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Applying for benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act

If you do not have German citizenship and are not a member state of the EU and reside in Germany, you can receive benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act under certain conditions. These are the so-called basic benefits, benefits in the event of illness, pregnancy and childbirth as well as other benefits.

The basic benefits are intended to cover the necessary needs to secure one's livelihood. This means, for example, food, shelter, heating, clothing, personal hygiene and household goods. In addition, benefits for necessary personal needs are possible, which are intended to ensure participation in social life.

The benefits for pregnancy and childbirth also supplement additional needs for expectant mothers. This can be, for example, maternity clothes or initial baby equipment (for example, diapers and a diaper bag).

The health services are intended to guarantee your health care if you are not insured with a health insurance company. Health care is the treatment by a doctor or health care professional if you are acutely ill or suffer from pain. In addition, you can receive the necessary vaccinations (e.g. against influenza) and medically required preventive examinations. Preventive check-ups are regular check-ups to detect and treat diseases at an early stage.

The other benefits are aimed in particular at special cases. These can be special benefits to secure the livelihood or for the needs of children, for example provision of school supplies and integration assistance for disabled children. Integration aids help to participate in community life. It is also possible to cover certain interpreting costs and the costs of obtaining a passport.

The benefits are possible if your disposable income and assets are used up or insufficient and you do not receive benefits according to SGB II/SGB XII. If you do not live alone, the income of family members with whom you live will be taken into account. In this context, family members include your life partner or spouse, as well as (minor) children.

Benefits under the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act can be provided in kind or in cash. Depending on your living situation and where you are staying, the type and amount of benefits granted may differ. In addition to payment in kind or cash, payment is also possible in the form of vouchers or otherwise.

Costs for accommodation and heating are usually taken into account when calculating your entitlement by the responsible institution. Whether the support is in the form of cash or in-kind benefits depends on the circumstances of your individual case. The amount of the benefits granted is adjusted regularly and is staggered according to age and housing situation.

Process flow

Benefits under the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act can be applied for informally. It is advisable to make a personal appointment for consultation with your responsible office. Please take all the required documents with you to the appointment.

  • You submit the application to your local authority or via the online portal.
  • You submit the required supporting documents.
  • The competent authority will examine your application and calculate your needs.
  • The competent authority will decide on your application and inform you of the result. For this purpose, you will receive a corresponding notification from your competent authority.
  • If your application has been approved, you will receive a notification of approval. If it is rejected, you will receive a rejection notice.
  • In both cases, the decision contains the reasons for the decision. It also contains information on the possibility of appealing against the decision. This is accompanied by an indication of the time limit within which you can lodge an appeal.
  • The notification of approval contains the amount of the benefit to be paid and the start of the payment. From this date onwards, the benefits to which you are entitled will be made available to you by the competent institution, usually at the beginning of the month. The payment can vary depending on the individual case, for example via bank transfer, cash payment, payment order for clearing, cash card, cash cheque or vouchers.
  • In the case of health services: Depending on your responsible office, you will receive either a treatment certificate or an electronic health card.
    • Treatment certificate: You present the treatment certificate to your doctor within the deadline and will be treated. If you need new health services, a new application will usually have to be submitted. Further information on the services and the treatment certificate can be obtained from your provider.
    • Electronic health card: You present the health card to your doctor and receive treatment. If you need new health services, you can see the doctor directly and do not need a new application.

Attention: You are obliged to inform your competent authority immediately of any changes in your personal and financial circumstances.

Who should I contact?

The districts and independent cities are responsible for the implementation of the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. Municipalities belonging to districts and joint municipalities can also be consulted. In the case of certain groups of persons, the State Reception Authority of Lower Saxony (LAB NI) is responsible.


  • You come from a third country and do not have citizenship of an EU country.
  • They reside in Germany.
  • You meet one of the following criteria
    • You have a temporary residence permit in accordance with the Asylum Act.
    • You want to enter via an airport and entry is not (yet) permitted.
    • You have a residence permit in accordance with §§ 23 (1) or 25 (4) sentence 1 of the Residence Act.
    • They have a residence permit in accordance with Section 25 (5) of the Residence Act, provided that the decision on the suspension of their deportation was not made 18 months ago.
    • You have a residence permit pursuant to Section 24 (1) of the Residence Act, which was issued after 24.02.2022 and before 01.06.2022, or a corresponding fictional certificate pursuant to Section 81 (5) in conjunction with Section 3 or (4) of the Residence Act, which was issued after 24.02.2022 and before 01.06.2022, and you have not undergone an identification procedure pursuant to Section 49 of the Residence Act or Section 16 of the Asylum Act, nor have any data been provided pursuant to Section 3 (1) of the AZR Act (unless an identification procedure is not provided for in accordance with Section 49 of the Residence Act).
    • You have a tolerated stay according to § 60a AufenthG.
    • Your toleration has expired.
    • You are the spouse, life partner or minor child of the aforementioned persons.
    • You submit a follow-up application pursuant to Section 71 of the Asylum Act or a confirmatory application pursuant to Section 71a of the Asylum Act.
    • You have applied for a residence permit, but have not yet received a decision from the Foreigners' Registration Office.
  • You have used up your income and assets, which you can dispose of, or this is not sufficient to secure your livelihood.
  • You are not entitled to benefits from the basic provision for jobseekers (SGB II) or to assistance with subsistence or basic security according to the Twelfth Book of the Social Code (SGB XII).
  • You are not entitled to statutory health insurance (e.g. family insurance).

If you are applying to a municipal authority, you must have your habitual residence in this municipality or be assigned to it.

Which documents are required?

  • Completed application
  • Proof of current residence (e.g. passport, temporary residence permit, tolerated stay)
  • Proof of assets (e.g. bank statements of accounts and investments at home and abroad, vehicles, jewellery, real estate)
  • Proof of income of all family members in the household (e.g. pay slips, pension notices, child benefit, BAföG, maintenance advance)
  • If applicable, proof of health and long-term care insurance
  • If applicable, performance-related evidence
    • Maternity record
    • School Certificate
    • Quotes
    • In the case of obligations to cooperate under administrative law: Notices and requests from the Foreigners' Registration Office
  • If applicable, proof of insurance and travel expenses (in the case of gainful employment)
  • If applicable, proof of previous social benefits (notice of cancellation from the Jobcenter, employment notices from other municipalities)
  • If applicable, rental agreement and proof of current rent amount, heating costs and electricity
  • If applicable, marriage certificate, divorce decree, proof of spousal maintenance

If applicable, proof of rights of access (in the case of separated parents living in Germany)

What are the fees?


Emission: free of charge

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

You can receive the benefits if the authority recognizes your need for help.

The deadlines set by the competent authority for the submission of documents must be complied with. If you are unable to do so for understandable reasons, you must apply for an extension. Otherwise, the competent authority may refuse to provide you with the benefit due to non-compliance with your statutory obligations to cooperate.

This also applies to the objection periods, i.e. if you do not agree with the decision - not only with the rejection notice, but also with the approval notice (amount of the resulting benefit entitlement).

Applications / forms

Forms available: this must be requested from the respective benefit authority

Written form required: no

Informal application possible: yes

Personal appearance required: no


You can appeal against the decision of the authority within the time limit contained in the decision.

What else should I know?

You are obliged to notify your competent authority immediately of any changes in your personal and financial circumstances. If you fail to do so, the payment of benefits may be stopped.

If the commencement of gainful employment is not reported correctly, completely or in time, this is an administrative offence. This can be punished with a fine of up to 5,000 euros.

Technically approved by

Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sports

Professionally released on



The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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