Apply for a citizen's allowance
The citizens' allowance, also known as basic income support for jobseekers, is a benefit provided by the welfare state for people who are able to work and who are unable to cover their living expenses from their own income or assets. It is regulated in Book II of the Social Code (SGB II).
The citizen's allowance secures the economic subsistence level and enables you to participate in the cultural and social life of our society.
At the same time, employable persons entitled to the Citizens' Allowance receive comprehensive support from the job centres in their search for a job or qualification opportunities.
Conversely, those who receive benefits from the state, i.e. from taxpayers, must play an active role in ensuring that they can stand on their own two feet again as quickly as possible. The job centres will support you in this.
Children in need of help also receive citizens' allowance and are taken into account by the job centres in order to give them access to education and participation.
Important: The citizen's allowance is only paid upon application.
If you have previously received unemployment benefit II or social benefits, you will receive citizens' allowance since 01.01.2023.
The basic security benefits are transferred to your account every month in advance.
Flat-rate monthly amount (standard requirement)
If you receive a citizen's allowance, you will receive a lump sum to secure your livelihood (so-called standard needs). It covers your needs, such as nutrition, clothing and personal hygiene, and is adjusted annually. For 2023, the following amounts apply to the standard requirement levels (RBS):
- Single persons, single parents, adults with minor partners: EUR 502.00 (RBS 1)
- Adult partners: 451.00 EUR (RBS 2)
- other adults aged 18 to 24 and persons under the age of 25 who move out of their parents' household without the consent of the local authority (18 to 24 years): EUR 402.00 (RBS 3)
- Children from 14 to 17 years: 420.00 EUR (RBS 4)
- Children from 6 to 13 years: 348.00 EUR (RBS 5)
- Children from 0 to 5 years: 318.00 EUR (RBS 6)
Immediate supplement for children
Children, adolescents and young adults also receive an immediate monthly supplement of EUR 20.00 (RBS 3-6).
If you need more money due to special situations, you can also receive additional benefits for this – provided that your personal requirements are met. For example, expectant mothers from the 13th week of pregnancy, single parents, people with disabilities who receive benefits for participation in working life or people who need a more expensive diet for medical reasons receive benefits for so-called additional needs.
Costs for accommodation and heating
If you receive a citizen's allowance, the costs for your accommodation and heating will be covered, insofar as these costs are reasonable. In the first year of receiving benefits, the actual costs of your apartment or house are covered (net cold rent), even if these are not reasonable (so-called "waiting period"). From the second year of receipt of benefits, the costs will only be covered if they are reasonable.
The one-year waiting period does not apply to heating costs. Even in the first year, heating costs are not covered to the actual extent, but to the appropriate extent. What costs are reasonable depends on the place where you live.
- Special case: If you are under 25 years of age 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 job centre.
In addition, you can receive the following benefits:
- In emergencies where your livelihood is at risk, you can apply separately for a loan in cash or in kind. This can be, for example, if something has been stolen from you or something has broken. However, the standard requirement already includes an amount for saving. This means that you usually have to pay for new purchases and replacements from the money saved from the standard rate.
- In certain situations, you can also receive one-off support on a separate application. Examples of this are an initial furnishing of the home or an initial furnishing during pregnancy and childbirth.
- You can receive the contributions to your health and long-term care insurance.
- For your children, you will receive benefits for "education and participation in social and cultural life" (BuT). These are automatically applied for with the main application, e.g. for
- School trips,
- communal lunch,
- Provision of school supplies (2x per year) or
- Services for extracurricular learning support (tutoring).
Consideration of income and assets
When calculating the Citizens' Allowance, your income and assets and those of all persons with whom you live in a "community of need" are taken into account, because you can only receive Citizens' Allowance if you are in need of help.
- income from work (including that of self-employed persons),
- Compensation benefits such as unemployment benefit from the Employment Agency, parental allowance or sickness benefit,
- Income from capital and interest as well as income from shareholdings, insofar as they exceed EUR 100.00,
- income from renting and leasing, agriculture and forestry,
- alimony and child benefit,
- one-off income, such as tax refunds or inheritances (only until 30.06.2023) and
- Vocational training allowance, training allowance, BAföG.
The following are deducted from this:
- Taxes attributable to income (e.g. payroll tax and income tax).
- Compulsory contributions to statutory social security (e.g. health insurance, long-term care insurance, pension insurance)
- Income-related expenses, i.e. certain costs incurred in the exercise of your profession,
- insurance required by law (e.g. motor vehicle liability),
- a lump sum of EUR 30.00 per month for private insurance, such as household contents insurance, and
- Contributions for a Riester pension.
As a general rule, your income up to EUR 100.00 will not be taken into account (deduction). If you have an income of more than EUR 100, a certain amount will not be taken into account (so-called allowance). This amount depends on the amount of your gross income.
As a young person, you are allowed to keep the income from pupil and student jobs and the income from vocational training up to the mini-job limit (currently EUR 520.00). Your income from student jobs during the holidays is completely disregarded.
Federal Voluntary Service and FSJ participants also benefit from increased allowances, as do young people in the transition period between school and training.
Tax-free allowances also apply to assets that can be realised.
Wealth is the totality (inventory) of a person's possessions that can be measured in money. But not all assets have to be exploited. Assets are realisable if they can be used directly for subsistence or if their monetary value can be used for subsistence through consumption, sale, loan, rental or lease. Assets that you cannot or are not allowed to dispose of freely are not realizable, for example because the asset is pledged.
Assets include, for example:
- Balances on investment accounts, savings deposits, building society deposits, savings bonds, securities, cryptocurrencies,
- endowment life insurance,
- Accident insurance with reimbursement of premiums, as well as
- House and land ownership and condominiums of inappropriate size, as well as other rights in rem over land.
The following applies to capital allowances:
- Since 01.01.2023, a so-called "waiting period" of one year applies to the first withdrawal of citizens' money. During this waiting period, various special regulations apply. During the waiting period, EUR 40,000 will not be taken into account for the first person in the community of need. For each additional person, EUR 15,000 remains untouched. At the end of the waiting period, the limit of EUR 15,000 applies to each member of the community of need. However, if one member of the community has more assets but another member has less than EUR 15,000, his or her unused allowance will be transferred to the other member of the community.
As a general rule, the following will not be taken into account from your assets:
- Adequate household contents
- An adequate motor vehicle (motor vehicle) for each employable person in the community of need. A vehicle is reasonable, as long as it does not exceed the value of EUR 15,000.
- An owner-occupied condominium of up to 130 m² or a house plot of up to 140 m² is not eligible assets (even larger if there are more than 4 people).
- Insurance contracts and other forms of retirement provision intended for retirement provision, if they are expressly promoted as retirement provision under federal law.
- In the case of the self-employed, other assets intended for retirement provision, regardless of the form of investment. This applies up to a maximum limit to be determined individually.
- Assets that are demonstrably intended for the early acquisition or maintenance of a house plot or condominium of appropriate size, This only applies if the house plot or condominium serves or is intended to serve people with disabilities or people in need of care for residential purposes and this purpose would be endangered by the use or exploitation of the assets.
- Objects and rights, insofar as their exploitation means a particular hardship for the data subject.
The citizen's allowance can be reduced due to breaches of duty or failure to report:
- If you do not comply with agreements on obligations to cooperate (personal efforts, participation in measures and applications for placement proposals), these obligations may be legally binding for you by means of requests with instructions on legal consequences.
- Reductions in benefits due to breaches of duty and failure to report amount to a total of no more than 30 percent of your relevant monthly standard requirement. Needs for accommodation and heating are not reduced.
- In the event of a breach of duty, your relevant standard requirement will be reduced by 10 percent for one month in the event of a breach of duty for the first violation. In the event of a further breach of duty, the standard requirement will be reduced by 20 percent for 2 months. For each further breach of duty within one year, you will receive 30 percent less of the standard requirement for 3 months.
- Reductions in performance due to breaches of duty will be cancelled if you fulfil the obligations to cooperate or if you subsequently credibly declare that you are complying with your obligations. However, even in these cases, the reduction period is at least one month.
- In the event of a failure to report, your relevant standard requirement will be reduced by 10 percent of the standard requirement for one month.
- A reduction in performance will not take place if there is an important reason or if this would lead to extraordinary hardship in the specific individual case.
- You have the opportunity to present the circumstances of your individual case at a hearing. If you repeatedly violate your duties or miss registration appointments, the hearing should take place in person.
- If you are under the age of 25, you will usually receive counselling in the event of a reduction.
In order to receive citizen money, you must submit an application. To do this, contact your job centre. This can also be done online.
Apply for citizens' allowance in writing:
- Visit your local job centre. It is located in the county or city in which you habitually reside or are registered.
- Your personal situation will be discussed at the Jobcenter and you will receive all the application forms and documents that you need to fill out.
- The application forms can be sent to you if you wish to do so, for example in a telephone call or by e-mail. You can also find the application forms on the Internet.
- Fill out the application documents for Citizens' Allowance. You can get help with this at the Jobcenter or use the instructions for filling out the form, which are available in German.
- Submit your complete application documents to your Jobcenter. This also 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 post.
Apply for Citizens' Allowance online:
- You can access the online application for citizens' allowance easily and conveniently on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.
- Follow the instructions and instructions to fill out the application and fill it out online.
- If you already have proof of your application, please upload it as well. If you are unable or do not want to submit any evidence yet, you can do so later or if your job centre 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 post or online.
- You are employable. This means that you
- be able to 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 applicable to you in the table in § 7a of the Social Code II (SGB II).
- They are in need of help. This means that you will not be able to cover your own necessary livelihood and the livelihood of your relatives who live with you in a community of need and who are unable to work either from your own resources (income and assets) and from your own resources (use of labour) or with the help of other or priority benefits (e.g. unemployment benefit, housing benefit, child supplement).
- You do not have any priority claims against other service providers (e.g. housing benefit) or other persons, such as divorced spouses or the father or mother of your child.
- You live in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Which documents are required?
- Applications forms
- Valid identity document:
- Identity card or
- Valid passport with current registration certificate
- Residence permit
- Proof of income, such as a salary statement or current bank statements (e.g. pensions, sickness benefits, child benefit, alimony, maintenance advances)
- Proof of existing assets (e.g. savings, shares, securities, building savings contracts)
- Proof of expenses, for example by submitting bank statements (or, for example, rental agreement, rent receipts, heating costs, insurance contribution documents)
- Proof of previous receipt of benefits, also at another job centre (notice of approval, proof of achievement)
- if you submit the application following an employment relationship:
- Working papers (including letter of resignation or declaration of abandonment)
- Certificate of employment (to be completed by the employer)
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
There is no deadline. However, the benefits are only granted from the month in which you submitted the application.
If you are currently still receiving unemployment benefits, it is advisable to apply well in advance of these benefits so that you do not get into financial hardship.
Applications / forms
Forms available: Yes
Written form required: No
Informal application possible: Yes
Personal appearance required: No
- Summary proceedings before the Social Court
- Appeal to the Social Court
What else should I know?
There are the following tips:
In 2023, the Citizens' Allowance Act will comprehensively reform the basic income support for jobseekers and bring it up to date. Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.
Technically approved by
Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS)
Professionally released on
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.