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Apply for unemployment benefit II

The unemployment benefit II serves as basic security, i.e. to secure your livelihood. The basic security for jobseekers supports you with

  • benefits designed to help you find a job,
  • Help in finding a training place and
  • Benefits to secure your livelihood.

The basic security benefits are transferred to your account every month in advance.

The job centre checks at regular intervals whether you are in need of help. The job centre therefore normally approves the benefits for 12 months. Sometimes the Jobcenter grants unemployment benefit II for only 6 months, for example, if your income is different every month or, if necessary, within the framework of the regulations for simplified access to the basic security systems.

Lump sum

You will receive a lump sum to secure your livelihood. It covers your needs, such as nutrition, clothing and personal hygiene, and is adjusted annually. For 2022, the following amounts apply to the standard requirements: 

  • Single, single parents, adults with underage partners: EUR 449.00
  • Adult partners: EUR 404,00
  • Other persons of legal age aged 18 to 24 and persons under the age of 25 who move out of their parental household without assurance from the municipal body (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 requirements

If you need more money due to certain circumstances, you can also receive benefits for it under certain circumstances. Benefits for so-called additional needs are received, for example, 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 services:

  • Services for your accommodation and heating, as far as these costs are reasonable. What costs are reasonable depends on the place where you live. Note: As part of the rules on simplified access to basic security schemes, the actual accommodation and heating costs for authorisation periods starting until 31 December 2022 are regularly taken into account.
    • 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 job center. You must apply for the assurance at your job centre. In your application, state the reasons for your move. You will receive the assurance if
      • speak serious social reasons for moving out of your parents' home and you can prove them,
      • the move to the new apartment is important to take up a new job, or
      • there is another important reason.
    • If you move without the assurance of the job center, the costs for the apartment and the heating will not be covered by the job center. Also money for the initial equipment of your apartment will then not be paid.
  • If you move to a new apartment (after the assurance has been given) or have to accept a new job and have to move for it, the job center will pay you the necessary relocation costs and, if necessary, grant the rental deposit as a loan.
  • In emergencies where your livelihood is at risk, you can get a loan in the form of cash or in-kind benefits on a separate application. This can be, for example, if something has been stolen from you or something has broken. However, the standard requirement already includes an amount to save. This means that you usually have to pay for purchases from the money saved from the standard rate.
  • You can also receive one-time support on separate request in certain situations. Examples of this are an initial equipment of the apartment or an initial equipment during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Contributions to your health and long-term care insurance.
  • Services for education and participation in social and cultural life for children, adolescents and young adults, such as
    • School trips,
    • communal lunch or
    • Equipped with school supplies.
  • You must apply separately for extracurricular learning support (tutoring). Note: In the case of individual assistance for learning support during the pandemic and immediately thereafter, the separate application for reimbursement of expenses until 31 December 2023 (as part of the action programme "Catch up after Corona" action programme for children and young people adopted on 5 May 2021 will no longer apply). 

Consideration of income and assets

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

Income includes:

  • income from a job (including from the self-employed),
  • Compensation benefits such as unemployment benefit I, parental allowance or sickness benefit,
  • capital and interest income as well as income from shareholdings,
  • income from letting and leasing, agriculture and forestry,
  • maintenance and child benefit,
  • Pensions
  • one-off income, such as tax refunds or inheritances, 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) and
  • advertising costs, i.e. certain costs caused by the exercise of your profession,
  • legally prescribed insurance (e.g. motor vehicle liability),
  • a flat rate of EUR 30.00 per month for private insurance, such as household contents insurance and
  • Contributions for a Riester pension.

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

Your assets will be taken into account in the examination of entitlement to unemployment benefit II if they are usable and exceed a certain allowance.

Note: Under the rules on simplified access to basic security schemes, assets are not taken into account for 6 months, regularly for authorisation periods starting until 31 December 2022. Assets are nevertheless taken into account for these authorisation periods if they are substantial.

For the consideration of assets, the following applies: Assets are usable 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 may not freely dispose of are not usable, for example because the asset is pledged. 

Assets include, for example: 

  • Cash
  • Balances on investment accounts, savings, building savings, savings bonds, securities,
  • Capital life insurance and
  • House and real estate and condominiums of inappropriate size as well as other rights in rem to land.

Your assets do not take into account:

  • A basic allowance for you and, if applicable, for your partner. This basic allowance has an amount of EUR 150.00 for each completed year of life. So you can calculate your basic allowance by calculating your age times 150. The minimum amount of the basic allowance is EUR 3,100.00. This basic allowance also applies to any minor child entitled to benefits.
  • Allowances for necessary purchases. Here you and every person who lives in your community of needs is entitled to an allowance of EUR 750.00.
  • Other pensions. This refers to assets that you have built up for retirement 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 are not allowed to use this money before you retire. This is contractually recorded in the so-called exclusion of exploitation.
  • Reasonable household contents.
  • An appropriate motor vehicle for every person capable of working in the community of need. 
  • Assets which are indispensable for the commencement or continuation of vocational training or earning capacity.
  • Note: As part of the regulations on simplified access to basic security systems, the asset assessment is limited to only significant assets for authorisation periods starting by 31 December 2022.

Performance Degradations

Please note that unemployment benefit II can be reduced if you behave in breach of duty without good cause. Conduct contrary to duty means: if you despite written instruction about legal consequences

  • refuse to fulfil your obligations as set out 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, employment opportunity or a sponsored employment relationship or prevent its initiation by your conduct, or
  • do not take a reasonable measure for integration into work or training, break off or give rise to dropping out.

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

Please also note your reporting obligations at the job centre. If you do not comply with a registration request from the job center without good cause, your unemployment benefit II can be reduced by 10 percent of the relevant standard requirement. Any further failure to report can lead to a further reduction of 10 percent of the standard requirement.

The monthly reduction amount may not exceed 30 percent of the relevant standard requirement. A reduction in performance may not take place if this would lead to exceptional hardship in the specific individual case. If these obligations are subsequently fulfilled or if you subsequently agree to fulfil your obligations, the job centre shall provide the services in full again from this point in time.

The reduction shall not continue for more than one month from that date.

Process flow

In order to receive unemployment benefit II, you must submit an application. To do this, please contact your job centre. This will also be possible online (at least until 31 December 2022).

Apply for unemployment benefit II in writing:

  • Visit your responsible job center. It is located in the county or city where you usually reside or are registered.
  • In the job center, your personal situation will be discussed and you will receive all the application forms and documents that you have 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 in the application documents for unemployment benefit II. You can get help in the job center or use the completion instructions, which are available in German.
  • Submit your complete application documents to your job centre. This also includes:
    • Proof of rent, heating and ancillary costs and
    • Proof of income and assets.
  • The job centre will decide on your application. The decision on your application will be communicated to you in writing by post.

Apply for unemployment benefit II online:

  • You can submit the application for unemployment benefit II easily and conveniently online. To do so, visit the website of the Federal Employment Agency.
  • Navigate to the application for unemployment benefit II. Follow the instructions and completion instructions and fill out the application directly on the computer.
  • Save the document on your computer and upload the completed application.
  • If you have already completed attachments or proofs of your application, please upload them as well. If you are not yet able or do not want to submit completed attachments or certificates, you can do so if your job centre asks you to do so.
  • The job centre will decide on your application. The decision on your application will be communicated to you in writing by post.


  • They are able to work. 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 SGB II.
  • They are in need of help. This means that you cannot cover your livelihood and the maintenance of your community of needs completely alone from your own resources and forces of the community of need.
  • You have no overriding claims against other service providers or other persons, such as against divorced spouses or the father or mother of your child.
  • They 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 wage certificate or current bank statements (e.g. pensions, sick pay, child benefit, maintenance, maintenance advance)
  • Proof of existing assets (e.g. savings, shares, securities, home savings contracts)
  • Proof of expenses, for example by presenting bank statements (or, for example, rental agreement, rental receipts, heating costs, documents on insurance contributions)
  • Proof of earlier receipt of benefits, also at another job centre (approval notice, proof of achievement)
  • If you submit the application following an employment relationship:
    • Working papers (also resignation letters or declarations on the work task)
    • Employment certificate (to be completed by the employer)

What are the fees?

Fee: free of charge
Payment in advance: No
You have no costs to bear if you have an account. If you do not have an account, you will receive a payment instruction for offsetting. That's a check. However, this will incur costs that will be deducted directly from the service to which you are entitled. Since the amount of the costs for the payment order can vary, please contact your responsible job center. You can have the cheque converted into cash at the issuing bank.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

There is no deadline. However, benefits are only granted from the month in which you submitted the application. If you currently still receive unemployment benefits, it is advisable to submit the application early before the end of these benefits so that you do not get into financial distress.

Objection Deadline: 1 Month

Processing duration

Processing Time: 0 - 14 Working days
For initial applications in the service area, an average processing time of a maximum of 14 working days is targeted. For this, the documents must be complete.

Applications / forms

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


  • Contradiction
  • Urgent proceedings before the Social Court
  • Action before the Social Court

What else should I know?

Basic security means that your subsistence minimum is secured, i.e. the security of what is necessary for life.

If you are not able to work, however, you can still be entitled to benefits if you live with one or an employable beneficiary in a community of need. Then you can get social money.

The benefits for education and participation in social life for children, adolescents and young adults no longer have to be applied for separately since 1 August 2019. From 1 January 2024, this will not apply to extracurricular learning support (see note under Achievements).


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS)

Professionally released on


competent Bodies

Landkreis Emsland - Fachbereich Arbeit

Address: Ordeniederung 1 , 49716 Meppen

Postal address: Post Office Box 15 62

Telephone: 05931 44-0
Fax: 05931 44-3621
Transport Connection:
Building Access:
elevator available : yes
wheelchair-accessible : yes


Point of contact:
Stefan Kley
Telephone: 05931 44-1236
E 236
responsible for:

Data protection information

Landkreis Emsland

Address: Ordeniederung 1 , 49716 Meppen

Postal address: Post Office Box 15 62

Telephone: 05931 44-0
Fax: 05931 44-3621
Transport Connection:
Building Access:
elevator available : yes
wheelchair-accessible : yes
bank account:
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Emsländische Volksbank
IBAN: DE26266600600120050000
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Sparkasse Emsland
IBAN: DE39266500010000001339
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Postbank Hannover
IBAN: DE36250100300012132306


Point of contact:
Marc-André Burgdorf
responsible for:
Bernd Otten (Datenschutzbeauftragter)
Telephone: 05931 44-1605
Fax: 05931 44-391605
responsible for:

Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen

Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover

Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99
Building Access:
elevator available : unknown
wheelchair-accessible : unknown

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)

Further Links

Single points of contact of the state of Lower Saxony, Single points of contact of the countries of Europe, advice and assistance for EU citizens and their families.