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Applying for housing benefit for the first time or again

Housing benefit is intended to enable you to live appropriately and in a way that is suitable for your family. You can receive housing benefit as

  • rent subsidy for tenants or subtenants of living space or for residents of a home (residents of a home within the meaning of the respective state law; this also includes people with disabilities who are admitted to special forms of housing not only temporarily for the provision of integration assistance) or as
  • burden allowance for owners of their own home or condominium

apply for this.

If the costs of accommodation are covered by another social benefit provider, you are not entitled to housing benefit. This is the case if you already receive

  • citizen's allowance or
  • basic income support in old age or
  • in the event of reduced earning capacity or
  • assistance towards living expenses or
  • receive another transfer benefit for which the costs of accommodation have been taken into account in the calculation.

As a rule, housing benefit is granted for 12 months.

The approval period is shortened accordingly if it is to be expected that the circumstances relevant to the payment of housing benefit will change before the 12 months have expired.

An application for continued benefit is possible at the earliest two months before the end of the approval period. The approval period can be found in the current notification.

To your local housing benefit authority

You must be entitled to housing benefit as an applicant. You are eligible for a rent subsidy as:

  • Tenants of residential property,
  • a subtenant of living space,
  • residents of a cooperative or foundation apartment,
  • residents of a residential home,
  • tenants with similar rights of use, in particular holders of permanent tenancy rights,
  • Owners of an apartment building (three or more apartments), a commercial building or a business, if you live in this building,
  • Owners of a detached or semi-detached house in which you live, but which also contains business premises to such an extent that it can no longer be regarded as a home,
  • Owners of a full-time agricultural business whose residential part is not separated from the business part.
  • women living in women's shelters, even if the remuneration is calculated on a daily basis.
  • A person who has been assigned to homeless accommodation or third-party accommodation by the homelessness authority, even if the usage fee (which is not calculated according to the number of days or staggered according to adults and children, for example) is paid to the homelessness authority,

You are eligible for a housing allowance as:

  • Owners of their own home or condominium,
  • Owners of a small housing estate,
  • Owners of an agricultural sideline,
  • Owners of a full-time agricultural property if the residential and commercial parts are separate and a housing benefit calculation can be made for the residential part,
  • Owners of a permanent right of residence similar to ownership
  • holders of heritable building rights and those who are entitled to the transfer of ownership of the building or apartment or to the transfer or granting of the heritable building right.

The owner of the dwelling must occupy the dwelling and pay the charges for it.

It is best to contact the relevant office in advance to find out what documents you need. In principle, you must provide the following proof of housing costs or charges:

  • about transfer benefits (for example, assistance with living expenses, social benefit, basic security benefits in old age and in the event of reduced earning capacity, benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act)
  • Certificate of earnings for the application for housing benefit,
  • proof of increased income-related expenses according to the tax assessment,
  • current notifications of pension payments of any kind,
  • benefits according to the Third Book of the Social Security Code - Employment Promotion (e.g. unemployment benefit I, short-time working allowance, transitional allowance),
  • Proof of sick pay and other wage replacement benefits,
  • last tax assessment notice (for self-employed persons/traders).

To be on the safe side, please state all income of all household members in cash or cash equivalents, regardless of its source and regardless of whether the income is taxable or not. This will avoid unnecessary queries. The Housing Benefit Office will then check which of the income is creditable. If necessary, other supporting documents must be enclosed:

  • Certificate of enrollment (students),
  • BAföG notification (students),
  • Declaration of monthly allowances from parents during studies,
  • Proof of health insurance,
  • Proof of pension or life insurance,
  • Appendix to the application for housing benefit in the case of expenses to fulfill statutory maintenance obligations,
  • Certificate of severe disability (if applicable, proof of care allowance payments).
  • In the case of foreign nationals from third countries, proof of residence status and duration of residence must be submitted.
  • Other EU citizens must submit a certificate of right of residence/EU residence permit and registration with the registration office.

To apply for a rent subsidy, you will also need the completed:

  • Landlord certificate form (usually provided by the housing benefit authorities).

You will also need the following forms/proofs to apply for the encumbrance allowance:

  • Form for determining the debt service charge
  • Proof of the debt service charge (borrowed funds certificate, last proof of payment, interest and amortization schedule if applicable)
  • Proof of the amount of the purchase price or construction costs (also for modernizations)
  • Property tax assessment notice/proof of the amount of ground rent
  • If applicable, proof of income from the transfer of rooms and areas to third parties
  • Calculation of living space in accordance with DIN 277 or the Living Space Ordinance (WoFlV, building application)
  • If applicable, notification of the building subsidy
  • Proof of ownership, extract from the land register, purchase contract

Fee: free of charge

If the decision is positive, payment is made from the 1st of the month in which the application was made.

A decision on the application will be made immediately. The processing time depends, among other things, on the completeness of your information and the submission of the evidence required for processing the application.

Longer processing times are not at your expense: the entitlement to housing benefit is checked from the month in which the application is submitted. If you are already entitled to housing benefit, you will not lose any housing benefit.


You will find further information on how to lodge a complaint in the notification of your application for housing benefit.

The following information is available:

In order to avoid or uncover unlawful claims for housing benefit, the housing benefit authority may regularly check the details of all household members by comparing data - including in automated form - in particular with the pension insurance data office.

For example, the following may be compared

  • whether citizen's allowance (formerly unemployment benefit II) is being paid while the housing benefit is being received,
  • whether there is employment subject to compulsory insurance or marginal employment
  • or the amount of investment income for which an exemption order has been issued.

It is also possible to compare registration addresses, housing status and the time of re-registrations with the registration office. It is also possible to call up accounts at the Federal Central Tax Office. Suspected cases of fraud are always reported to the public prosecutor's office.

Through these checks, the housing benefit authority can determine, for example

  • whether housing benefit is being received more than once,
  • whether transfer payments leading to exclusion from housing benefit are being received at the same time,
  • whether the information in the housing benefit application is correct
    • on income from gainful employment,
    • income from one or more pensions
    • income from capital gains (interest or dividends),
  • whether the payment of unemployment benefit was discontinued in the case of original unemployment (e.g. due to taking up new employment) and
  • whether the original home for which housing benefit was paid is still actually being used.

The review is permitted up to ten years after notification of the associated housing benefit approval.

Lower SaxonyMinistry of Economic Affairs, Transport, Building and Digitization

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

competent Bodies

Landkreis Emsland - Fachbereich Besondere Leistungen
Address: Herzog-Arenberg-Straße 12, 49716 Meppen
Telephone: 05931 44-0
Fax: 05931 44-3621
Transport Connection:
Station Haltestelle Kreishaus
Bus: 993

Building Access
elevator available, wheelchair-accessible


Christina Behrens
Telephone: 05931 44-6313
responsible for:
Günter Lahuis
Telephone: 05931 44-6413
responsible for:

Data protection information

Landkreis Emsland
Address: Ordeniederung 1 , 49716 Meppen
Postal address: Post Office Box 15 62 , 49705 Meppen
Telephone: 05931 44-0
Fax: 05931 44-3621
Transport Connection:
Station Haltestelle Kreishaus
Bus: 993

Building Access
elevator available, wheelchair-accessible
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


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

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