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Applying for unemployment benefits


Unemployment benefit is a compensation benefit and is intended to partially replace the remuneration that employees are unable to earn because of unemployment.

Your entitlement to unemployment benefit arises as soon as you meet the requirements for it for the first time.

The length of time you are entitled to unemployment benefit depends on the length of the insurance period in the last 5 years before you became unemployed and on the age you reached when the entitlement arose. You are entitled to unemployment benefit for at least 6 months if you have been in employment subject to compulsory insurance for at least 12 months within the last 30 months. The maximum period of entitlement is

  • for unemployed persons under 50 years of age: 12 months and requires an insurance period of at least 24 months.
  • for unemployed persons over 50 years of age: 24 months and requires that the unemployed person has reached the age of 58 and has insurance periods of at least 48 months.

Your unemployment benefit is usually calculated on the basis of the average gross salary you earned in the last year before you became entitled to unemployment benefit. The amount is

  • for unemployed people with one child, 67 percent,
  • for the rest of the unemployed, 60 percent

of the gross salary reduced by the statutory deductions that are usually due to employees.

While you receive unemployment benefit, you are generally covered by statutory health, long-term care and pension insurance. The contributions are paid by the Federal Employment Agency. If you were last exempt from compulsory pension insurance or health and long-term care insurance, the BA can usually cover part of the contributions for a private pension plan.  

You are insured against accidents if, while receiving benefits, you receive a special request to visit the Employment Agency or another body.

Changes (such as illness, vacation, relocation, taking up work) must be communicated immediately, the easiest way is online. Alternatively, you can make the notices in writing, by telephone or in person.

Process flow

You can apply for unemployment benefits online or in person.

Apply for unemployment benefits online:

  • To submit the application online, go to the online portal "eServices" of the Federal Employment Agency and click on the tile "Apply for unemployment benefit".
  • Please note that in this case, too, registration as an unemployed person is required in order to receive unemployment benefits.
  • The Employment Agency will check your entitlement to unemployment benefit.
  • If your application documents or other reasons do not yet allow you to make a final decision, the Employment Agency can grant you an advance upon application, provided that you are entitled to benefits on the merits.
  • You will receive a written notification by post stating the amount and duration of your entitlement to unemployment benefit. You can also receive the notification online by selecting the appropriate notification option in your online profile.
  • The unemployment benefit will be transferred monthly free of charge to the account you have specified. This means that the benefit for the current month is paid at the end of the month. In the event of financial difficulties, this principle may be derogated from upon request. Check with your agency.  
  • In exceptional cases, you can have unemployment benefits paid out by cheque. You can submit the "payment instruction for settlement" sent by post to your financial institution for credit within one month or have the amount paid out to you (or a person commissioned by you) in cash at any Deutsche Post or Deutsche Postbank payment point. However, this incurs additional costs.

Applying for unemployment benefits in person:

  • To submit the application in person, please contact your local employment agency. You will usually receive the application form and, if applicable, other documents (so-called "additional sheets") when you register as unemployed in person.
  • The Employment Agency will check your entitlement to unemployment benefit.
  • If your application documents or other reasons do not yet allow you to make a final decision, the Employment Agency can grant you an advance upon application, provided that you are entitled to benefits on the merits.
  • You will receive a written notification by post stating the amount and duration of your entitlement to unemployment benefit. You can also receive the notification online by selecting the appropriate notification option in your online profile.
  • The unemployment benefit will be transferred monthly free of charge to the account you have specified. This means that the benefit for the current month is paid at the end of the month. In the event of financial difficulties, this principle may be derogated from upon request. Check with your agency.  
  • In exceptional cases, you can have unemployment benefits paid out by cheque. You can submit the "payment instruction for settlement" sent by post to your financial institution for credit within one month or have the amount paid out to you (or a person commissioned by you) in cash at any Deutsche Post or Deutsche Postbank payment point. However, this incurs additional costs.

Requirements

You are entitled to unemployment benefit if:

  • you are unemployed, i.e.
    • You are not in employment or
    • They are only gainfully employed for less than 15 hours per week and
    • They are available to the placement efforts of the Federal Employment Agency. They are therefore able and willing to take up employment subject to compulsory insurance under normal labour market conditions;
  • Sign up
    • electronically with an electronic proof of identity, for example an identity card with an online ID function, in the eServices portal of the Federal Employment Agency or
    • have personally registered as unemployed with the responsible employment agency. With your personal registration as unemployed, the unemployment benefit is considered to have been applied for. In addition, an application form must be filled out;
  • You have been subject to compulsory insurance for at least 12 months within the last 30 months prior to registering as unemployed (the so-called framework period).
    • Periods in which you were subject to compulsory employment promotion due to the receipt of compensation benefits, such as sickness benefit, or - under further conditions - for example because of the care of a relative or the upbringing of a child, are also taken into account.
    • Periods of insurance can also be taken into account as periods in which there was a compulsory insurance relationship (so-called voluntary continued insurance), for example because you took up self-employment.
    • In special cases, periods in which you have performed development service in accordance with the Development Aid Workers Act or you have worked abroad on the basis of a secondment contract are also taken into account.

Which documents are required?

  • Identity card with current registered address
  • Passport/replacement document in conjunction with a current registration certificate
  • In the case of online unemployment registration: ID card with activated and activated online ID function
  • Certificate of employment (to be completed by the employer)

The Employment Agency may request further documents, for example:

  • Written notice
  • Explanation of the work task
  • Certificate of receipt of sickness benefit
  • Certificate of additional income
  • Proof (notice of approval, proof of performance) of previous receipt of benefits (unemployment benefit, also from another employment agency)
  • Proof of contributions (compulsory application for unemployment insurance)

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

Unemployment benefit is considered to have been applied for when you register as unemployed in person, unless you make a different declaration. You avoid disadvantages if

  • you personally register as unemployed no later than the 1st day of unemployment,
  • You register as a jobseeker by the deadline and
  • immediately notify you of any changes that occur in your personal circumstances after the application has been submitted

Applications / forms

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

Appeal

  • Contradiction. Further information on how to file an objection can be found in the notification of your application.
  • Appeal to the Social Court

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS)

Professionally released on

10.06.2022

Author

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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