Fewer appeals and lawsuits filed for basic security benefits

10 Jan 2020 | Press release no.3

  • The number of appeals and lawsuits fell again in 2019
  • 2.3% appeal rate at jointly run institutions

577,100 appeals and 95,400 lawsuits were filed in the field of basic security benefits (Jobcenters) in 2019 – 23,000 fewer appeals and 9,800 fewer lawsuits than in 2018. The number of people entitled to receive standard benefits also fell by 277,000 to 5.3 million in the same period.

Low appeal and lawsuit rate at jointly run institutions

The rate of appeals and lawsuits can only be determined for the 302 Jobcenters that are jointly run by the BA and the local district. These jointly run institutions issued 20.7 million benefits entitlement notices in 2019, against which 483,000 appeals and 77,000 lawsuits were filed. This puts the appeal rate at 2.3% and the lawsuit rate at 0.4%.

Grounds for appeals and lawsuits at Jobcenters

Almost one fifth of appeals – and therefore proportionately the most – were filed against termination and reimbursement notices. These are sent, for example, when someone’s income fluctuates and their benefits entitlement has to be recalculated.

Notices for the assessment of income and property and notices for approved housing costs came in second and third place. The main reasons for this are the extremely complex and detailed legal situation. There were fewer appeals against sanctions compared to 2018, and they made up a relatively low amount of the total appeals (7%).

Lawsuits were most often filed against termination and reimbursement notices, approved housing costs and the assessment of income. Lawsuits were rarely filed against sanctions (4% of all lawsuits).

Settled appeals and lawsuits

Jobcenters settled over 600,200 appeals last year; two thirds were rejected by the Jobcenter or withdrawn by customers. 205,400 appeals brought about a change of decision: Beneficiaries submitted missing documents in 81,000 cases to allow the Jobcenter to reconsider; and the misapplication of the law was established for 68,400 appeals.

103,000 lawsuits were closed by the courts. Around 60% of these lawsuits were rejected by the court or withdrawn by the plaintiff, while 40% brought about a change of decision. Most lawsuits are settled without a judgement, often because beneficiaries submit missing documents during the court proceedings.


Note to editors

  • Jobcenters can be run in two different forms. At 302 “jointly run” Jobcenters, the BA works with the local district and they run the Jobcenter together. However, the legislature has also created the possibility for around 100 districts to assume sole responsibility for the operation of their own Jobcenter. The BA is not involved in these Jobcenters.
  • The figures reported in this press release generally refer to all Jobcenters in Germany, as the Jobcenters run by local districts also provide the BA with data on appeals and lawsuits in line with defined criteria. The only exception is the section on the rate of appeals and lawsuits; as the BA does not know how many notices have been sent by locally run Jobcenters, these rates can only be determined for jointly run institutions. Therefore, the rates only take into account the appeals and lawsuits received by jointly run Jobcenters.
  • Statistical information on appeals and lawsuits online