Immigration. Travel. Living.

Germany: Social and Security rights

Berlin Gates

This is the decisive factor for choosing this country to move.

The German Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch) is the main regulatory document governing the social security of residents of the country. It consists of 12 sections governing certain types of social security, so benefits are usually determined by section number in the Code, for example, SGB-XI.

In addition, social legislation includes a number of additional laws on certain types of social assistance. According to these legal acts, the main types of social security in Germany are pensions, allowances, subsidies, and compensations.

There are several modes of support, the main – on a professional basis. In this case, contributions are paid by both parties of the employment relationship.

Almost all types of social insurance in Germany have an individual payment limit. All funds go to a special fund, from where they are redistributed in the form of social payments. The size of payments depends on the region of residence of the recipient. The country still maintains a division into “old” (territory of the former FRG) and “new” (former GDR) lands. Benefits for residents of old lands are slightly higher.

The annual financing of benefits requires incredible amounts taken from the German budget. Only for maintaining of a million-strong army of refugees, 25–55 billion Euros are allocated annually. According to the Institute of World Economy, during the next 7 years, Germany will allocate 385 billion Euros in total. In Germany, the annual amount of allowances, benefits and subsidies for families with children exceeds 200 billion Euros. Given the enormous social costs, Germany welcomes the work of volunteers providing free assistance to the state and saving significant resources.

The main types of insurance in Germany

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A huge part of the population’s earnings goes to repaying contributions for various types of insurance. Here are just 4 of them:

  • health insurance. About 90% of the population uses it. The insurance includes expenses for diagnostics, consultations, stay and treatment in the hospital, compensations of income lost due to illness. Subsequently, the policyholder can rely on the insurance plan covering the costs of treatment by age (disability).
  • Pension insurance. It allows you to receive the decent living conditions after retirement. Funds are paid from the age of 65 and amount to 70% of the average income of the insured person during the entire period of his/her work.
  • Unemployment insurance (intended for individuals paying contributions).
  • Accident insurance. It provides treatment in the event of an injury, pensions in case of serious health problems, or covers funeral expenses. The insurance covers injuries received at work (at an educational institution), as well as on the way there. Contributions are paid by the employer.

The most common types of benefits in Germany

The developed social system in Germany ensures protection of inhabitants of the country in any life circumstances. The main types of social benefits include:

  • Social assistance, basic allowance for the elderly.
  • Benefit for the unemployed (job seekers) and their families.
  • Help for children.
  • Youth financial support (loans and scholarships for schoolchildren and students).
  • Housing subsidy.
  • Help and shelter for refugees.
  • Allowances for parenting.

These types of assistance cover the basic needs of people. These include food, clothing, treatment, shelter, participation in the social and cultural spheres of society. The amount of payment depends on the age, social status and circumstances of the recipient. 

The applicant must meet the following requirements for obtaining the appropriate status:

  • to be a German citizen;
  • to stay in the country on a legally basis (Aufenthaltsrecht);
  • to be a permanent resident of Germany.

General requirements may be supplemented by additional conditions. For example, even homeless people can receive a benefit of €200 from animal welfare organizations if they take good care of their pets.

To receive benefits in Germany, the interested person fills out an application form at the institution responsible for a particular type of payment (pension fund, family cash desk). When applying, you should have copies of the necessary documents, depending on the type of allowance. These documents help to understand if the applicant can cover expenses from his own funds. The calculation of income is carried out taking into account your taxes and fees.

The duration of payments is strictly regulated. You can find the terms and amount of social assistance payments in the decision for providing the benefits.

Before applying, foreigners should seek help from consultants, for example, by contacting the Caritas charity. The consultants will help you to understand what benefits you can receive in Germany as a migrant.

Unemployment allowance in Germany

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Although the number of refugees in Germany continues to increase, unemployment is gradually declining, and the labor market remains stable. Nevertheless, 6.5% of the country’s population (about 2.8 million people) is in search of work. Almost all of them receive unemployment benefits:

Arbeitslosengeld I (ALG-I) – these payments come from a special insurance fund where all working citizens transfer their money. The amount of the allowance is established taking into account the previous salary of the recipient. Payment is made for a limited period of time (6-24 months). The assistance is intended for persons who, over the past 5 years, have paid contributions for at least 12 consecutive months and have been registered with the labor office;

Arbeitslosengeld II (ALG-II) is the cost of living for non-working citizens or the necessary surcharge for those who work and receive ALG-I.

Separately, there are other subsidies, the purpose of which is to increase the chances of a non-working citizen to have an employment or to receive financial assistance in special cases.

Refugee Benefit

Obtained refugee status provides a number of advantages for migrants. In particular, the Asylbewerberleleungungsgesetz (AsylbLG) financial support law applies in this case. Refugees can receive material assistance from the state to meet their basic needs. Along with this, a refugee has the right to seek treatment, and pregnant women and mothers – to receive the specialized assistance during pregnancy and childbirth.

The amount of monthly payments depends on the age, marital status, place of residence of the refugee and is determined by §3 AsylbLG.

Allowances are assigned by the district administrations (migration and refugee offices). The allowance and housing payments are allocated both to the holders of the special act, and to those who are waiting decision on this case.

The social protection of low-income residents in Germany removes the differences between the separate layers of the population. Every citizen, rich or poor, is guaranteed to receive the medical care, decent living conditions and other aspects of the social stability.

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