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Source: BUS Sachsen-Anhalt (Linie6PLus)

Apply for subsistence assistance (social assistance)


As a rule, you will receive assistance for subsistence as a social assistance benefit if you are in need of help and:

  • neither basic security for jobseekers,
  • still receive basic security in old age and in the event of reduced earning capacity.

Children under the age of 15 receive social assistance if they:

  • live together with people who receive assistance for subsistence (usually with the parents) and
  • cannot secure their livelihood despite maintenance claims.

Subsistence assistance benefits include:

  • the flat-rate standard rate to secure livelihoods, for example for food, clothing or personal hygiene. A separate standard rate is set for each family member.
  • Educational and participation benefits for children and young people, for example for:
    • School trips,
    • personal school supplies,
    • School tickets,
    • supplementary learning support,
    • Lunch in schools or
    • Club amounts, music lessons and the like.
  • Requirements for accommodation and heating.
  • In exceptional cases, assumption of debts for:
    • avoidance of homelessness,
    • Securing your accommodation or
    • to remedy a comparable emergency, e.g. debts to the energy supplier.
  • Requirements for contributions to your health and long-term care insurance and, under certain conditions, for your retirement provision.

In addition to your standard rate, you can receive benefits for additional subsistence needs. You can apply for these additional requirements if you:

  • meet the requirements for a severely disabled person's card with the mark "G" and are not able to work under pension law,
  • are expectant mothers from the 13th week of pregnancy,
  • are single parents,
  • have reached the age of 15, are disabled and receive assistance for adequate education or training as part of the integration assistance,
  • are dependent on a special diet due to a medical illness, which leads to higher costs than a "normal" diet,
  • generate the hot water not by a central heating system, but decentrally (e.g. boiler) or
  • You are a pupil and have expenses for the purchase or loan of textbooks or similar workbooks due to the respective school law provisions or school requirements.  

If you do not live alone, the social welfare office includes the entire family income to determine your need for help. For this purpose, the income of all family members living together in an apartment is taken into account, for example:

  • earned income,
  • maintenance payments and
  • Pension income.

The child benefit paid for minors and any maintenance payments for a child are attributed to this child in order to cover their needs.

Certain assets are considered as protective assets not to be taken into account, for example:

  • Smaller cash amounts (financial assets per adult: EUR 5,000) or
  • an adequate house plot.

With a few exceptional cases, you will not receive any benefits for past periods.

Assistance for subsistence is provided from the moment the social welfare office is informed of the entitlement to benefits. Usually, this information takes the form of an application.

  • Arrange a consultation with your local social welfare office. Take all the necessary documents with you to this interview.
  • As part of the consultation, fill out the application for subsistence assistance.
  • The social welfare office will decide on your application and inform you of the result. This is done by means of a notification, which is usually sent to you by letter.
  • If your application has been approved, you will receive a notice of approval, it will be rejected, a rejection notice.
  • In both cases, the decision must contain the causes of the decision, as well as information on the possibility of appealing against it. For this purpose, an indication of the deadline must be included within which you can file an objection.
  • The approval notice must include the amount of the service to be paid as well as the beginning of the payment. From the date mentioned, the social welfare office will transfer the money to your account at the beginning of the month. You can also specify the account of a third party for the transfer.
  • Attention: You are obliged to inform your responsible social welfare office immediately of any changes in your income and financial circumstances.

Note: If you do not have an account, you will receive the services by payment instruction for offsetting. The resulting costs must be borne by you. If you can prove that it is impossible for you to set up a bank account through no fault of your own, the social welfare office will bear the costs. A cash check payment is not possible.

  • You are in need of help and:
    • limited-term wholly reduced earnings or
    • receive an old-age pension, but have not yet reached the age limit for the standard old-age pension.
  • You are in need of help if you cannot fully cover your livelihood from your own resources and strength.

    You are fully reduced for a limited period of time if you are not able to work regularly for at least 3 hours a day for the foreseeable future (more than 6 months) under the usual conditions of the general labour market.

  • You will not receive:
    • basic security for jobseekers,
    • basic security in old age and in the event of reduced earning capacity, or
    • Basic benefits for asylum seekers.
  • valid identity card or passport, if applicable confirmation of registration
  • Proof of temporary full disability in the form of a pension notice or medical certificates
  • Proof of income, for example for pension, sick pay, child benefit, maintenance payments or advance payment
  • Proof of assets, such as savings
  • Rental agreement and subsequent changes, in particular with regard to the rent amount
  • Proof of expenses, in addition to rent and rent payment, especially for advance payments and bills for ancillary costs and heating costs, documents about insurance contributions
  • Proof of health and long-term care insurance, i.e. information on health insurance and insurance status or contract for private health and long-term care insurance

Note: The scope of the required documents, especially for proof of income and assets, depends on the individual case. Your local social welfare office may require you to provide additional documents, such as current bank statements, divorce decrees or maintenance titles.

The deadlines set by the social welfare office for the submission of documents must be observed. If this is not possible for understandable reasons, you must apply for an extension of the deadline. Otherwise, the social welfare office may refuse you the benefit because of non-compliance with your statutory obligations to cooperate.

This also applies to the opposition periods, i.e. if you do not agree with the decision - not only in the rejection notice, but also in the approval notice (amount of the resulting entitlement to benefits).

Depends on the individual case.

Forms: can be obtained from your social welfare office

Written form required: no

Informal application possible: yes

Personal appearance required: no

Online services available: no

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS)

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