If, as an employee or trainee, you become unemployed, you receive unemployment benefit.
If, as an employee or trainee, you become unemployed, you receive unemployment benefit if you:
If you are unemployed, you must take all opportunities to rejoin the workforce. You will sign a written work integration agreement with the labour office on this subject. If you fail to comply with this agreement, the labour office can completely or partially withdraw your unemployment benefits.
The contribution rate for unemployment insurance is 3% of your earned income. As with pensions, there is a contribution assessment ceiling. The contribution is usually paid half-and-half by the employee and the employer.
Basic jobseekers' allowance (unemployment benefit II / income support):
If you are not eligible for unemployment benefits, you may receive unemployment benefit II (also known as "Hartz IV") on top of unemployment benefit or in addition to low unemployment benefits or remuneration, provided that you are:
People who are not fit for work and live in the same household as someone who is fit for work and qualifies for benefits (usually in a shared apartment), receive income support to ensure their subsistence, provided that they do not belong to the category of persons defined more closely in the twelfth book of the Social Code (SBG XII).
Unemployment insurance is a compulsory insurance with the Federal Labour Office. The Federal Labour Office is divided into the central office in Nuremberg, the regional offices and the labour offices in all major cities. All employees, trainees and young persons with disabilities are covered by unemployment insurance.
To receive unemployment benefits, you must personally inform the labour office that you are unemployed and apply for the benefit.
You are required to report voluntarily any change in your personal situation to the labour office, in case the change may impact your entitlement to benefits (e.g. if you start to receive a pension or have found a job).
of the net wage they received on average per day during the 12 months before becoming unemployed. Usually, the gross unemployment benefits are reduced by the legal salary deductions employees normally incur (generalised net salary). For 2017, this will be a maximum of EUR 6,350 per month in West Germany and EUR 5,700 in East Germany.
Labour offices pay unemployment benefit for 24 months at most. It depends in particular on how long you have paid contributions and how old you are.
To receive unemployment benefits, you have to have insured at least 12 months in the unemployment insurance in the last two years before registering as unemployed.
The labour office can withdraw your unemployment benefits for up to 12 weeks (blocked period), if you for example without cause:
During your period of unemployment, the unemployment insurance pays for your:
While on unemployment benefit, you are also insured against some kinds of accidents.
There are no special provisions in Germany for people who take early retirement. Nevertheless, in many sectors there are provisions under collective agreements for early retirement.
Basic jobseekers' allowance (unemployment benefit II / income support):
If you cannot ensure your subsistence adequately or at all from your income or assets, you may apply for basic subsistence benefits for jobseekers.
Whoever is in need for help has a constitutional right to receive support from the state. The basic jobseekers' support provides full subsistence for a decent existence. These include nutrition, clothing, household goods, decent accommodation, heating, health and hygiene, as well as the possibility of maintaining interpersonal relationships and at least a minimum involvement in social, cultural and political life.
Unemployment benefit II is paid out by the local competent job centres. The benefits are usually approved for twelve months at a time. You must then apply again for the benefits and demonstrate again that you still meet the requirements for it. You must also report any changes which could have an impact on the amount of benefits (e.g. accepting work) immediately to the job centre. Benefits to secure subsistence are not paid for the past or for emergencies that have already been overcome. Therefore, it is recommendable to submit the application in good time. When applying, you must inform the job centre about your financial assets, e.g. indicate how much you have in savings and whether you own a house, an apartment or a car. If you provide them with false or incomplete information, you can be punished for fraud. In urgent cases, you may apply for an advance payment for the time while the job centre processes your application.
The unemployment benefit II or the income support is paid out by the local competent job centre as a monthly flat rate cash benefit. The benefits to secure the subsistence level of single people or single parents – the so-called standard requirement – are EUR 409 as of 1 January 2017. If several people live in a community of needs the standard needs are granted as follows:
Additionally, the expenses for accommodation and heating are recognised as a need, if this is appropriate. Apart from this additional needs have to be taken into account among others for pregnant women or single parents, as well as one-time benefits, for example for initial provisions in case of birth or moving into a new home.
Furthermore, the educational and integration packages ensure that children, adolescents and young adults receive at least the specific socio-cultural bare minimum. This also pays supplements for example for school outings, field trips, school necessities like exercise books, pens and books, travel tickets for school buses (school transport), school lunches, after-school childcare centres and similar establishments, sport, culture and leisure activities for children and young people, and, under specific conditions, remedial classes or private tuition (learning support).
On this basis all people in need are helped to guarantee the socio-cultural bare minimum for a humane life.
Irrespective of that, the main purpose is to avoid that the need for help arises and, where it cannot be avoided, to keep it as short as possible and do everything to overcome it as quickly as possible. Therefore, the integration into the labour market is paramount for people who are capable of working.
Therefore, invitations to the job centre have to be accepted. If you do not attend and have no valid reason, your unemployment benefits II can be fully or partly be reduced.
You receive unemployment insurance, income support and unemployment benefit II only by applying for it. Applications are made at labour offices and job centres, where you can obtain the relevant forms.
Trade unions, among others, offer their members free advice on social rights issues. Charitable associations such as unemployment centres help those in need with the forms and will also accompany you, if required, to the public authorities.
European Commission publications:
If you still have social insurance in one or more countries other than Germany, ask about the effects of this on your unemployment insurance and child benefit: