Claiming benefits for the integration of self-employed persons Unfortunately this specification of service has not yet been completely translated.

If you receive unemployment benefit II and would like to become self-employed or are already self-employed, your job centre can support you with necessary purchases of material goods and with free advice and training.

You can get the support if you

  • receive unemployment benefit II or are entitled to it
  • want to become professionally self-employed (start-up),
  • want to expand a previously marginal self-employed activity into your main occupation or
  • are already self-employed as your main occupation.

The aim is for you to be able to support yourself permanently within a reasonable period of time and no longer require unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV).

Financial support for the purchase of material goods

If you want to buy material goods that you need for your work, you can get a loan or a grant from your job centre. Material goods can be, for example

  • Computers,
  • software,
  • telephone,
  • office furniture,
  • marketing measures (for example, creation of a homepage)
  • Vehicles, machinery, equipment, tools
  • Deposit for commercial premises
  • Initial equipment and operationally necessary stocking up of your material, goods or spare parts warehouse.

No ongoing operating costs are covered, such as

  • Wages and personnel costs,
  • rent,
  • telephone bills or
  • maintenance costs.

You will usually receive financial support for the purchase of material goods in the form of a loan. In individual cases, grants are possible up to an amount of EUR 5,000, loans are also possible above this amount. A combination of both is possible. Loans and grants are paid out in monthly instalments or as a total amount, depending on the purpose. You have to repay the loan later, but not the grant.

You must apply for Jobcenter funding before you make the purchase. It is not possible to receive a loan or grant for material goods that have already been purchased.

Free advice and training for the self-employed

If you are already self-employed on a full-time basis, you may also be eligible for support through

  • advice to help you maintain or reorient your self-employed activity (tax and legal advice is not eligible)
  • Training courses that provide you with entrepreneurial knowledge, for example in the areas of marketing, accounting, acquisition or project management.

Both are free of charge for you. Your job centre will commission your local Chamber of Industry and Commerce or Chamber of Crafts, private training providers, innovation, technology or start-up centres, for example.

Your integration specialist will check and decide which of the above-mentioned benefits you can receive. This also applies to the amount of a loan or grant. This means that you have no legal claim to it.

In order to receive funding, you must submit the relevant documents. Your integration specialist will inform you which of the following documents are necessary for the funding you are applying for:

  • Expert opinion confirming that your self-employed activity is economically viable.
  • De-minimis declaration (EU state aid law)
  • Capital requirement/financing plan
  • Business plan in text form
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Tax registration/trade registration/registration with the chamber of handicrafts
  • Certificate of participation in a business start-up seminar
  • Quotations of the investments necessary for the business
  • If applicable, contract documents such as articles of association or rental agreement
  • At least 2 rejections from banks to which you have submitted loan applications
  • Other individual documents that the job centre may request

Forms: yes
Online procedure possible: no
Written form required: yes
Personal appearance required: yes


To be able to receive the benefits, the following requirements must be met:

  • You receive unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV).
  • You want to become self-employed or are already self-employed, this means
    • You work in your own name and on your own account and
    • You bear the economic risk of your activity (entrepreneurial risk).
  • Self-employment must be your main occupation, which means
    • You work at least 15 hours per week independently and
    • You are able to cover your living expenses entirely or to a considerable extent with the income you have generated within a reasonable period of time.
  • You must be personally suitable to successfully pursue self-employment. To do this, you must prove that you have the knowledge and skills you need for self-employment, for example through
    • Proof of your professional and entrepreneurial qualifications,
    • professional experience or
    • participation in measures that prepare you for setting up your own business.
  • Your self-employed activity must be economically viable, i.e.
    • Your business model must be elaborated and thought through in such a way that your business start-up can be successful in the long term.
    • The viability of your self-employed activity must be proven by an expert opinion. Expert bodies can be chambers, professional associations or start-up initiatives. Your job centre will give you the name of the competent expert body in your region. You will usually have to submit detailed documents to them (see "Required documents" above).
  • The material goods you want to purchase must be appropriate and necessary for your work.
  • Other sources of funding are out of the question, for example special federal and state programmes, local business development or micro-credits.
  • The funding must comply with EU state aid law (de minimis regulation).

Related Links

  • § 16c Sozialgesetzbuch Zweites Buch (SGB II)

Related Links

  • Themenheft "Durchstarten Existenzgründung" der Bundesagentur für Arbeit
  • Informationen für Bezieher von Arbeitslosengeld II zum Thema Existenzgründungen auf der Internetseite der Bundesagentur für Arbeit
  • Anlage zu den Fachlichen Weisungen der Bundesagentur für Arbeit zu Leistungen zur Eingliederung von Selbständigen
  • Informationen zu Leistungen zur Eingliederung in Arbeit auf der Internetseite des Bundesarbeitsministeriums

You must apply for funding before you can receive financial support for purchases or take advantage of the counselling services.

  • To do this, first make an appointment with your responsible job centre.
  • Your integration specialist will discuss with you whether self-employment can be a realistic strategy for you to integrate into the labour market and end your need for assistance, and which type of support is suitable for you.
  • Loans and grants for the acquisition of tangible assets:
    • Your integration specialist will give you the application form. It is important that you submit the application for assistance before you purchase the goods.
    • The job centre will check your application and the attached documents.
    • The Job Centre will assess your personal suitability for the specific self-employed activity and the economic viability of your business. This includes a forecast as to whether you will be able to earn your living through self-employment within a reasonable period of time.
    • You will receive written notification from the relevant job centre as to whether your application has been approved.
    • After a positive response, you can make the purchases.
    • You will then need to submit evidence to show what you have spent the funds on, for example purchase contracts, receipts or bank statements.
  • Consultancy and training to provide knowledge and skills:
    • Your Jobcentre will commission advice and training from external training providers. You can find out more from your job centre.

Responsible for the content
Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

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