1. What is Basic Social Security II (Arbeitslosengeld II)?
Basic social security II is financed from tax revenues. It replaces the previous unemployment assistance and social welfare. The purpose of this was to end the coexistence of two different systems with different levels of monetary benefits and integration measures.
2. Who is entitled to basic social security II?
All persons between the ages of 15 and 65 or 67 who are employable, are in need of assistance and have their permanent residence in the Federal Republic of Germany can receive basic social security II. Dependents also have a claim to benefits in the case that they are living together in a need community (Bedarfsgemeinschaft).
3. When I am not employable?
A person is not employable if s/he is not able to work for a minimum of 3 hours daily in the foreseeable future (6 months) under the “normal conditions prevailing in the labour market” because of illness or disability.
When their health permits them to work, students older than 15 years are also considered employable.
4. What does need of assistance mean?
A person is in need of assistance when s/he cannot afford his/her living costs with his/her own resources (income, assets). Said person is obligated to accept reasonable work to eliminate or reduce this need.
5. What is social assistance?
Social assistance is paid to persons who are not employable (including children up to the age of 15), but live together in a need community (Bedarfsgemeinschaft) with a family member who is capable of working. You are not entitled to basic coverage benefits under the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book XII (SGB XII) in the case of old-age or permanent reduction in earning capacity after the age of 18.
6. Who is included in the need community?
The following persons are included in a need community:
a) employable beneficiaries
b) As a partner of a beneficiary who is employable
- spouses who are not living permanently separated,
- persons who live together in cohabitation with the beneficiary in a manner similar to marriage
- common-law partners who are not permanently separated
c) The children of the employable beneficiary. The children must belong to the household, be under 25 years of age and unmarried. Children are only included in the need community if their living costs cannot be secured from their own income or assets.
d) The father and/or mother of an employable unmarried child under 25 years of age who is living in the household and his/her partner.
Children who have reached the age of 25 are not considered part of the need community, even if they still live at home. If they are capable of working, they form their own need community. In this case, they must submit a separate application for basic social security II.
7. What is cohabitation in a manner similar to marriage?
Cohabitation in a manner similar to marriage is a stable long-term cohabitation between two people that is so intimate that one can expect that the partners agree to be responsible for one another in case of need. A common household and budgeting, the communal care of and provision for children or dependents at home, as well as the mutual authority to have access to the Partner's income and assets beyond common daily budgeting, are evidence of this.
8. What is a common household?
A common household includes all persons living in a household, regardless of gender, age and kinship. In a shared house/apartment with several working adults, there could theoretically be as many need communities as there are residents.
9. Does nationality affect whether one receives basic social security II?
In principle, all employable persons who are entitled to benefits can receive basic social security II. One's residence status is also important in the case of foreigners: only those who have long-term or permanent right to residence in the Federal Republic of Germany can receive benefits. Foreigners who are neither employed nor self-employed, are in the first three months of their stay, or who are allowed to reside Federal Republic of Germany only for the purpose of seeking employment, are excluded from benefits.
Persons who are entitled to benefits in accordance with § 1 Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act (AsylbLG) are generally not entitled to benefits.
Foreigners are only considered employable if they are permitted or could be permitted take up employment.
10. Do I receive basic social security II when I am ill?
If you are sick, you must submit a medical certificate from a doctor proving your inability to work and its probable duration. You will continue to receive basic social security; however, this is not the case if your inability to work is expected to last more than 6 months or if you need to be admitted to hospital due to illness for longer than 6 months. In the case that you are admitted to another non-medical institution (e.g. institution for drug rehabilitation), you are not entitled to basic social security II.
11. I am currently receiving social security. How and where do I apply for basic social security II?
The application for basic social security II is not automatically sent to you. The termination letter from your social security notifies you of the application at the appropriate agency for your basic coverage. There you will receive the application and can hand it when it is filled out.
For persons who have their residence in the county of Marburg-Biedenkopf, the application should be submitted to the district Job Center (KreisJobCenter) Marburg-Biedenkopf. If you need assistance in completing the application, the staff will be able to give you advice and assistance.
12. When will I receive benefits?
Benefits in accordance with Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II) can only be granted only upon application. Benefits will be provided for a period of time beginning with the date of application, not for the time period before that. The application applies to the first of the month in which the application was made. One-time allowances, loans for undeniable need and need for education and participation (Bildung und Teilhabe) must be applied for separately.
13. When and how will the monetary benefits be paid?
The benefits will be transferred to your account. Payments can also be made to a third party account upon your request. Basic social security II is paid at the beginning of the month. One should keep this in mind with regards to, e.g., to rent payments.
14. How long will basic social security II be paid?
As long as the need for assistance and the other prerequisites (employability, age limit, etc.) are fulfilled. However, the requirements will be examined in manageable time intervals. Benefits are generally granted for 6 months
15. How do I know if I will receive money?
The decision on your application will be provided in writing. This written notice will also inform you of the length and amount of your benefits. For details, see the attached calculation sheet.
16. Do I have to pay back benefits?
Benefits are generally given as grants, which do not need to be payed back. In some cases, however, the legislature intended to grant loans. If a cash benefit paid to you can only be granted as a loan, the loan must be repaid in monthly allotments to the amount of 10 percent of the standard rate.
Additionally, you may have to pay back benefits if you brought about the conditions for your need of assistance intentionally or with gross negligence (for example, if the payment is therefore necessary because you lost your job through your own fault).
17. What can I do if I am not satisfied with the decision?
You can discuss your questions regarding the written notice with employees at the attached telephone number. If you require a personal consultation with your case manager, please arrange an appointment. Regardless of this, you have a one-month period after receipt of the written notice to file an objection. The objection should be written down and should be justified. For details, please refer to the advice on applicable remedies in the written notice.
18. What is duty to cooperate?
If you have applied for or receive basic social security II, you must specify all circumstances that have an impact on your benefits and support this with appropriate documentation.
19. What is duty to notify?
Following your application, you are required to report all changes. This applies to both changes in your personal circumstances (e.g. moving, marriage) and changes with respect to your income and assets (e.g., employment, begin of retirement).
(If you are unsure whether you should report a change, please contact your case manager. He will provide information, including details about required documentation.)
20. Can I go on vacation?
In principle, you are responsible for making sure that you can be reached on any working day at your residence or at a usual location. The duration of the maximum possible absence from this place is usually up to 3 weeks in a calendar year. This must be requested.
Before the beginning of the absence, your case manager must agree to your vacation. If you reside outside of a location close to your region without the consent of your case manager and are therefore not available for job placement, you will not receive benefits for this period. Local absence will be granted at least for the contractually or legally entitled vacation time for employable beneficiaries who have a job subject to social insurance or have a job in accordance with the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II).
21. Who can receive children's allowance? How much is it?
Not every family receives children's allowance. Only parents who can cover your own needs (especially through employment ), but not those of their child (under 25 years old) can receive children's allowance. Children's allowance is limited and will be paid for a maximum of three years. One can receive up to a maximum of 185 Euros per month per child. The child's income is deducted from the claim to children's allowance.
Your family benefits office is responsible for the granting of children's allowance.
Principally, children's allowance has priority to the granting of basic insurance in accordance with the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II).
Those who receives child benefit generally have an additional claim to housing benefits.
22. Do I have social insurance when I receive basic social security?
You will usually be insured under health and nursing insurance. Exceptions may arise if you are self-employed or a civil servant. In the case that more recipients of basic social security II live in your need community, they will all be insured, if they are employable. For more detailed information including information about the process, please contact your health insurance.
The compulsory contributions to health and nursing care are paid directly to the health fund.
As of 01.01.2011, contributions to pension are not paid within the scope of basic social security II. The periods of unemployment are registered with the pension institution as non-income periods.
23. My life partner works. Due to deductions based on his/her income, I receive no basic social security II. How can I ensure my health insurance coverage ?
It is not possible for partners living in a relationship similar to marriage to receive family insurance in a manner similar to married couples. Therefore, you must take out a voluntary public or private health and nursing insurance. If you are in need of assistance for the insurance payments, you have claim to allowances towards your expenses for health and nursing insurance.
24. How high is the standard need for basic social security II?
The lump-sum currently amounts to
- 432 Euros for single parents or single persons as of 01.01.20
- 389 Euros per for (marriage) partners as of 01.01.20
For example, if both (marriage) partners receive basic social security II, the standard need is 778 Euros altogether (plus adequate housing and heating costs).
25. Who counts as single?
If you are unmarried and live alone or in a shared house/apartment, you are considered single.
26. Who counts as a single parent?
Single parents are persons who are single, live with one or more children in the same household and care for the care and education of the children on their own.
27. What is the standard benefit for my children?
- For children up to the age of 6 ( the day before the 6th birthday ), you receive 250 Euros per child as social assistance.
- For children between the ages of 6 and 14 years (up until the day before their 14th birthday), you will receive 308 Euros per child as social assistance.
- For children between the ages of 14 and 18 years (up until the day before their 18th birthday), you will receive 328 Euros per child as social assistance or basic social security II (depending on if the child is employable or not).
- For children between the ages of 18 and 25 years (up until the day before their 25th birthday), you will receive 345 Euros per child as basic social security II or social assistance (depending on if the child is employable or not).
28. My daughter is 16 and is taking vocational training. Does she also receive basic social security II?
Children under 25 are generally considered to be part of their parent's need community. If your child is in principle entitled to professional vocational aid (BAB) or to benefits under the Federal Vocational Assistance Act (BAföG) because of her vocational training, your daughter is not granted basic social security II. However, your daughter can receive basic social security II if she lives with you and therefore cannot receive BAB or BaföG. Even if the BAB / BaföG needs are measured according to § 66 paragraph 1 of theBasic Social Security Statutes, Book III (SGB III) and § 12, paragraph 1, number 1 BaföG ( = need for students), additional benefits are possible according to the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II). Clarify the claim in any individual case with your case manager.
29. Does basic social security II give out non-cash benefits or food vouchers?
Non-cash benefits may be granted (e.g. coupons for furniture), however, this option is exercised in exceptional cases. Food vouchers are issued in particular for beneficiaries under the age of 25 (see " Support and Demand”).
30. Which apartment size is appropriate?
On average, the following apartment dimensions (in meters square) are considered appropriate:
1 person up to 50 square meters
2 persons up to 60 square meters
3 persons up to 75 square meters
4 persons up to 87 square meters
and for every family further member up to an additional 12 square meters.
31. Are the additional costs for the rental apartment covered?
Yes, they will be reimbursed at actual cost, if they are appropriate.
32. Will my heating bills be paid?
Yes, at actual cost. It should be noted that the heating costs are in relation to the (reasonable) apartment size and must be appropriate.
33. What happens if my accommodation costs are too high?
Rent costs must be “appropriate”. To this end, the district job center has set benchmarks at which the housing costs are covered. If the rent is too high according to these standards, the full rent is first taken, however, only as long as it is not possible (or unreasonable) for those in need of assistance to look for a cheaper apartment (six months at the most). After this period, only the reasonable cost for the accommodation will be paid.
34. What happens if I do not want to move?
You do not have to move. However, after this duration, only the appropriate costs will be paid – you must bear the costs that exceed this amount.
35. What costs are covered when I move?
Moving expenses will be covered when the change of residence is required (or required by the benefits agency) and if the cost of the new apartment are appropriate. Contact your case manager before the move. In certain cases, the deposit will be provided as a loan.
36. Can basic social security II recipients receive housing benefits?
In principle, no, because the cost of accommodation is covered by basic social security II as long as it is appropriate.
However, it is possible for children in the household who do not have a right to benefits on the basis of their income according the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II) to apply for housing benefits.
For homeowners, it is sometimes worth it to make a comparative calculation – when the potential house benefits are higher than the household costs according to the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II), the beneficiary can choose to receive housing benefits.
44. What counts as income?
In principle, all income in cash or cash equivalent are counted towards income, e.g.:
- income from employment (employed or self-employed)
- child support/ alimony
- social security or sick pay
- principal and interest yield
- revenue from rental and leasing
- children's benefit
45. Is there any income exempt from deduction?
Yes. Benefits under the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II), basic pension under the Federal Support Act (BVG) and similar pensions or allowances under the Federal Compensation Act remain exempt from deduction. Compensation under § 253 of the German Civil Code also remains exempt from deduction – payment of damages (e.g. compensation for loss of earnings) does not. Further exceptions should be discussed with your case manager.
46. What is deducted from income?
Income taxes and compulsory social security payments are deducted.
Contributions to necessary public insurance are deducted in standard amounts from your income (e.g. motor vehicle insurance). Additionally, 30 Euros per month are deducted as a lump some from the income of of age persons in need of assistance for appropriate private insurance (e.g. home owner's insurance, private liability insurance).
Furthermore, supported previsions for retirement (Riester pension plans) are deducted from income.
Expenditures necessary for the maintenance of income are also exempt from deduction (see next question).
47. What are the allowances on income from employment?
For employable beneficiaries, expenditures necessary for the maintenance of income are deducted from income. The deduction amounts to 100 Euros per month for a gross income of up to 400 Euros. This figure includes all expenses incurred in connection with the work (work equipment, transportation, insurance). If the gross income is above 400 Euros, higher amounts may be deducted against proof.
In addition to the basic allowance, the following remain free:
- for the portion of income up to 1000 Euros, an additional 20% of gross salary between 100.01 Euros and 1000 Euros
- for the portion of income that exceeds 1000 Euros and is not more than 1200 Euros, an additional 10% of the gross salary between 1000.01 Euros and 1200 Euros
- if the recipients of unemployment benefits II (ALG-II) have at least one underage child or live with such a child in a need community, the absolute upper limit increases from 1200 Euros to 1500 Euros.
48. Can I have a second job when receiving unemployment benefits?
Yes. You must exhaust all possibilities to help to reduce or eliminate the need for assistance. In this case, the time scale of the activity does not matter. Occupation liable to social insurance payments is also considered in addition to low-payed jobs (so called mini-jobs); however, the earned income will be partially considered.
49. Will my pension be deducted from basic social security II?
Pension is generally an income which is deducted. There are, however, exceptions. Basic pension according to the Federal Support Act is exempt from deduction. Furthermore, pension or allowances that are given according to Federal Compensation Act are not deducted up to an amount comparable to basic pension.
If you receive old-age pension, this excludes benefits under the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II) for pensioners.
50. Will my old-age pension be deducted from the needs of my employable partner?
Your receipt of old-age pension excludes you from benefits according to the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II). If your old-age pension is higher than your need for living costs, the excess amount will be deducted from your partner's need. Customary deductions are taken into account.
If old-age pension does not cover your needs, you can receive benefits according to the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book XII (SGB XII) to top up your pension.
51. Does the child support/ alimony that I receive count as income?
Yes, these payments are counted as income.
52. Do I have to pay alimony to support my needy parents?
This question is fundamentally based on the German Civil Code (BGB). As part of the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II), there is generally no alimony recourse for relatives – unless your parents have approved an alimony claim against you. If you live with your parents, you are considered to be a common household – for details, see question 54.
53. Do my parents have to pay alimony to support me?
In particular, until completing of your first degree or diploma you have a claim for support. This is regulated in more detail in the German Civil Code. The impact this has on income deduction is based on age, status ( in education, work etc. ) and affiliation of the person concerned to the need community and can only be clarified in an individual case. As of 01.07.2006, parental income is generally considered for children under 25 years of age in the context of a need community ( see above).
54. What is the supposition of alimony support between relatives and in-laws living in a common household?
The legislature believes that relatives support each other financially if they live in a common household and budget together. However, this only applies if this can be expected based on the income and assets of the relatives. Here apply substantially higher income tax allowances than in a need community: The income of the relatives is only deducted if it does not exceed twice the standard need according to § 20 paragraph 2 sentence 1 plus the proportional accommodation costs after all tax allowances, as well as an additional 50 percent of income which exceeds this amount. For assets, the same amounts are applied as those applicable to the applicant him/herself. - The presumption of such can be refuted by declaration.
55. My partner has to pay alimony for a child from his/her first marriage. Is this taken into account in determining income?
If the alimony is addressed and your partner's income is above the deductible amount, the alimony (in part as appropriate) is taken into account; however, this person must prove that s/he actually pays the alimony support .
56. What would happen if I won the lottery?
The lottery win is considered as income from the month in which it accrues. If the claim to benefits would be removed by this for a month, the lottery win is evenly distributed over a period of 6 months and credited monthly installment as income. After 6 months, we will examine whether the remaining portion of the winnings should be recognized as income or assets.
57. What counts as my “assets”?
The following principle applies: all liquid assets are taken into account when considering your personal capital. Assets include cars, real estate, bank deposits, cash, checks, bonds, stocks, fund shares, savings bonds, homeowner savings contracts and donations over the past decade.
Part of this is, however, protected, meaning it is not considered as assets. This includes appropriate household items, an appropriate car, living in your own appropriate house or your own appropriate apartment.
If you or your partner are exempt from compulsory insurance in public retirement insurance, certain assets that are proven to be meant for retirement provision are not taken into account. However, it must be clear that these assets are determined for pensions.
In the evaluation of the assets, you are entitled to certain allowances.
58. Can I keep my car if I receive basic social security II?
An appropriate car or motorcycle is not considered as an asset for each employable member of the need community. You should be flexible as employees and may need to commute for a new job. The examination of appropriateness must be made taking into account the circumstances of the individual case (size of need community, number of cars in the household at the time of purchase). If possible sales revenues less than still existing loans of up to 7,500 Euros is reached, an examination is unnecessary.
59. Do I have to sell my condominium or my house?
The examination of whether a condominium ( or house ) is appropriate depends on the size of the living space and the number of occupants. If the size of an owner-occupied property is not appropriate, the rental of sale of separable buildings or parts of the property is required according to property rights. Those in need of assistance must use every source of income (e.g. rental of one or more rooms, accessory apartment).
The appropriateness is laid out differently in the assumption of costs of accommodation. There are limits to which the costs are generally covered (“appropriate costs”). If the apartment is not yet paid off, the debt interest is considered within the cost of accommodation, because debt interest in the case of a homeowner is comparable to rent payments in the case of a renter. Similarly, property taxes and other public taxes as well as utility expenses will be calculated for a rental apartment. Repayment installations cannot be covered, as they serve to increase your assets.
Your case manager will inform you of the amount of the stated limits.
60. I own a house in a foreign county. Do I need to sell it now?
Assets located abroad must also be stated. We must examine individually if it will come to the liquidation of this object ( as a non- owner-occupied property ).
61. Which asset allowance amounts are there?
Recipients of basic social security II and their partners who are of age and are in need of assistance are entitled to a property allowance of 150 Euros per completed year, at least 3,100 Euros, and a maximum of 9,750 - 10,050 Euros (ranked according to year of birth). Each child under 18 and is in need of assistance is entitled to a deduction to the amount of 3,100 Euros.
Under certain conditions, you are entitled to an allowance of 750 Euros per year for your retirement provisions, to a maximum of 50,250 Euros. In addition, retirement provisions (Riester pension plans) should be should be discontinued from assets at the legally required level.
In addition, each member of the need community has an allowance of 750 Euros for necessary purchases.
62. Are savings under the “Riester pension plan” also considered assets that I have to liquidate?
The “Riester pension plan” is left out of the amount of the legally required amounts.
64. Will I lose my retirement?
The statutory retirement remains unchanged, as does the "Riester pension " and the aforementioned variant of the life insurance as a retirement.
65. And what if I unexpectedly receive an inheritance after submitting the application?
You are required to immediately notify the responsible agency of any changes in your income and assets - even if you have already submitted your application. Your case manager will inform you of the effect of inheritance on your entitlement to benefits.
Promote and Demand
66. What is “promote” and “demand”?
“Promote” means the various rehabilitation services that are available for your integration in the labor market.
“Demand” means you will actively participate in all activities that support your integration into the labor market. This means that you endeavor to find work and can prove this.
67. What is an integration agreement?
An integration agreement is made jointly with the agency responsible for the beneficiary's basic coverage. It is valid for up to 6 months. This defines what the beneficiary must do to overcome his need of assistance (e.g. to find another job). This can be the participation in a training program or a job opportunity. The agreement also defines which benefits he receives that are necessary for this (e.g. coverage of program and transport costs).
68. What are “integration benefits”? What benefits can I claim?
You and the members of your need community are supervised by a case manager. S/he supports and advices you on all aspects of your benefits, support etc. with the aim of bringing you back to work. The contact person has a wide range of aids at his/her disposal. For example, you can get reimbursed application costs, you can participate in training courses or be placed in an employment opportunity. The necessary and required measures for your integration into the workforce is held in an integration agreement.
69. Can I be supported in the taking up of or initiation into a job?
Those who are seeking vocational training, are threatened by unemployment, or are currently unemployed can be supported in the initiation into or taking up of a job subject to social insurance by the district job center (KreisJobCenter), as long this is necessary for their occupational integration.
70. Can basic social security II support the taking up or performing of self-employed jobs for its recipients?
If you want to take up or continue to perform a self- employed job, you have the opportunity to apply for benefits. To this end, you must submit a concept of your business idea, which will be examined by a competent expert. If the opinion of the expert is positive, and s/he expresses the assured expectation that the desired self-employment is sustainable and can thereby overcome the need for assistance permanently within a reasonable time, services for integration into the job market can be granted in individual cases according to § 16 b and c of the Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II).
71. What is a “1 Euro Job”?
A “1 Euro Job” means a work opportunity that is offered to the basic social security II beneficiary by the agency responsible for his/her basic coverage. This work is in the public interest and should increase the integration of individuals into the labor market. Income from this shall be paid in addition to basic social security II and represents an expense allowance. The district job center (KreisJobCenter) Marburg-Biedenkopf grants an allowance of 1,50 Euros per hour for these work opportunities.
72. How will child care be ensured?
The provision of childcare in day care centers is the responsibility of the municipality.; however, the agency responsible for basic coverage should work to ensure that employable persons in need of assistance who are raising children are given priority spots for the day care of the child.
73. Do I need to accept any job that is offered to me? What is reasonable?
The personal interests is secondary to public interest. Therefore, you must always accept any type of work for which you are able to undertake - even mini-jobs . It does not matter if the salary is lower than the tariff or below the usual local wage. Of course, “unethical” working condition are excluded from this. There are other exceptions, for example, the care of a relative or raising a child under three years, meaning, a job offer would not be reasonable.
74. What happens if I refuse a job offer? Can it be that I get no more money?
Any refusal of suitable work leads to the reduction of standard need by 30% for 3 months. The reduction occurs with effect on the calendar month following the effective date of the decision which determines the reduction of benefits.
The district job center (KreisJobCenter) can provide additional non-cash benefits or benefits in kind to a reasonable extent in the case of a decrease of more than 30 percent. Since the work in question is reasonable, it is the responsibility of the parties concerned not to let these consequences occur.
75. If I reject a job offer as a youth, what happens then?
If youth under 25 years turn down an acceptable job - be it employment, vocational training, integration measure or work opportunity – basic social security II benefits are limited to benefits for accommodation and heating for three months. The payment of rent and heating costs are then given directly to the landlord. The basic living requirements will be ensured by handing out purchase coupons.
76. The Employment Agency has blocked my social security for the duration of 12 weeks because I quit my job. Can I get basic social security II during this time?
You can receive basic social security II if you are in need of assistance and there are other eligibility requirements; however, your standard benefits will be reduced by 30 percent in this case because you are to blame your need. You must compensate the agency of your basic coverage for costs incurred through your fault after end of the emergency situation.
77. I am a housewife. My husband's income is not enough to cover our living expenses. Do I have to go to work when we receive basic social security II?
You form a need community with your husband. Every employable member of the need community has the obligation to reduce or remove the need for assistance, provided that the taking up work is reasonable.
If you turn down reasonable work without good cause, you can expect reductions to your share of the basic social security II benefits. This can sometimes mean that no more benefits will be paid to you (e.g. in the case of multiple rejections without good reason).
78. Are there still special arrangements for persons over 58?
Persons who have received benefits under §§ 65 Basic Social Security Statutes, Book II (SGB II) / 428 Basic Social Security Statutes, Book III (SGB III) do not have to be “available” for employment. The special rule applies, however, only if the right to basic social security II was incurred prior to 01.01.2008 and the working-age beneficiaries has reached the age of 58 before that day.