There are two types of unemployment benefits in Germany- Arbeitslosengeld I and Arbeitslosengeld II. Which one you receive will depend on whether you have made contributions to the statutory unemployment insurance, and how long you have been unemployed.
If you don’t meet the requirements to receive Arbeitslosengeld I, unemployment benefit I, or if you have a low earning income, you can apply for a basic subsistence benefit, which is named Arbeitslosengeld II.
To qualify for Arbeitslosengeld II, the requirements are:
You are entitled to receive unemployment benefit II if:
- You are unable to meet the necessary living expenses for yourself or for the members of your household
- You are aged between 15 and the statutory retirement age
- You are able to work at least three hours a day
- You are a European Union, EEA, or Swiss citizen
- If applicable, you hold a valid settlement or residence that entitles you to work in Germany
- If you are not capable of earning a work salary due to special circumstances like an illness or incapacity, but you live in a joint household with someone who is entitled to unemployment benefit II, you may receive what is called the social benefit- Sozialgeld. This benefit is essentially the same as Arbeitslosengeld II.
How much do you receive in benefits of Arbeitslosengeld II?
This type of unemployment benefit is provided with the intention of securing basic subsistence. The exact amount you will receive is dependent on your income, assets and family situation. Generally, the amount is decided based on a basic needs rate including additional personal needs like accommodation and heating.
Additionally, children and young adults are eligible for certain types of education and participation assistants like school field trips and school supplies.
The standard of basic needs varies by age:
- Single and single parents who are over 18 years old: EUR 364
- 6 year old or younger children: EUR 237
- Children between 6 and 13 years: EUR 270
- For children between 14 and 17 years: EUR 306
- For young adults between 15 and below 25 years: EUR 324
- Young adults who are 25 years and older must file their own application for (Alg II), regardless of the fact whether they live in their own flat or with their parents
- As an additional tip- if you’re a parent and have children expenses that are pressuring your reliance on Arbeitslosengeld II payment, you can apply for the supplementary child allowance, the Kinderzuschlag
How to apply for Arbeitslosengeld II:
This type of benefit is only given when all other possible benefits that you might be entitled to receive have been paid out. Therefore, before you apply to receive this benefit, you must have already applied for all other social security or assistance benefits that you may be eligible for.
For your review, these are some of them:
- Child benefit or child allowance
- Early retirement pension
- Sickness benefit
- Housing benefit
- Maternity benefit
- Parental allowance
The steps you must complete to apply are as follows:
1. Register at your nearest job center
For this registration, you will need to bring:
- Your ID card or passport- Please note that a driver's license is not accepted as a form of ID for this purpose
- If applicable-Your visa
- Your social security ID-Sozialversicherungsausweis
2. Fill out an Application for Arbeitslosengeld II
All the forms you may need to fill can be either downloaded from the Federal Employment Agency’s website, or at the job center during your initial appointment. Differently, from the application of Arbeitslosengeld I that is only available in German, the application for this benefit can be found in English and other various languages.
3. Submit personal documentation
In addition to the submission of the application form, you will need to submit personal documents to prove your need to receive this benefit. These documents generally include:
- Bank statements from the last six months
- Your rental agreement
- Utility bills
- Details of your income and assets
Based on these documents and the discussion you have with the agent at the job center, a determination will be made on your eligibility to receive the benefit . If you are indeed eligible, you will receive a notification with a schedule of payments in the post. Furthermore, you will be informed of any further steps you need to take, including attending appointments, applying for jobs, or undertaking training to become more qualified to find a job.
Please be advised that you may also have to participate in programs made for the specific purpose of integrating back to the workplace. These programs are sometimes offered through vocational training, additional education, or work opportunities.
Please note that if you reject an offer of employment or an opportunity to participate in a training course, your unemployment benefit might be reduced or even cut off entirely.