Apply for unemployment benefit II Unfortunately this specification of service has not yet been completely translated.

If you do not have enough money to finance your necessary living expenses yourself, you can apply for unemployment benefit II.

Unemployment benefit II serves to provide basic security, i.e. to ensure your livelihood. Basic security for jobseekers supports you with

  • Benefits to help you find a job,
  • assistance in finding a training place, and
  • Benefits to ensure your livelihood.

Basic security benefits are transferred to your account each month in advance.

The Jobcenter checks at regular intervals whether you are in need of assistance. The Jobcenter therefore usually approves the benefits for 12 months. Sometimes the Jobcenter approves Unemployment Benefit II for only 6 months, for example, if your income varies each month or, if applicable, under the regulations on simplified access to basic benefits.

Lump sum

You will receive a lump-sum amount to cover your living expenses. It covers your needs, such as food, clothing and personal care, and is adjusted annually. For 2022, the following amounts apply to standard needs:

  • Single persons, single parents, adults with minor partners: EUR 449.00
  • Partners of full age: EUR 404.00
  • Other persons of full age from 18 to 24 years and persons under 25 years, who move out of the parental household without assurance of the communal carrier (18 to 24 years): EUR 360,00
  • Children from 14 to 17 years: EUR 376.00
  • Children from 6 to 13 years: EUR 311,00
  • Children from 0 to 5 years: EUR 285.00

Additional needs

If you need more money due to certain circumstances, you can also receive benefits for this under certain circumstances. Benefits for so-called additional needs are received, for example, by expectant mothers from the 13th week of pregnancy, single parents, people with disabilities or people who need a more costly diet for medical reasons.

In addition, you can receive the following benefits:

  • Benefits for your accommodation and heating, as far as these costs are reasonable. Which costs are reasonable depends on the place where you live. Note: Under the regulations on simplified access to basic benefits, the actual accommodation and heating costs are regularly taken into account for approval periods beginning up to December 31, 2022.
    • Special case: If you are under 25 years old and not married and want to move out with your parents or one of your parents, you can only receive these benefits if you have a so-called assurance from the Jobcenter. You must apply for the assurance at your Jobcenter. In your application, state the reasons for your move. You will receive the assurance if
      • there are serious social reasons for moving out of your parents' apartment and you can prove them,
      • the move to the new apartment is important in order to start a new job, or
      • there is another important reason.
    • If you move without the assurance of the Jobcenter, the costs for the apartment and heating will not be covered by the Jobcenter. Money for the initial furnishing of your apartment will then also not be paid.
  • If you move to a new apartment (after you have been assured) or accept a new job and have to move for it, the Jobcenter will pay you the necessary moving costs and, if necessary, grant the rent deposit as a loan.
  • In emergency cases where your livelihood is at risk, you can get a loan in cash or in kind upon separate application. This can be, for example, if something has been stolen from you or something has broken. However, the standard need already includes an amount for saving. This means that you usually have to pay for purchases from the money saved from the standard rate.
  • You can also receive one-time assistance in certain situations upon separate application. Examples of this are an initial housing allowance or an initial allowance for pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Contributions to your health and long-term care insurance.
  • Benefits for education and participation in social and cultural life for children, adolescents and young adults, such as for
    • School trips,
    • communal lunches or
    • School supplies.
  • Benefits for extracurricular learning support (tutoring) must be applied for separately. Note: In the case of individual assistance for learning support during the pandemic period and immediately thereafter, the separate application for payment of expenses is not required until December 31, 2023 (as part of the "Catching up after Corona" action program for children and young people adopted on May 5, 2021).

Consideration of income and assets

When calculating unemployment benefit II, your income and assets and those of all persons with whom you live in a community of need are taken into account.

Income includes:

  • Income from a job (also from self-employed persons),
  • Income replacement benefits such as unemployment benefit I, parental allowance or sickness benefit,
  • capital and interest income as well as income from shareholdings,
  • income from renting and leasing, agriculture and forestry,
  • alimony and child benefit,
  • pensions,
  • non-recurring income, such as tax refunds or inheritances, and
  • Vocational training allowance, training allowance, BAföG.

Deducted from this are:

  • Taxes payable on income (for example, wage tax and income tax).
  • compulsory contributions to statutory social insurance (for example, health insurance, long-term care insurance, pension insurance) and
  • Income-related expenses, i.e. certain costs incurred in the exercise of your profession,
  • mandatory insurance (for example, motor vehicle liability insurance),
  • a lump sum of EUR 30.00 per month for private insurance, for example household insurance, and
  • contributions for a Riester pension.

In addition, a certain amount is not deducted from the earned income. This allowance depends on the amount of your gross income.

Your assets will be taken into account when checking your entitlement to unemployment benefit II if they can be used and exceed a certain tax-free amount.

Note: Under the regulations on simplified access to basic benefits, assets are not taken into account for 6 months, regularly for approval periods beginning up to December 31, 2022. Assets are nevertheless taken into account for these approval periods if they are substantial.

The following applies to the consideration of assets: Assets are realizable if they can be used directly for living expenses or their cash value can be used for living expenses through consumption, sale, mortgaging, renting, or leasing. Assets are not realizable if you cannot or may not dispose of them freely, for example, because the asset is pledged.

Assets include, for example:

  • Cash,
  • Credit balances on investment accounts, savings balances, building savings balances, savings bonds, securities,
  • endowment life insurance and
  • House and real property and condominiums of unreasonable size and other rights in rem to real property.

Of your assets remain unconsidered:

  • A basic allowance for you and, if applicable, for your partner. This basic allowance is EUR 150.00 for each completed year of life. You can therefore calculate your basic allowance by multiplying your age by 150. The minimum amount of the basic allowance is EUR 3,100.00. This basic allowance also applies to each eligible minor child.
  • Allowances for necessary purchases. Here, you and each person living in your community of need are entitled to an allowance of EUR 750.00.
  • Other old-age provisions. This refers to assets that you have built up for old-age provision - for example, in a life insurance policy. For each completed year of life, you and, if applicable, your partner are entitled to EUR 750.00 free of charge. However, you may not use this money before you retire. This is contractually stipulated in the so-called utilization exclusion.
  • Appropriate household effects.
  • One appropriate motor vehicle for each person capable of working in the community of need.
  • Assets that are indispensable for starting or continuing vocational training or earning capacity.
  • Note: Under the Simplified Access to Basic Benefits regulations, the asset test is limited to only substantial assets for eligibility periods beginning through December 31, 2022.

Benefit Reductions

Please note that unemployment benefit II can be reduced if you behave in breach of duty without good cause. Breach of duty means: if you, despite having been informed in writing about legal consequences

  • refuse to fulfill your obligations as stipulated in the integration agreement (you conclude the integration agreement together with your personal contact person),
  • refuse to take up or continue a reasonable job, training, work opportunity or a subsidized employment relationship or prevent its initiation by your behavior, or
  • do not take up a reasonable measure for integration into work or training, discontinue it or give cause for discontinuation.

In the case of each of these breaches of duty, the unemployment benefit II can be reduced by 30 percent of the relevant standard requirement for a maximum period of 3 months.

Also pay attention to your reporting obligations at the Jobcenter. If you fail to comply with a notification request from the Job Center without good cause, your unemployment benefit II may be reduced by 10 percent of the applicable standard need. Each additional failure to report may result in a further reduction of 10 percent of the standard need.

The total monthly reduction may not exceed 30 percent of the applicable standard need. A reduction in benefits may not be made if this would lead to exceptional hardship in a specific individual case. If these obligations are subsequently fulfilled or if you subsequently declare your willingness to fulfill your obligations, the Job Center shall again provide the benefits in full from this point in time.

The reduction may not continue for more than one month from this time.

  • Application forms
  • Valid identification document:
    • Identity card or
    • valid passport with current registration certificate
    • Residence permit
  • Proof of income, e.g. a wage statement or current bank statements (e.g. pensions, sick pay, child benefit, alimony, advance on alimony)
  • Proof of existing assets (e.g. savings, shares, securities, building society contracts)
  • Proof of expenses, for example, by presenting bank statements (or, for example, rental agreement, rent receipts, heating costs, documents on insurance premiums)
  • Proof of previous receipt of benefits, also from another job center (notice of approval, proof of benefits)
  • If you are applying following employment:
    • Employment papers (also letter of resignation or declaration to quit work)
    • Certificate of employment (to be filled out by the employer)

Forms available: Yes
Written form required: No
Informal application possible: Yes
Personal appearance required: No
Online services available: Yes


  • You are capable of working. This means that you
    • can work at least 3 hours a day and
    • are at least 15 years old and have not yet reached the age limit of the statutory pension insurance. If you were born after 1963, this is 67 years. If you were born before 1964, you can look up the age limit that applies to you in the table in § 7a SGB II.
  • You are in need of assistance. This means that you are unable to cover your living expenses and the maintenance of your community of need completely on your own from your own resources and the resources of the community of need.
  • You have no priority claims against other benefit providers or other persons, such as against divorced spouses or the father or mother of your child.
  • You live in the Federal Republic of Germany.


Basic income support means that your subsistence level is secured, i.e. that the necessities of life are secured.

If you are not able to work, you can still be entitled to benefits if you live in a community of need with a person who is able to work. In this case, you can receive social benefits.

Benefits for education and participation in social life for children, adolescents and young adults no longer have to be applied for separately as of August 01, 2019. As of January 1, 2024, this does not apply to extracurricular learning support (see note under Benefits).

Related Links

  • Zweites Buch Sozialgesetzbuch (SGB II)

Related Links

  • Allgemeine Informationen und Merkblätter zu Arbeitslosengeld II auf der Internetseite der Bundesagentur für Arbeit
  • Detaillierte Informationen zu den Antragsverfahren und Ansprechpunkten in einigen Kommunen finden sie auf der Internetseite der kommunalen Jobcenter
  • Erklärvideos zum Arbeitslosengeld II und zum Jobcenter auf der Internetseite der Bundesagentur für Arbeit

In order to receive unemployment benefit II, you must submit an application. To do this, register with your job center. You can also do this online (at least until December 31, 2022).

Apply for unemployment benefit II in writing:

  • Go to your local job center. It is located in the district or city where you usually live or are registered.
  • At the job center, your personal situation will be discussed and you will be given all the application forms and documents you need to fill out.
  • The application forms can be sent to you if you wish, for example, in a telephone call or by e-mail. You can also find the application forms on the Internet.
  • Fill out the application forms for unemployment benefit II. You can get help with this at the Jobcenter or use the completion instructions, which are available in German.
  • Hand in your complete application documents to your job center. This includes:
    • Proof of rent, heating and ancillary costs and
    • Proof of income and assets.
  • The Jobcenter will decide on your application. You will be notified of the decision on your application in writing by mail.

Apply for unemployment benefit II online:

  • You can easily and conveniently submit your application for unemployment benefit II online. To do so, call up the website of the Federal Employment Agency.
  • Navigate to the application for unemployment benefit II. Follow the instructions and fill out the application directly on your computer.
  • Save the document on your computer and upload the completed application.
  • If you have already completed any attachments or supporting documents for your application, please upload them as well. If you cannot or do not wish to submit completed attachments or supporting documents, you can do so later if your job center asks you to do so.
  • The Jobcenter will decide on your application. You will be notified of the decision on your application in writing by mail.

Responsible for the content
Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS)

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