Basic insurance in old age and in the event of disability (social assistance)

Those who have reached the age limit (65 years and older on a case-by-case basis) or who are permanently disabled as an adult for health reasons can receive basic insurance benefits in old age and in the event of disability.

Basic insurance in old age and in the event of disability is intended to provide the necessary livelihood, as is the help for a living. This applies in particular to the costs of food, accommodation, clothing, personal care, household supplies, heating as well as for personal needs of daily life, such as telephone, newspaper or concert attendance.

Performance for home residents

If the persons concerned live in a care, handicapped or retirement home, they receive an amount for the costs of accommodation and heating. The calculation is based on the average costs of a single-person household in the area of the respective institution.

Scope of basic security

The amount of the benefit depends on the need, own income and assets must be taken into account by the competent authority in the calculation.

Relatives are only used for any maintenance obligations in the basic security (as opposed to subsistence assistance) if their annual income exceeds EUR 100,000.00. The legislator has ruled out so-called inheritance liability, so the heirs are not obliged to reimburse the costs of the basic security incurred.

These schemes are designed to make it easier for those affected to benefit from the assistance.


Those affected must be in need, i.e. their income and assets (or that of their spouse/partner) are not sufficient to ensure the necessary livelihood.

If the dependent parents or children have dependent parents or children, their annual income must not exceed EUR 100,000.00.

The information in the application must be substantiated, for example by proof of costs, income and assets as well as medical certificates. The detailed evidence is required in the fact sheets that you will receive when submitting your application.


There is a right to basic security benefits if the person or persons concerned is habitually resident in the Federal Republic of Germany and

  • has reached the age limit (65 years and older, depending on the individual case) or
  • after the age of 18, for health reasons, it will not be able to work for at least 3 hours a day for the foreseeable future.

Related Links

  • §§ 41 ff. Sozialgesetzbuch Zwölftes Buch (SGB XII) Sozialhilfe


In order to receive basic insurance benefits in old age and in the event of disability, you must submit a written application as a person concerned or their legal representative.

The application forms can be obtained from the competent authority, forms and leaflets are also available on the Internet, depending on the offer made by the authority (retrieval via "Forms/Online Services" in the right-hand column or on request from the competent authority).
You will submit the completed application to the competent authority together with the necessary evidence.
You will receive a written notification as to whether and to what extent the application has been approved.

Examination of incapacity for work

If it is necessary to clarify whether there is an incapacity for work, the competent authority shall contact the competent pension insurance institution.

The examination by the pension insurance institution is no longer necessary if the persons concerned have already received a disability pension or are admitted to a workshop or other institution for disabled persons.

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