply to receive social pensions from Denmark if you move abroad

Danish state pension

You can apply to receive social pensions such as the state pension, payments from ATP and disability pension even if you move to an EU country or a country outside the EU. There are however different rules depending on which country you live in. 

As an EU/EEA citizen living in an EU/EEA member country you must fulfill the following conditions:

  • you must be an EU/EEA citizen
  • you must have permanent residence within a member country
  • you must have lived in Denmark for at least three years between the age of 15 and 65.

If you have worked in other EU countries and have earned qualifying years towards state benefits there, then the rule of three years of residence in Denmark will not necessarily apply to you.

In such case one year of residence in Denmark will be enough for you to receive Danish state pension abroad, as Udbetaling Danmark must take into account the years you have worked in the other member state.

If you have worked in several EU countries, then you might have accumulated pension rights in each country.

Apply in the country you are currently living in

When the time comes for you to claim your pension, you normally have to apply in the country where you are living or in the country where you last worked. That country is then responsible for processing your claim and bringing together records of your pension contributions from all the countries you have lived in.

If you live in a country you never worked in

If you have never worked in the country where you now live, you should apply to the relevant authority in the last country where you worked. Your application will then be processed there.

If you have worked in several countries

If you have worked in several countries, you should apply for your pension in the country where you live, unless you never worked there. In the latter case, you should apply in the country where you last worked.

Apply for state pension from Denmark

If you live outside of Denmark and wish to apply for Danish state pension:

When you receive state pension or disability pension abroad, you are obliged to inform Udbetaling Danmark of changes in your personal situation or income that might affect your pension from Denmark.

For example, if:

  • You become single, get married, or get a cohabitant.
  • You are moving to another address.
  • Your or your spouse's/cohabitant’s assets change, e.g., if one of you inherits, buys, or sell equities and receives a return on the assets.
  • There are changes in income for you or your spouse/cohabitant from which you do not pay tax in Denmark, e.g., foreign income.
  • There are changes to your or your spouse's/cohabitant’s independent company, and the company is not taxable in Denmark.

You do not need to inform Udbetaling Danmark of income from which you pay taxes in Denmark. Udbetaling Danmark receives this information automatically.

Once a year, pensioners abroad are requested by Udbetaling Danmark to prove that they are still alive by sending a life certificate.

Each year you will receive a letter from Udbetaling Danmark regarding the life certificate. In the letter you will find information about how to send your life certificate and a date for when Udbetaling Danmark must receive your life certificate at latest.

For pensioners in Norway, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, however, there is only a life certificate procedure if Udbetaling Danmark request further information.

If you receive a state pension from Denmark and live in an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or United Kingdom you may be entitled to an elderly cheque for pensioners abroad (the supplementary pension allowance).

You are not entitled to an elderly cheque if you receive disability pension. 

If you have previously received an elderly cheque

If you have previously received an elderly cheque, and you meet the conditions for receiving it, it will automatically be paid out to you together with your state pension at the end of January.

If you have not received an elderly cheque before

If you have not received an elderly cheque before, you must apply for it. The due date for application is July 31.

Other subjects

If you are applying for one of the following social benefits from abroad, your application must be handled by Udbetaling Danmark, International Pension. 

In the chart below you can see the case processing time limits:

Social benefit   Case processing time limits Average processing time 
State pension   13 weeks  35 weeks
Deferred state pension  13 weeks  22 weeks
Personal supplement   13 weeks  14 weeks
Disability pension  21 weeks  42 weeks 
Dispensation  9 weeks   
Danish health care insurance  3 weeks  4 weeks 

The case processing time limit period begins the same day Udbetaling Danmark receives your application. 

You can help ensure that your application is processed as soon as possible by:

  • Attaching the required documentation
  • Ensuring that your information in the National Register of Persons (CPR) is correct. 

If you are not satisfied with how Udbetaling Danmark has dealt with your case, you are welcome to contact Udbetaling Danmark, Pension. Sometimes misunderstandings can occur and can easily be resolved with a verbal explanation.

If you disagree with a decision

You may file a complaint about a decision from Udbetaling Danmark if you disagree with it. A decision can for example be classified as the amount you receive in pension – or any other decision that Udbetaling Denmark makes in your case. You will always receive a letter from Udbetaling Denmark, in which the decision will be stated along with a complaint guide. 

Udbetaling Danmark must receive your complaint no later than four weeks after your receipt of the decision. They will then assess the matter again.

If Udbetaling Danmark reject your complaint, they will forward it to the National Social Appeals Board. The National Social Appeals Board is an independent state institution and the highest complaint board for Udbetaling Danmark amongst others. 

Complaints about other matters

Udbetaling Danmark will also consider complaints received about other matters in your case and investigate whether there is anything that should have been done differently. You will always receive an answer to your complaint. 

How to file a complaint

You can file a complaint by calling Udbetaling Danmark or sending your complaint to Udbetaling Danmark, International Pension, preferably marked ‘Klage over Pension’.

Contact Udbetaling Danmark, International Pension

Last updated: 06 May 2022