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citizen service


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Source: BUS Sachsen-Anhalt (Linie6PLus)

Apply for citizens' allowance


The Bürgergeld, also known as basic security for jobseekers, is a benefit of the welfare state for employable people who cannot cover their livelihood from their own income or assets. It is regulated in the Second Book of the Social Code (SGB II).

The citizens' money secures the economic subsistence level and enables you to participate in the cultural and social life of our society.

At the same time, employable persons entitled to citizens' allowances receive comprehensive support from the job centres in their search for work or qualification opportunities.

Conversely, those who receive benefits from the state, i.e. from taxpayers, must play an active role in ensuring that they can stand on their own feet again as quickly as possible. The job centres will support you in this.

Children in need of help also receive citizens' money and are taken into account by the job centres in order to give them access to education and participation.

Important: The citizen's allowance is only paid on application.

If you have previously received unemployment benefit II or social benefit, you will receive citizen allowance since 01.01.2023.

The basic social security benefits are transferred to your account every month in advance.

Flat-rate monthly amount (standard requirement)

If you receive citizens' money, you will receive a lump sum to secure your livelihood (so-called standard needs). It covers your needs, such as nutrition, clothing and personal hygiene, and is adjusted annually. For 2023, the following amounts apply to the standard requirement levels (RBS): 

  • Single, single parents, adults with underage partners: 502,00 EUR (RBS 1)
  • Adult partners: 451,00 EUR (RBS 2)
  • other adults aged 18 to 24 and persons under 25 years of age who move out of the parental household without the assurance of the municipal body (18 to 24 years): EUR 402.00 (RBS 3)
  • Children from 14 to 17 years: 420,00 EUR (RBS 4)
  • Children from 6 to 13 years: 348,00 EUR (RBS 5)
  • Children from 0 to 5 years: 318,00 EUR (RBS 6)

Instant supplement for children

Children, adolescents and young adults also receive an immediate monthly supplement of EUR 20.00 (RBS 3-6).

Additional requirements

If you need more money due to special situations, you can also receive additional benefits if you meet your 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.

Accommodation and heating costs

If you receive citizens' money, the costs for your accommodation and heating will be covered, insofar as these costs are reasonable. In the first year of receipt of benefits, the actual costs of your apartment or house are covered (net cold rent), even if these are not reasonable (so-called "waiting period"). From the second year of benefit, the costs will only be 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 the appropriate extent. What costs are reasonable depends on the place 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 parent, you can only receive these benefits if you have a so-called assurance from the job center. You must apply for the assurance at your job centre.

In addition, you can receive the following benefits:

  • In emergencies where your livelihood is at risk, you can obtain a loan in cash or in kind upon separate application. This can be, for example, if something has been stolen or broken. However, the standard requirement already includes an amount for saving. This means that you usually have to pay for new purchases and replacements from the money saved from the standard rate.
  • In certain situations, you may also receive one-off assistance upon separate request. Examples of this are an initial equipment of the apartment or an initial equipment during pregnancy and birth.
  • You can receive the contributions to your health and long-term care insurance.
  • For your children, you will receive benefits for "Education and Participation in Social and Cultural Life" (BuT). These are automatically requested with the main application, for example for
    • school trips,
    • communal lunch,
    • Equipment with school supplies (2x annually) or
    • Benefits for extracurricular learning support (tutoring).

Consideration of income and assets

When calculating the citizens' allowance, your income and assets and those of all persons with whom you live in a "community of needs" are taken into account, because you can only receive citizens' money if you are in need of help.

Income includes:

  • income from work (including self-employed persons),
  • Compensation benefits such as unemployment benefit from the Employment Agency, parental allowance or sickness benefit,
  • capital and interest income as well as income from shareholdings, insofar as they exceed EUR 100.00,
  • income from renting and leasing, agriculture and forestry,
  • maintenance and family allowances,
  • Pensions
  • one-off income, such as tax refunds or inheritances (only until 30.06.2023) and
  • Vocational training allowance, training allowance, BAföG.

The following shall be deducted from this:

  • Taxes that are attributable to income (for example, payroll tax and income tax).
  • Compulsory contributions to statutory social insurance (e.g. health insurance, long-term care insurance, pension insurance)
  • professional expenses, i.e. certain costs caused by the exercise of your profession,
  • statutory insurance (e.g. motor vehicle liability),
  • a lump sum of EUR 30.00 per month for private insurance, such as household contents insurance, and
  • Contributions for a Riester pension.

Basically, your income up to EUR 100.00 is not taken into account (deduction amount). If you have an income of more than EUR 100, a further, certain amount will not be taken into account (so-called allowance). This amount depends on the amount of your gross income.

As a young person, you may keep the income from pupil and student jobs and the income from vocational training up to the mini-job limit (currently 520.00 EUR). Your income from student jobs during the holidays is completely disregarded.

Federal volunteers and FSJ performers also benefit from increased allowances, as do young people in the transition period between school and training.

Allowances also apply to – realizable – assets.

Wealth is the totality (stock) of a person's possessions that can be measured in money. But not all assets have to be exploited. Assets are usable if they can be used directly for subsistence or their monetary value can be used for subsistence through consumption, sale, loan, rental or leasing. Assets that you cannot or are not allowed to dispose of freely, for example because the asset is pledged, are not usable.

Assets include, for example:

  • Cash
  • Balances on investment accounts, savings, building society savings, savings bonds, securities, cryptocurrencies,
  • endowment life insurance,
  • accident insurance with premium refund, and
  • House and real estate and condominiums of unreasonable size as well as other rights in rem to immovable property.

The following applies to the capital allowances:

  • Since 01.01.2023, a so-called "waiting period" of one year applies to the first withdrawal of citizens' money. During this waiting period, various special rules apply. During the waiting period, EUR 40,000 for the first person of the community of needs is not taken into account. For each additional person, 15,000 EUR remain untouched. At the end of the waiting period, the limit of EUR 15,000 applies to each member of the community of needs. However, if one member of the community of needs has more assets, but another member has less than EUR 15,000, his unused allowance will be transferred to the other member of the community of needs.

Basically, your assets do not take into account:

  • adequate household contents
  • An appropriate motor vehicle (motor vehicle) for each employable person in the community of needs. A motor vehicle is appropriate if it does not exceed the value of EUR 15,000.
  • An owner-occupied condominium of up to 130 m² or a house plot of up to 140  m² is not eligible assets (larger if there are more than 4 people).
  • Insurance contracts and other forms of retirement provision intended for retirement provision if they are expressly promoted as retirement provision under federal law.
  • In the case of self-employed persons, other assets intended 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 procurement or maintenance of a house plot or a condominium of appropriate size, This only applies if the house plot 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 endangered by the use or exploitation of the assets.
  • Property and rights, insofar as their exploitation means particular hardship for the data subject.

Reductions in performance

The citizen's allowance can be reduced due to breaches of duty or failure to report:

  • If you do not comply with agreements on obligations to cooperate (personal efforts, participation in measures and applications for placement proposals), these obligations can be legally binding for you by invitations with legal consequences instructions.
  • Reductions in performance due to breaches of duty and failure to report amount to a total of no more than 30 percent of your relevant monthly standard requirement. Accommodation and heating needs are not reduced.
  • In the event of a breach of duty, your decisive standard requirement will be reduced by 10 percent for one month in the event of a breach of duty for the first violation. In the event of a further breach of duty, the standard requirement will be reduced by 20 percent for 2 months. For each further breach of duty within one year, you will receive 30 percent less of the standard requirement for 3 months.
  • Reductions in performance due to breaches of duty will be cancelled if you fulfil the obligations to cooperate or subsequently credibly declare that you are fulfilling your obligations. However, the reduction period is also at least one month in these cases.
  • If you fail to report, your relevant standard requirement will be reduced by 10 percent of that for one month.
  • A reduction in performance does not occur if there is an important reason or if this would lead to extraordinary hardship in the specific individual case.
  • You have the opportunity to present the circumstances of your individual case at a hearing. If you repeatedly violate your duties or miss reporting dates, the hearing should take place in person.
  • As a person under 25 years of age, you will usually receive advice in the event of a reduction.
  • They are employable. 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 age limit of the statutory pension insurance. If you were born after 1963, this is 67 years. If you were born before 1964, you can look up the age limit applicable to you in the table in § 7a Sozialgesetzbuch II (SGB II).
  • They are in need of help. This means that you cannot cover your own necessary livelihood and the livelihood of the non-employable relatives living with you in a community of needs either from your own resources (income and assets) and forces (use of labour) or with the help of other or priority benefits (e.g. unemployment benefit, housing benefit, child supplement).
  • You do not have priority claims against other service 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.
  • Applications forms
  • valid identity document:
    • Identity card or
    • valid passport with current registration certificate
    • Residence permit
  • Proof of income, such as a salary certificate or current bank statements (e.g. pensions, sick pay, child benefit, maintenance, maintenance advance)
  • Proof of existing assets (e.g. savings, shares, securities, home savings contracts)
  • Proof of expenses, for example by presenting bank statements (or, for example, rental agreement, rental receipts, heating costs, documents on insurance premiums)
  • Proof of previous receipt of benefits, also at another job center (approval notice, proof of achievement)
  • if you submit the application following an employment relationship:
    • Working papers (including letter of dismissal or declaration of work abandonment)
    • Employment certificate (to be completed by the employer)

There is no deadline. However, the benefits will only be granted from the month in which you submitted the application.

If you are currently still receiving unemployment benefits, it is advisable to apply well before these benefits expire so that you do not get into financial distress.

  • Contradiction
  • Summary proceedings before the Social Court
  • Action before the Social Court

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

In order to receive citizens' money, you must submit an application. To do this, please contact your job centre. This can also be done online.

Apply for citizens' allowance in writing:

  • Visit your local job centre. It is located in the county or city where you usually reside or are registered.
  • Your personal situation will be discussed in the job centre and you will receive all the application forms and documents you need to fill out.
  • 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 out the application documents for citizens' money. You can get help in the job center or use the completion instructions, which are available in German.
  • Submit your complete application documents to your job centre. This also includes:
    • Proof of rent, heating and ancillary costs and
    • Proof of income and assets.
  • The job centre will decide on your application. The decision on your application will be communicated to you in writing by post.

Apply for citizen money online:

  • Call up the online application for citizens' allowance easily and conveniently on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.
  • Follow the instructions and completion instructions and fill out the application online.
  • If you already have proof of your application, please upload it as well. If you cannot or do not want to submit any proof yet, you can do so later or if your job centre asks you to do so.
  • The job centre will decide on your application. The decision on your application will be communicated to you in writing by post or online.

There are the following notes:

The Citizens' Allowance Act will comprehensively reform the basic provision for jobseekers in 2023 and bring it up to date. Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.

Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS)

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), Dienststellenfinder
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