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Apply for a citizen's allowance
Source: Zuständigkeitsfinder Schleswig-Holstein (Linie6PLus)
Citizen's allowance, also known as basic income support for jobseekers, is a benefit provided by the welfare state for people who are able to work and cannot cover their living expenses from their own income or assets. It is regulated in the Second Book of the German Social Code (SGB II).
The citizen's income ensures the minimum economic subsistence level and enables you to participate in the cultural and social life of our society.
At the same time, those entitled to citizen's allowance who are able to work receive comprehensive support from the job centers in their search for work or qualification opportunities.
Anyone who receives benefits from the state, i.e. from taxpayers, must in turn play an active role in ensuring that they can stand on their own two feet again as quickly as possible. The job centers will support you in this.
Children in need of assistance also receive citizen's allowance and are looked after by the job centers in order to give them access to education and participation.
Important: Citizen's allowance is only paid on application.
If you previously received unemployment benefit II or social benefit, you will receive citizen's allowance from 01.01.2023.
The basic security benefits are transferred to your account each month in advance.
Flat-rate monthly amount (standard requirement)
If you receive citizen's allowance, you will receive a lump sum to cover your living expenses (known as standard needs). It covers your needs, such as food, clothing and personal hygiene, and is adjusted annually. For 2023, the following amounts apply for the standard needs levels (RBS)
- Single persons, single parents, adults with underage partners: EUR 502.00 (RBS 1)
- Adult partners: EUR 451.00 (RBS 2)
- Other adults aged 18 to 24 and persons under 25 who move out of the parental household without the assurance of the municipal institution (18 to 24 years): EUR 402.00 (RBS 3)
- Children from 14 to 17 years: EUR 420.00 (RBS 4)
- Children from 6 to 13 years: EUR 348.00 (RBS 5)
- Children from 0 to 5 years: EUR 318.00 (RBS 6)
Immediate supplement for children
Children, adolescents and young adults receive an additional monthly immediate supplement of EUR 20.00 (RBS 3-6).
If you need more money due to special situations, you can also receive additional benefits if you meet the personal requirements. For example, expectant mothers from the 13th week of pregnancy, single parents, people with disabilities who receive benefits for participation in working life or people who need a more expensive diet for medical reasons receive benefits for so-called additional needs.
Costs for accommodation and heating
If you receive citizen's allowance, the costs for your accommodation and heating will be covered if these costs are reasonable. In the first year of benefit receipt, the actual costs of your apartment or house (net cold rent) are covered, even if these are not reasonable (so-called "waiting period"). From the second year of benefit receipt, the costs are only 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 a reasonable extent. Which costs are reasonable depends on 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 Jobcenter. You must apply for this confirmation from your Jobcenter.
You can also receive the following benefits:
- In emergencies where your livelihood is at risk, you can receive a loan in the form of cash or benefits in kind on separate application. This may be the case, for example, if something has been stolen or broken. However, the standard requirement already includes an amount for saving. This means that you normally 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 on separate application. Examples of this are initial equipment for your home or initial equipment for pregnancy and childbirth.
- You can receive contributions to your health and long-term care insurance.
- You will receive benefits for "education and participation in social and cultural life" (BuT) for your children. These are automatically applied for with the main application, for example for
- school trips,
- communal lunchtime meals,
- school supplies (twice 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, as you can only receive citizen's allowance if you are in need of assistance.
- Income from work (including from self-employed persons),
- income replacement benefits such as unemployment benefit from the employment agency, parental benefit or sickness benefit,
- Income from capital and interest as well as income from share ownership if it exceeds EUR 100.00,
- Income from renting and leasing, agriculture and forestry,
- maintenance payments and child benefit,
- one-off income, for example tax refunds or inheritances (only until 30.06.2023) and
- Vocational training allowance, training allowance, BAföG.
Deducted from this:
- Taxes on income (e.g. wage tax and income tax).
- Compulsory contributions to statutory social insurance (e.g. health insurance, long-term care insurance, pension insurance)
- work-related expenses, i.e. certain costs incurred in the exercise of your profession
- Statutory insurance (e.g. motor vehicle liability insurance),
- 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 is not taken into account (deductible amount). If you have income over EUR 100, a further, specific amount is not taken into account (so-called tax-free amount). This amount depends on the amount of your gross income.
As a young person, you are allowed to keep income from school and student jobs and income from vocational training up to the mini-job limit (currently EUR 520.00). Your income from student jobs during the vacations is not taken into account at all.
Federal Voluntary Service and FSJ volunteers also benefit from increased allowances, as do young people in the transition period between school and vocational training.
Allowances also apply to realizable assets.
Assets are the entirety (stock) of a person's possessions that can be measured in money. However, not all assets must be realized. Assets are realizable if they can be used directly for living expenses or if their monetary value can be used for living expenses through consumption, sale, lending, 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 in investment accounts, savings, building society savings, savings certificates, securities, cryptocurrencies,
- endowment insurance policies,
- Accident insurance with premium refund and
- House and land ownership and condominiums of inappropriate size as well as other rights in rem to real estate.
The following applies to asset allowances:
- Since 01.01.2023, a so-called "waiting period" of one year applies when receiving citizen's allowance for the first time. Various special regulations apply during this waiting period. During the waiting period, EUR 40,000 is not taken into account for the first person in the community of need. For each additional person, EUR 15,000 remains untouched. After the waiting period has expired, the limit of EUR 15,000 applies to each member of the joint household. However, if one member of the benefit community has more assets but another member has less than EUR 15,000, their unused allowance is transferred to the other member of the benefit community.
In principle, your assets are not taken into account:
- reasonable household effects
- An appropriate motor vehicle (car) for each person capable of work in the benefit community. A vehicle is considered appropriate if it does not exceed the value of EUR 15,000.
- An owner-occupied apartment of up to 130 m² or a property of up to 140 m² is not a qualifying asset (larger if there are more than 4 people).
- Insurance policies 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 self-employed persons, other assets earmarked for retirement provision, regardless of the form of investment. This applies up to a maximum limit to be determined individually.
- Assets that are demonstrably intended for the early acquisition or maintenance of a house or condominium of an appropriate size. This only applies if the house 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 jeopardized by the use or realization of the assets.
- property and rights if their realization would cause particular hardship for the person concerned.
Reductions in benefits
The citizen's allowance can be reduced due to breaches of duty or failure to register:
- If you fail to comply with agreements on obligations to cooperate (personal efforts, participation in measures and applications in response to placement proposals), these obligations can be made legally binding for you by means of requests with instructions on the legal consequences.
- Reductions in benefits due to breaches of duty and failure to register do not exceed a total of 30 percent of your relevant monthly standard requirement. Accommodation and heating requirements are not reduced.
- Your standard needs will be reduced by 10 percent for one month for the first breach of duty. In the event of a further breach of duty, the standard requirement will be reduced by 20 percent for two months. For each further breach of duty within a year, you will receive 30 percent less of the standard requirement for 3 months.
- Reductions in benefits due to breaches of duty are canceled if you fulfill your obligations to cooperate or subsequently provide a credible explanation that you are fulfilling your obligations. However, even in these cases, the reduction period is at least one month.
- If you fail to register, your relevant standard requirement will be reduced by 10 percent of the amount due for one month.
- Benefits will not be reduced 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 registration deadlines, the hearing should take place in person.
- If you are under 25 years of age, you will generally receive an offer of advice in the event of a reduction.
To receive citizen's allowance, you must submit an application. To do this, contact your job center. You can also do this online.
Apply for Citizen's Allowance in writing:
- Go to your local job center. It is located in the district or city where you usually live or are registered.
- Your personal situation will be discussed at the Jobcenter and you will be given all the application forms and documents you need to complete.
- The application forms can be sent to you if you wish, for example in a telephone call or by e-mail. You can also find the application forms on the Internet.
- Fill in the application forms for Citizen's Allowance. You can get help with this at the Jobcenter or use the instructions for completing the form, which are available in German.
- Hand in your complete application documents to your Jobcenter. This also includes
- Proof of rent, heating and ancillary costs and
- proof of income and assets.
- The Jobcenter will decide on your application. You will be notified of the decision on your application in writing by post.
Apply for citizen's allowance online:
- Simply and conveniently access the online application for Citizen's Allowance on the Federal Employment Agency's website.
- Follow the instructions and instructions for completing the application online.
- If you already have supporting documents for your application, please upload these as well. If you are not yet able or do not wish to submit any supporting documents, you can do so later or when your Jobcenter asks you to do so.
- The Jobcenter will decide on your application. You will be notified of the decision on your application in writing by post or online.
- You are fit for work. This means that you
- can work at least 3 hours a day and
- are at least 15 years old and have not yet reached the statutory pension insurance age limit. 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 the German Social Code II (SGB II).
- You are in need of assistance. This means that you are unable to cover your own necessary living expenses and the living expenses of non-employable relatives living with you in a community of need either from your own resources (income and assets) and strength (use of labor) or with the help of other or priority benefits (e.g. unemployment benefit, housing benefit, child supplement).
- You have no priority claims against other benefit providers (e.g. housing benefit) or other persons, such as divorced spouses or the father or mother of your child.
- You live in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Which documents are required?
- Application forms
- valid identity document:
- identity card or
- valid passport with current registration certificate
- residence permit
- Proof of income, for example a payslip or current bank statements (e.g. pensions, sick pay, child benefit, alimony, advance maintenance payments)
- Proof of existing assets (e.g. savings, shares, securities, building society savings 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 previous receipt of benefits, also from another job center (notice of approval, proof of benefits)
- if you are submitting the application following an employment relationship:
- Employment documents (also letter of termination or declaration of cessation of employment)
- Certificate of employment (to be completed by the employer)
What are the fees?
Levy: free of chargeYou do not have to pay any costs if you have an account. If you do not have an account, you will receive a payment instruction for a cash payment (ZzV cash). This is a check. However, you will incur costs as a result, which will be deducted directly from the benefit to which you are entitled. As the amount of the costs for the payment order can vary, please contact your local Jobcenter for more information. You can have the check paid out in cash. Payment is made exclusively via Postbank branches. The ZzV-Bar is a means of payment of Postbank AG, the use of which has been agreed separately between the Federal Employment Agency and Postbank.
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
There is no time limit. However, benefits are only granted from the month in which you submit the application.
If you are currently still receiving unemployment benefit, it is advisable to submit the application early before this benefit expires so that you do not get into financial difficulties.
Objection deadline: 1 Month
Processing time: 0 - 14 Working daysFor initial applications for benefits, the aim is to achieve an average processing time of no more than 14 working days. The documents must be complete for this.
- Summary proceedings before the social court
- Action before the social court
Applications / forms
Forms available: Yes
Written form required: No
Informal application possible: Yes
Personal appearance necessary: No
What else should I know?
The following information is available:
The Citizen's Income Act will comprehensively reform the basic income support for jobseekers in 2023 and bring it up to date. Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.
Technically approved by
Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS)
Professionally released on