Unemployment Benefit II (Arbeitslosengeld II) / Social Benefit (Sozialgeld)

All persons capable of work and eligible for benefits can receive unemployment benefit II (Alg II) from the age of 15 years until the legally stipulated age limit between 65 and 67 years. Persons not capable of work can receive social benefit. Alg II and social benefit are benefits to secure a livelihood. Legislation determined to what each individual is entitled to in the so-called "normal requirement" (Regelbedarf).

Normal requirement

The normal requirement globally covers the costs of food, clothing, household energy (without heating and warm water generation), personal hygiene, household effects, needs of everyday life, as well as to a reasonable extent also relations to the environment and participation in cultural life.

Singles, single parents, as well as adults with a minor partner are entitled to the full amount of normal requirement. Since 1 January 2016, this is EUR 404 for all of Germany. The normal requirement for adult partners is EUR 364. Children younger than 6 years receive EUR 237. Between 6 and including 13 years of age this is EUR 270. Children and young persons between 14 and 17 years receive EUR 306. For young adults from 15 years on and below 25 years who live with their parents or who moved without the positive assertion of the municipal authority, this is EUR 324.

Young adults who are 25 years and older must file their own application for (Alg II), regardless of the fact whether they live in their own flat or with their parents. Persons living in their own household form a separate benefit community (BG) if they are at least 15 years old.

Social benefit

Persons not capable of work but in need of assistance receive social benefit, if a least one person capable of work but in need of assistance lives in their benefit community.

Accommodation and heating

The costs of accommodation and heating are, if they are reasonable, borne to the amount of the actual expenses.

If you own a house or a flat, the costs of accommodation include the costs connected with it, however, not the amortization payment for credits.

Persons below 25 years who want to move out of their parents' home only receive a refund of the costs of accommodation and heating, if the municipal authority agreed to the move. This agreement can be obtained from the contact persons responsible for your benefits. Agreement needs to be obtained if

  • the persons concerned cannot live with their parents for "severe social reasons",
  • the move is necessary for the integration in the labour market or
  • another severe reason exists.
Non-recurring benefits

Beyond the normal requirement you can receive non-recurring benefits as credit, cash or non-cash benefit for

  • initial equipment of the flat including household devices,
  • initial equipment for clothing (also for pregnancy and birth) and
  • the acquisition and repair of medical devices and renting of therapeutical devices.
What is the difference between a benefit community (Bedarfsgemeinschaft/BG) and a household community (Haushaltsgemeinschaft/HG)?

A benefit community consists of a least one person capable of work eligible for benefits, his/her partner, and the unmarried children under 25 years living in the household. Children are, however, only considered for the benefit community, if they cannot meet their requirements through their own income or funds themselves. A partner is per definition: The spouse who does not permanently live separated or the person who lives with the applicant in a relationship similar to a marriage or a registered partnership.

The household community includes everyone living in a household regardless of sex, age and family relations.

What is a relationship similar to a marriage?

A relationship similar to a marriage is a permanent life partnership between two persons which is so close that a mutual responsibility for the partner in case of need can be expected. Evidence for this is in particular a permanent household and economic community, the joint care for children in the household as well as the mutual permission to command the partner's income and funds beyond mutual everyday spending.

What happens if I live in a shared flat?

No information on the personal situation of the flatmate must be given when applying for Alg II. In cases of normal shared flats it suffices to indicate the rent share of the flatmate in the form or to declare his/her sublease as income. In a shared flat with several adults capable of work there can thus theoretically be as many benefit communities as there are flatmates in the shared flat.

You have questions about the application forms?

There are Guidelines for Filling Out the Application Forms (Download Pdf-File PDF, 7,4 MB)  (Ausfüllhinweise zu den Antragsvordrucken). Difficult terms on the application forms are explained here. On the application forms (Antragsvordrucke) themselves, you will find a consecutive numbering after some terms. Click on them. Then the term will be explained in simple words.

You have questions about your decision?

The decision indicates how much money you will receive for which expenses and with which health insurance you are insured. The calculation sheet explains what the amount is composed of.
You will receive the decision by mail.

On the unemployment benefit (Type II) exemplary decision (Arbeitslosengeld II Musterbescheid) individual terms are explained briefly.