The Pension

Getting ready to leave my job in Seoul has not only left me counting days, but also running around trying to tie loose ends and get my money situation settled. One of the major benefits of being an American in Korea (haha, yesss!) is that we get something called a “pension” that has been taken out of our paychecks every month — ALL BACK AT ONE TIME! Wooooooooooooooooooooo!!

Are you confused? I was too.

When you work in Korea, the government takes out a certain percentage of your paycheck (similar to the social security in America) and save it for you to cash out around the age of 65. Sounds nice, but the problem is that EFL teachers in Korea are usually only staying for a year or more and well, saving up for a Korean retirement payout doesn’t sound very appealing. However, lo and behold, several countries have made an agreement with the Korean government where if you are citizen from that specific country, you are able to get all the money that was saved for your pension plan. Yes. That’s right, every single penny.. well, this case, won.

Yes. Yes. Gimme.

You have to apply for the lump sum to be wired to your account (in Korea or your home country) one month before your contract ends and you leave the country. Once you book a flight out of Korea to leave  forever aka without a return flight, the pension office will wire the lump sum into your account up to 2 or 3 weeks later. I had 90,000won taken out of my paycheck every month. One year’s worth would be like 2.2 millionwon (around 2,000usd). Since I’ve worked in Korea for 2 years, I would, I hope, get around 4,000usd. Don’t tell my mom, she’ll steal it. ㅋㅋ

What did Stellaface need to apply?
1. ARC – Alien Resident Card: Which is like your foreign license in Korea.
2. Passport: to prove that you are from where you said you are
3. Bank Account Statement: I need my pension lump sum to be wired to my US account because I won’t be in Korea 2 or 3 weeks after my contract. A blank check (luckily I had one on me) or a printed online account bank statement will do. If you are transferring the money to your Korean bank account, just bring your Korean bank book.
4. Flight Info: You have to have a confirmation print out or an e-ticket to show them that you are leaving Korea. From my understanding, you can’t show them a round trip ticket back to Korea because technically you aren’t really leaving.
*Some places have asked for teaching contracts. I took mine just in case.

Pension offices are everywhere in Seoul. The closest one for me was the Gangdong-gu Office in Gangdong/Line5/Purple.

Directions: Get off at Gangdong Station, Exit 3. Walk straight for about two blocks or less until you see this building in the picture below. The pension office is inside the wedding hall. It doesn’t make sense, but just do it. You can see the blue National Pension Office (NPO) sign hanging off the side.

Once in the building, walk straight to the elevators. Some of the floors are still under construction. Apparently no one knows that there is a pension office in there. Highly frustrating to find it when the office is hidden behind sheets of wood. -__- Luckily, I had a friend who went a week beforehand and told me it was on the 8th floor.

You can go straight to the eighth floor, but they are doing a lot of construction there and the door to the office is hidden. They rather you go to the seventh and take the stairs up. Then you’ll see the office right away.

Good luck!


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