claim 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,
  • help with finding a training place and
  • benefits to secure your livelihood.

Basic security benefits are paid into your account each month in advance.

The Jobcenter will check at regular intervals that you are in need of assistance. The Jobcentre therefore normally approves benefits for 12 months. Sometimes, the Jobcenter approves unemployment benefit II for only 6 months, for example, if your income varies each month.

Flat-rate amount

You will receive a lump sum to cover your living costs. It covers your needs, such as food, clothing and personal care, and is adjusted annually. For 2021, the standard amounts are as follows:

  • Single persons, single parents, adults with minor partners: EUR 446.00
  • Partners of full age: EUR 401.00
  • Other persons of full age from 18 to 24 years and persons under 25 years who move out of the parental household without the assurance of the municipal institution (18 to 24 years): EUR 357.00
  • Children from 14 to 17 years: EUR 373.00
  • Children from 6 to 13 years: EUR 309.00
  • Children from 0 to 5 years: EUR 283.00

Additional requirements
If you need more money due to certain circumstances, you can also receive benefits for this. Benefits for so-called additional needs are paid, for example, to expectant mothers from the 13th week of pregnancy, single parents, people with disabilities or people who need a more expensive 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.
    • 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 get these benefits if you have a so-called assurance from the Job Centre. You must apply to your Jobcentre for an assurance. In it, you must state the reasons for your move. You will get the assurance if
      • there are serious social reasons for moving out of your parents' home and you can prove them,
      • the move to the new home is important in order to take up a new job, or
      • there is another important reason.
      • If you move without the Jobcenter's approval, the Jobcenter will not pay the costs for the apartment and the heating. Money for the initial furnishing of your flat will not be paid either.
  • If you move to a new flat (after you have been assured of this) or accept a new job and have to move for this, the Jobcentre will pay you the necessary moving costs and, if necessary, grant the rent deposit as a loan.
  • In emergencies where your livelihood is at risk, you can get a loan in cash or in kind if you apply separately. This could be, for example, if something has been stolen or broken. However, the standard rate already includes an amount for saving. This means that you will normally have to pay for purchases from the money you have saved from the standard rate.
  • You can also get one-off support in certain situations on a separate application. Examples of this are initial equipment for your home or initial equipment 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.
  • You must apply separately for benefits for extracurricular learning support (tutoring).

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 benefit or sickness benefit,
  • capital and interest income as well as income from shareholdings,
  • income from renting and leasing, agriculture and forestry,
  • maintenance payments 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 (e.g. health insurance, nursing care insurance, pension insurance) and
  • Income-related expenses, i.e. costs incurred in the exercise of your profession,
  • statutory 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.

You will also be granted a tax-free allowance (an amount that is not taken into account) for earned income. The tax-free amount depends on the amount of your gross income.

Your assets are taken into account when checking your entitlement to unemployment benefit II if they are usable and exceed a certain tax-free amount. Assets are realisable if they can be used directly for living expenses or if their monetary value can be used for living expenses through consumption, sale, mortgaging, renting or leasing. Assets are not realizable if you cannot or are not allowed to dispose of them freely, for example, because the asset is pledged.

Assets include, for example:

  • Cash,
  • deposits on investment accounts, savings, building society savings, savings bonds, securities,
  • endowment 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 amounts to 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 minor child entitled to benefits.
  • 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 provision. 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.
  • Reasonable household effects.
  • An appropriate motor vehicle for each person capable of working in the community of need.

Reductions in benefits

Please note that the unemployment benefit II can be reduced if you behave contrary to duty without an important reason. Behaviour contrary to duty means: if you refuse to fulfil your obligations as stated in the application despite having been informed in writing about the legal consequences.

  • refuse to fulfil 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 subsidised employment relationship or prevent its initiation by your behaviour or
  • do not take up, break off or give cause for breaking off a reasonable measure for integration into work or training.

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

Please also pay attention to your obligation to report to the Jobcenter. If you do not comply with a notification request by the Job Centre without good cause, your unemployment benefit II can be reduced by 10 per cent of the relevant standard needs. Each further failure to report can lead to a further reduction of 10 percent of the standard need.

The total monthly reduction may not exceed 30 per cent of the relevant 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 that you are prepared to fulfil your obligations, the Job Centre should again provide the benefits in full from this point in time.

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

  • 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. for pensions, sick pay, child benefit, alimony, advance on alimony)
  • Proof of existing assets (e.g. savings, shares, securities, building society contracts)
  • Proof of expenses, e.g. by submitting bank statements (or, for example, tenancy agreement, rent receipts, heating costs, documents on insurance premiums)
  • Proof of previous receipt of benefits, also from another job centre (notice of approval, proof of benefits)
  • If you are applying subsequent to employment:
    • Employment papers (also letter of resignation or declaration to give up work)
    • Certificate of employment (to be completed by the employer)

Application form: yes
Online procedure possible: yes
Written form required: no, informal application also possible
Personal appearance required: no

Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), Dienststellenfinder

Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA)

Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), Arbeitnehmer-Hotline


  • You are fit for work. 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 not able 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 do not have any 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 what is necessary to live is 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 that case, you can get social benefit.

The benefits for education and participation in social life for children, adolescents and young adults - with the exception of extracurricular learning support - no longer have to be applied for separately as of 1.8.2019.

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 get Arbeitslosengeld II, you must submit an application. To do this, register with your job centre. However, this can also be done online (until 31.12.2021).

Apply for unemployment benefit II in writing:

  • Go to your responsible job center. It is located in the district or city where you usually live or are registered.
  • At the job centre, your personal situation will be discussed and you will be given all the application forms and documents you need to fill in.
  • You can also find the application forms on the Internet.
  • Fill out the application forms for unemployment benefit II. You can get help at the Jobcenter or use the instructions in German or other languages.
  • Hand in your complete application documents to your job centre. This includes:
    • Rental contract,
    • proof of heating and ancillary costs and
    • proof of income and assets.
  • The Jobcenter will decide on your application. You will be informed of the decision on your application in writing by post.

Apply for unemployment benefit II online:

  • You can easily and conveniently submit the simplified application for unemployment benefit II online. To do this, go to 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 are unable or unwilling to submit completed attachments or supporting documents, you can do so if your Jobcenter asks you to do so.
  • The Jobcentre will decide on your application. You will be notified of the decision on your application in writing by post.

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