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Unemployment Benefit II (Arbeitslosengeld II)

According to the Social Security Code II (SGB II), students in general are not entitled to Unemployment Benefit II, as they are in a course of education that is basically eligible for BAföG, the state student grants and loans programme. Different to housing benefits, the term "basically" here refers to the principle, theoretic eligibility of a course of studies for BAföG, and not to the specific situation of the individual student. The children of students, however, are not subject to the exclusion of benefits and do have an autonomous entitlement to social allowance benefits (Benefits for non-employable relatives according to SGB II).

In spite of the general exemption from benefits there are situations where students can receive Unemployment Benefit II benefits, anyhow.

The Unemployment Benefit II is composed of the standard benefits, potential increased demands and reasonable accommodation costs (rent + utilities + heating).

Unemployment Benefit and Leave of Absence

In case of leave of absence students are entitled to Unemployment Benefit II in full volume if need has been ascertained.

The Employment Agency checks

  • whether the student is obliged to work. When the child reaches the age of three, parents may be committed to work as long as childcare is secured,
  • whether the student's parents or partner may be placed under the obligation to pay alimony. The student's parents cannot be compelled to pay if the student is pregnant or cares for his or her own child (of up to six years) or she/he has already finished an initial education or is older than 25 years.

Unemployment Benefit II and Hardship Provision

In case of special hardship Unemployment Benefit II can be granted as a loan. If a student e.g. loses the entitlement to BAföG (student grants & loans programme) just before the end of the studies and cannot work due to pregnancy or childcare and did not complete an initial education or vocational training, he or she may apply for benefits as a loan according to the hardship provision.

Increased Demand

An increased demand which is not education-related may be taken into account, e.g. due to pregnancy or single parenthood. This increased demand amounts to:

  • 17 % of the standard benefit of Unemployment Benefit II from the 13th week of pregnancy on,
  • 36 % of the standard benefit for single parents with one child younger than seven years or two and more children younger than 16.
  • 12 % per child of the standard benefit for single parents with one child older than 7 years or several children, if only one of them is older than 7 years, while the others must be older than 16, but younger than 18 years.

The entitlement to increased demand can be claimed if the student’s income does not exceed—or only slightly exceed—the Maximum BAföG rate.

One-Off Aids

One-off aids are only granted in regard to:

  • initial set of equipment for the flat including domestic appliances,
  • initial set of clothes, including special Needs for pregnancy and birth, as well as
  • school trips lasting several days in the context of school regulations.

These aids will also be granted if people in need of help do not receive any benefits to secure their sustenance (including adequate costs for rent and heating) while not being able to cover the expenses completely out of their own funds. If this is the case, the income of the recipient may be taken into account which has been attained within up to six months after the decision to pay the aid.

You will find further information on Unemployment Benefit II at the Familien-Wegweiser des Bundesministeriums für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (Family Guide of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth).



Studentenwerk Hannover
Social and International Affairs Dept.

Lodyweg 1 C
30167 Hannover

Phone +49 511 76-88 919
Phone +49 511 76-88 922
Phone +49 511 76-88 935
Fax +49 511 76-88 927

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