claim unemployment benefits Unfortunately this specification of service has not yet been completely translated.

If you lose your job or your apprenticeship, you can apply for unemployment benefit so that you are financially secure.

Unemployment benefit is a compensation benefit and is intended to partially replace the salary that employees cannot earn because they are unemployed.

You are entitled to unemployment benefit as soon as you meet the requirements for it for the first time.

The period for which you are entitled to unemployment benefit depends on the length of time you were insured during the last 5 years before becoming unemployed and on the age you reached when your entitlement arose. You are entitled to unemployment benefit for at least 6 months if you have been in an employment relationship subject to compulsory insurance for at least 12 months within the last 30 months. The maximum period of entitlement is

  • for unemployed persons under 50: 12 months, provided that they have been insured for at least 24 months.
  • for unemployed persons aged over 50: 24 months, provided that the unemployed person has reached the age of 58 and has completed at least 48 months of insurance.

As a rule, your unemployment benefit is calculated on the basis of the average gross pay you earned in the last year before your entitlement to unemployment benefit arose. The amount is

  • 67 percent for unemployed persons with one child
  • for the other unemployed 60 percent

of the gross pay reduced by the statutory deductions that usually apply to employees.

While you are receiving unemployment benefit, you are generally covered by statutory health, nursing care and pension insurance. The contributions are paid by the Federal Employment Agency. If you were last exempt from compulsory pension insurance or health and long-term care insurance, the BA can usually partially cover the contributions for a private pension plan.

You are covered by accident insurance if you receive a special request to visit the Employment Agency or another office while you are receiving benefits.

You must give notice of any changes (such as illness, holidays, moving house, starting work) immediately, most easily online. Alternatively, you can also make the notifications in writing, by telephone or in person.

  • Identity card with current registration address
  • Passport/replacement document in conjunction with a current registration certificate
  • Certificate of employment (to be completed by the employer)

The Employment Agency may request further documents, for example:

  • Proof (notice of approval, proof of benefits) of previous receipt of benefits (unemployment benefit, also from another employment agency).
  • Proof of contributions (compulsory application for unemployment insurance)
  • Letter of termination
  • Declaration of giving up work
  • Certificate of receipt of sickness benefit
  • Certificate of additional income

Forms: yes
Online procedure possible: yes
Written form required: no, application is also possible informally
Personal appearance required: no

Related Links

  • Arbeitsbescheinigung (vom Arbeitgeber auszufüllen)


You are entitled to unemployment benefit if

  • You're unemployed, that is,
    • you are not in an employment relationship or
    • you are only in gainful employment for less than 15 hours a week, and
    • you are available to the placement efforts of the Employment Agency. You are therefore able and willing to take up employment subject to compulsory insurance under conditions customary in the labour market;
  • you have registered personally as unemployed with the relevant employment agency. When you personally register as unemployed, you are considered to have applied for unemployment benefit;
  • you have been subject to compulsory insurance for at least 12 months within the last 30 months before you registered as unemployed (the so-called framework period).
    • Periods during which you were subject to compulsory insurance for employment promotion purposes because you were receiving income replacement benefits, such as sickness benefit, or - under further conditions - because you were caring for a relative or bringing up a child, for example, are also taken into account.
    • Periods during which you were subject to compulsory insurance (so-called voluntary continued insurance) may also be taken into account as insurance periods, for example because you took up self-employment.
    • In special cases, periods during which you performed development service in accordance with the Development Workers Act (Entwicklungshelfergesetz) or during which you worked abroad on the basis of a secondment contract will also be taken into account.


Please also inform yourself about these topics:

  • Registering as a jobseeker
  • Personal registration for unemployment
  • Notification of change in unemployment

Related Links

  • §§ 136 bis 164 Sozialgesetzbuch Drittes Buch (SGB III)
  • § 323 Sozialgesetzbuch Drittes Buch (SGB III)
  • § 327 Sozialgesetzbuch Drittes Buch (SGB III)
  • § 337 Sozialgesetzbuch Drittes Buch (SGB III)

Related Links

  • So beantragen Sie Arbeitslosengeld
  • Faltblatt "Wissenswertes zum Thema Nebeneinkommen"
  • Merkblatt für Arbeitslose: Ihre Rechte - Ihre Pflichten
  • Informationen zum Arbeitslosengeld auf der Internetseite der Bundesagentur für Arbeit

You can apply for unemployment benefits online or in person.

  • To apply online, go to the online portal "eServices" of the Federal Employment Agency and click on the tile "Arbeitslosengeld beantragen" (apply for unemployment benefit).
    • Please note that in this case, too, you must register for unemployment in person in order to receive unemployment benefits.
  • To apply in person, contact your local employment agency. You will usually receive the application form and, if necessary, other documents (so-called "supplementary sheets") when you register for unemployment in person.
  • The Employment Agency will check your entitlement to unemployment benefit.
  • If your application documents or other reasons do not yet permit a final decision, the Employment Agency can grant you an advance payment on application, provided that a claim to benefits exists on the merits.
  • You will receive a written decision by post about the approval of benefits, stating the amount and duration of your entitlement to unemployment benefit. You can also receive the notice online by selecting the appropriate notification option in your online profile.
  • Unemployment benefits will be paid monthly in arrears, free of charge, to the account you specify. This means that the benefit for the current month will be paid at the end of the month. In case of financial difficulties, this principle can be deviated from upon application. Ask your agency about this.
  • In exceptional cases, you can have your unemployment benefit paid by cheque. You can submit the "payment order for clearing" sent to you by post to your financial institution for credit within one month or have the amount paid out to yourself (or to a person commissioned by you) in cash at any Deutsche Post or Deutsche Postbank payment office. However, this will incur additional costs.

Responsible for the content
Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

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