Apply for citizen's allowance
The citizen's allowance, also known as basic security for job seekers, is a benefit of the welfare state for people of working age who cannot cover their livelihood from their own income or assets. It is regulated in the Second Book 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, those who are able to work receive comprehensive support from the job centres in their search for a job or qualification opportunities.
Conversely, anyone who receives benefits from the state, i.e. the taxpayer, must actively participate in ensuring that he or she can stand on his or her own two feet again as quickly as possible. The job centres will support you in this.
Children in need of help also receive citizen's 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 benefit, you have been receiving citizen's allowance since 01.01.2023.
The basic security benefits are transferred to your account every month in advance.
Lump-sum monthly amount (standard requirement)
If you receive citizen's allowance, you will receive a lump sum to secure your livelihood (so-called standard requirement). It covers your needs, such as nutrition, clothing and personal care, and is adjusted annually. For 2023, the following amounts apply to the standard requirement levels (RBS):
- Single persons, single parents, adults with underage partners: EUR 502.00 (RBS 1)
- Adult partners: 451,00 EUR (RBS 2)
- other persons of legal age from 18 to 24 years of age and persons under 25 years of age who move out of their parents' household without the assurance of the municipal 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: EUR 348.00 (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 – if you meet your personal requirements. For example, expectant mothers from the 13th week of pregnancy, single parents, people with disabilities who receive benefits to participate in working life or people who need a more costly diet for medical reasons receive benefits for so-called additional needs.
Costs for accommodation and heating
If you receive citizen's allowance, the costs of your accommodation and heating will be covered, as far 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 they 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 an appropriate extent. What 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 receive these benefits if you have a so-called assurance from the job center. You must apply for the assurance at your job center.
In addition, you can receive the following benefits:
- In emergencies where your livelihood is at risk, you can get a loan in cash or in kind 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 new purchases and replacements from the money saved from the standard rate.
- In certain situations, you can also receive one-off support upon separate application. Examples of this are an initial furnishing of the apartment or an initial furnishing in the event of 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, for example for
- School trips,
- communal lunch,
- Equipment with school supplies (2x a year) or
- Benefits for extracurricular learning support (tutoring).
Consideration of income and assets
When calculating the citizen's 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 citizen's allowance if you are in need of help.
- income from work (including from the self-employed),
- Compensation benefits such as unemployment benefit from the Employment Agency, parental allowance or sickness benefit,
- Capital and interest income as well as income from shareholdings, insofar as they exceed EUR 100.00,
- income from renting and leasing, agriculture and forestry,
- maintenance payments and child benefit,
- one-off income, e.g. tax refunds or inheritances (only until 30.06.2023) and
- Vocational training allowance, training allowance, BAföG.
The following are subtracted from this:
- Taxes that are attributable to income (for example, 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 caused by the exercise of your profession,
- legally required insurance (e.g. motor vehicle liability),
- a lump sum of EUR 30.00 per month for private insurance, for example 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 (tax deduction). If you have an income of more than EUR 100, another certain amount is also not 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 school 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 volunteers and FSJ volunteers also benefit from increased allowances, as do young people in the transition period between school and training.
Allowances also apply to assets that can be realised.
Wealth is the totality (stock) of a person's possessions measurable in money. But not all assets have to be realized. Assets are realizable if they can be used directly for subsistence or if their monetary value can be used for subsistence through consumption, sale, mortgaging, renting or leasing. Assets that you cannot or may not freely dispose of, for example because the asset is pledged, are not realizable.
Assets include, for example:
- Balances on investment accounts, savings, home savings deposits, savings bonds, securities, cryptocurrencies,
- endowment life insurance,
- Accident insurance with premium refund, and
- House and real estate and condominiums of inappropriate size as well as other rights in rem to land.
The following applies to the asset allowances:
- Since 01.01.2023, a so-called "waiting period" of one year applies when receiving citizen's allowance for the first time. During this waiting period, various special regulations apply. During the waiting period, EUR 40,000 for the first person in the community of needs is not taken into account. 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 needs. However, if one member of the community of needs has more assets, but another member has less than EUR 15,000, his unused allowance is transferred to the other member of the community of needs.
In principle, the following are not taken into account from your assets:
- adequate household contents
- An appropriate motor vehicle (motor vehicle) for every employable person in the community of need. A motor vehicle is appropriate, provided that 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 (if there are more than 4 people, even larger).
- Insurance contracts and other forms of old-age provision intended for old-age provision, if they are expressly promoted as old-age provision under federal law.
- In the case of the self-employed, other assets intended for retirement provision, regardless of the type of investment. This applies up to a maximum limit to be determined individually.
- Assets that are demonstrably intended for the early procurement 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 realisation of the assets.
- property and rights, insofar as their exploitation means a particular hardship for the person concerned.
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 can be defined in a legally binding manner for you by means of requests with instructions on legal consequences.
- Reductions in benefits due to breaches of duty and failure to report shall 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 first violation. In the event of a further breach of duty, the standard requirement will be reduced by 20 percent for 2 months. In the event of any 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 are cancelled if you fulfil the obligations to cooperate or subsequently credibly declare that you are fulfilling your obligations. However, even in these cases, the reduction period is at least one month.
- If you fail to report, your relevant standard requirement will be reduced by 10 percent of the standard requirement for one month.
- A reduction in performance does not take place if there is an important reason or if this would lead to exceptional hardship in a specific individual case.
- You have the opportunity to present the circumstances of your individual case at a hearing. If you repeatedly violate your obligations or miss reporting deadlines, the hearing should take place in person.
- As a person under 25 years of age, you will usually receive a counselling service in the event of a reduction.
In order to receive citizen's money, you must submit an application. To do this, please contact your job centre. This can also be done online.
Apply for citizen's allowance in writing:
- Go to your local job centre. It is located in the county or city where you habitually reside or are registered.
- Your personal situation will be discussed at the job centre 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 citizen's money. You can get help at the job center or use the filling out 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 citizen's allowance online:
- Call up the online application for citizen's allowance easily and conveniently on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.
- Follow the instructions and instructions to fill out the application online.
- If you already have proof of your application, please upload it as well. If you are unable or unwilling to submit any evidence yet, you can do so later or 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 or online.
- 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 that applies to you in the table in § 7a of Book II OF THE SOCIAL CODE (SGB II).
- They are in need of help. This means that you cannot support your own necessary livelihood and the livelihood of your non-employable relatives living with you in a community of need either from your own resources (income and assets) and forces (use of labour) or with the help of other or priority benefits (e.g. unemployment benefit, housing benefit, child allowance).
- You do not have 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.
- They live in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Which documents are required?
- Applications forms
- Valid identification document:
- Identity card or
- valid passport with current registration certificate
- Residence permit
- Proof of income, e.g. a salary statement or current bank statements (e.g. on pensions, sickness benefit, child benefit, alimony, maintenance advance)
- Proof of existing assets (e.g. savings, shares, securities, building society contracts)
- Proof of expenses, for example by submitting bank statements (or, for example, rental agreement, rent receipts, heating costs, documents on insurance premiums)
- Proof of earlier receipt of benefits, also at another job center (notice of approval, proof of performance)
- if you submit the application following an employment relationship:
- Working papers (including a letter of resignation or a 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 early before these benefits expire so that you do not get into financial distress.
Applications / forms
Forms available: Yes
Written form required: No
Informal application possible: Yes
Personal appearance required: No
- Summary proceedings before the Social Court
- Action before the Social Court
What else should I know?
There are the following indications:
The Citizen's Allowance Act will comprehensively reform the basic security for jobseekers in 2023 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.