Simple step by step guide to unemployment benefits in Germany

If your life in Germany is mostly filled with new and exciting experiences, there are times where it doesn’t turn so much in your favor. One of these times can be to learn one day that you are going to be out of a job soon. In this case, you are faced with different options. Either you saw it coming and you have already secured your next job, or it came out of the blue and you best option will be to claim unemployment benefits in Germany.

Although i do have job again now, i did go through all the steps in order to gain those. I thought i would lay it out clearly for you how it happened. It can be quite challenging, especially if you don’t speak German. However, i have found that it’s relatively simple if you know the way.

Who qualifies for unemployment benefits in Germany?

Before taking an attempt at claiming your Arbeitslosengeld (Unemployment money), you should probably find out if you have any. As a rule, it is any registered person that has worked at least 12 months in the past 2 years. However, self-employed people don’t have this kind of protection and can only claim an allowance (more on that later). Employees who have resigned on their own initiative can also claim those benefits but must first wait 3 months after registration.

How much can I claim?

In terms of support length: the rule is pretty simple here. You contribute twice as long as you can receive. For example as an employee (aged below 55), you need to work 24 months to be able to claim a full-year worth of benefits (ALG 1). You cannot claim more than one year if you are aged under 45. In terms of support amount, you will receive 60% of your net salary, 67% if you have children. Also remember that your health insurance will be covered too during that time.

The difference between Arbeitslosengeld 1 (ALG 1) & Arbeitslosengeld 2 (ALG 2)

If you have made a bit of research or talked to your HR department, you might have seen ALG 1 or ALG 2 already and wondered what it meant. They are different types of unemployment benefits in Germany. Just to be sure:

What is Arbeitslosengeld 1:

Arbeitslosengeld 1 are unemployment benefits you can claim after having worked as an employee in Germany for at least 12 months. It equals to at least 60% of your net salary. You refer to the Arbeitsagentur. This is what we help you to get in this guide.

What is Arbeitslosengeld 2:

Arbeitslosengeld 2 is an allowance (also called Hartz 4) you can claim after your ALG 1 rights have ran out and you still haven’t found a job or alternatively, if you never worked in Germany before. This benefit equals to a much lower amount of money than ALG 2 and comes with further restrictions. You refer to the Job Center. We will not talk about this on this page. You will find more info in English about it here.

ALG I & ALG II: Like pears and apples.

How to apply for unemployment benefits in Germany (ALG 1):

1- Learning the news

This is happening between your employer and you but it’s still an important part of the process. It’s something that defines what’s next or to be more accurate: it defines the timing with which you will register at the Arbeitsagentur. This founding administrative step is really important and when you do it changes depending on your situation.

Situation 1: You are fired without any warning – your contract ends. A notice period applies.

You boss announced the news personally or over email: you’ve been let go and the notice period written in your contract applies (usually 3 months). In this case, since you have now knowledge you will be jobless in the near future, the Arbeitsagentur will ask of you to plan ahead as well and already register yourself. Same if your contract is simply not renewed. You must register as soon as possible, up to 3 months prior the last day of employment.

Situation 2: No notice period applies.

In some cases, it’s not possible to know that the end of the contract is so near. Maybe the contract has a shorter notice period or maybe you have agreed to a voluntary resignation type of deal. In any case, if your employment ends in less than 3 months, you need to register at the latest 3 days after you have had knowledge of that decision.

In both cases, make sure to obtain a termination letter that indicates the reasons of the decision, when you became aware of it and when your last day was (Arbeitsbescheinigung). If you are just quitting your job, please note that you won’t be able to receive unemployment benefits in Germany for a period of 3 months after your registration at the Arbeitsagentur.

What happens if you fail to register in time

The Arbeitsagentur is incentivizing a pro-active approach to doing everything in time by threatening an exclusion of those benefits for a few weeks. In short, if you fail to register in time, be prepared to lose money.

Failure to register in time will result in losing money.

2 – Registering (online or not) as looking for a job

It is recommended to use the online platform to register yourself as soon-to-be out of a job. You can do this very easily by following this link. You will need to first create an account on the platform (scroll down to “Noch nicht registriert“, tick the disclaimer boxes and click “Registrieren als Bewerber“). Once you have confirmed your account, you will be able to complete the rest of the process. If you are unsure about what to do, you can always call the hotline and get help in English if you have any questions about unemployment benefits in Germany.

3 – Registering in person as being unemployed

Once you have completed the first step, you will need to free up a few hours of your time to also go on site and register yourself as “properly” unemployed. This is to be done at the very latest on the first day without a job. You will go to your local Arbeitsagentur for that. If unsure where it is; use this form. Make sure to bring all the following documents with you:

  • Passport
  • Meldebescheinigung (Registration certificate)
  • Visa (If applicable)
  • Your Krankenkasse card
  • Termination letter from your employer (and contract)

Do prepare for some queuing (Credits: Pexels.com)

You will obtain a number to wait in line and a person working there will process your case and give you more instructions. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, especially if the person talks fast.

So far so good. Well done. But it doesn’t end there.

4 – Filling in the application document

This is what you came for and it’s the last step to take in your quest. Once you are registered as having no job, you will have now have to ask for support from the state during these hard times. To do that, you will fill in the “Antrag auf Arbeitslosengeld” (Application for unemployment money in Germany). This is can be done on a good ol’ fashioned paper form that you can obtain at the Arbeitsagentur directly, or it can be done online on this page. Simply use the account you created on step 2. If you are a bit lost while doing this, you can refer to this guide, which explains in simple German what is expected of you.

This form is mainly asking of you more details about your personal situation (kids too, if applicable), why you are applying, which resources you have at the moment, where your insurance is and more. All those details are needed to measure whether you really qualify for unemployment benefits in Germany.

5- Receive confirmation at home

Once your application is sent, it will processed by the Arbeitsagentur relatively fast; usually within 2 weeks. You will receive an official confirmation by post which puts together your unemployment benefits in Germany. Among other things; how much you will get (per day, that’s the way it’s done), when it starts and finishes,  where the money goes, etc.

6- Fulfill your duties and prepare the transition

Now that you don’t need to think about how you will pay your rent, you can start to plan again. Soon after having registered at the Arbeitsagentur, you will receive a convocation to meet your counselor there. It is compulsory to attend in order to communicate what your plan is. Make sure to come prepared with an updated CV and already some applications for jobs in the pipe. If you are planning to become a freelancer, show that you have done your research too (which can start here btw 🙂 ) and that you need time to prepare it. It’s important you establish a good relationship with your counselor.

Prepare for a bumpy ride (Source: Giphy.com)

You can find on this page here all the steps we just covered on the Arbeitsagentur’s website. It’s well laid-out and explains again the different steps to get unemployment benefits in Germany. I strongly advise you to have a look to get familiar with all the terms. Part of the platform is also available in English.

FAQ

Can i transfer unemployment benefits earned back home to Germany?

Yes. If you have been working long enough in another E.U country, you have the legal right to have your unemployment be transferred to Germany when registering. This involves asking for an authorization before leaving your country and submitting this authorization when you register in Germany. More info on how to transfer unemployment benefits to Germany this way.

Can i calculate in advance how much i will be getting?

Yes. You can get a rough idea with this small calculator provided by the Arbeitsagentur here.

I am in Germany on a Blue card or working visa, can i still get ALG1 benefits?

Yes, but it lies in the hands of the foreigners’ office. When you lose your job, you have to notify the immigration authorities (section 82 subs. 6 of the German Residence Act) and they make a call on whether or not you qualify.

The foreigners’ office can decide to extend your residence permit by 6 months to give you a chance to find a job again, while getting ALG1 too.

What helps in that case:

  • That you have been in Germany under a work visa or blue card long enough (about 2 years).
  • That your visa is non employer-dependent.

Please bare in mind that i am no immigration specialist. Interesting thread on this matter here.

I have a mini-job or freelance opportunity: can i still have a small side gig and ALG1 at the same time?

Yes, this is possible but often times not a very attractive option. Here are the limitations:

  • You are not allowed to work more than 15h a week (since you need time to find a real job again)
  • You can’t earn more than 165€ per month (eg: if you earned 300€ that month,  135€ will be deducted on your ALG1 amount for that month)
  • You must let the Arbeitsagentur know before it starts.

Please note that this post is aiming at providing an overview of the process and that i made it to the best of my ability based on my experience. I believe it to be accurate but cannot be held accountable for any wrong-doings or wrong decisions you might do on this information. Feel free to correct me or give more details about to best get unemployment benefits in Germany in the comments.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

290 Comments

  • Reply ^Matt 12/02/2019 at 10:57

    Hey!

    Great Article. So I found out last week that my job would be over at the end of the month. I signed up online, although I was waiting to receive a pin in the post but this still has not come. I will go in person to the arbeitsagentur on Friday…will I be punished for not going there within 3 days, or is the fact that I signed up via the link on the day I found out about the end of the contract sufficient? Basically, I am wondering what you mean by the regsitering as unemployed part that has to be done within 3 days of finding out, is this just the step of registering online or is it in person?

    Also, I have found another job but it will be two weeks from end of my contract until the new one starts, I am still elgible to claim, correct?

    Thanks so much!

    Matt

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/02/2019 at 17:02

      Hey Matt. I would not worry too much. It’s probably in your file somewhere that you registered online somewhere. Not your fault if the pin number did not arrive. There is no minimum time for benefiting from ALG1.

  • Reply Geni 06/02/2019 at 11:28

    Dear Bastien, thank you for this informative resource! My question is as follows: I’ve been receiving ALG 1 for nearly 12 months, I have no job yet and do not qualify for ALG2 because my husband earns above the limit. I’m aware that I have to pay for my own health insurance once my ALG1 ends but what happens to my Sozial and Rentenversicherung? Do I continue to pay even if I’m not working? My Sachbearbeiterin has been ill for a while so haven’t had any luck getting this information from the AfA.
    Thank you
    Geni

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/02/2019 at 12:03

      Hey Geni. That is a good question. Double check with your Amter but i think you may be able to opt-out of the Rentenversicherung Beiträge.

  • Reply Ami O. 05/02/2019 at 19:06

    Hi Bastien,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for the great article! It helped me a lot!

    In my case, I have a limited 1-year contract. If my contracts simply ends, and I decide not to renew, am I elegible to the Arbeitslosengeld 1? Or this must be my employer’s decision?

    Thank you so much for your help!

    Best regards,
    Ami

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/02/2019 at 12:00

      Hey Ami. you may want to double check that but if you don’t renew your contract, it would probably be the same as quitting your job.

      • Reply Christian 10/02/2019 at 12:07

        Hi Bastien,

        I have a similar situation. My employer has given me 4 contract extension over the maximum allowed time of 2 years without much clarity on that plan along the way (never explicitly telling me that I will have to wait 2 years for an unlimited contract). I am a little bit fed up with the way they operate. My last extension goes until the end of April and they just recently told me that they will be “offering” (legally they now have to) a permanent contract. However, I have always been quite underpaid and I would much prefer to take my skills elsewhere.

        It looks like me refusing their offer of a permanent contract would be the same as quitting my job and would stop me from getting Arbeitslosengeld I for 3 months. I may be able to get through that. What is scaring me is the research I am doing about the topic and some say the Arbeitsamt expects you to quickly take any reasonable form of employment. To me that seems very vague and I am worried they could simply put any job, even one I am way overqualified for, under that umbrella. Do you have any advice or articles I could read with advice about my situation?

        I know the safest option is probably to accept this unlimited contract for very little money while searching for a better job on the side. However, I would much prefer first trying to bluff by telling them what it would cost to keep me and see if they fold and pay up or at least meeting somewhere in the middle. To do that, I need to know what the worst case scenario is if they decide to let me walk.

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/02/2019 at 09:52

          Hey Christian. I think that in this case, it’s up to your Facharbeiter’s interpretation of the what’s “reasonable” and what “stage” you are in. I guess it’s ok to be selective when you just lost your job but maybe less so when you have been searching for a year, if you know what i mean.

  • Reply Karl 05/02/2019 at 18:48

    Hi Bastein!

    I just want you to clarify me this important topic. about the 3 months rule. What should be the counting or the perfect timing of registering? 3months prior to the last day if i already planned or should it be on the 1st day that I am actually unemployed then apply then wait for 3 months? and lastly please make an example because im a bit confused here.

    PS: The way you did this BLOG is way much easier and extremely helpful!
    VOLL RESPEKT!!
    Karl

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/02/2019 at 11:59

      Hey Karl. I’m not where the confusion lies: in all cases, you need to register asap when learning the news. The only limitation is that if you know it ends in 6 months, you must wait until 3 months prior to actually go register.

  • Reply Martin 05/02/2019 at 17:26

    Hi , This is an excellent stuff . I have few queries . I have worked for a company for 27 months in Blue card , but the company did not pay the unemployment insurance contribution . They have paid the social security contribution though . I quit the job and joined a new company recently . In the process , I have opened my Blue Card and it is not dependent on any employer now . I am planning to apply for permanent residency shortly .
    a ) In any case if my new employer terminates the contract before I apply for PR , am I eligible for unemployment insurance . If yes how long I get it ?
    b) Does PR help to get unemployment insurance than Blue Card ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/02/2019 at 11:55

      Hey Martin. a) Please refer to the FAQ of the post. b) Do you mean unemployment benefits here? If so, then in my opinion yes, because the Foreigners’ office won’t have a say in it anymore.

  • Reply Haythem 01/02/2019 at 08:49

    Dear All,
    I’m in Germany since October 2016 with an illimited contract. Last week, my boss informed me that he wants to finish the contract with me. They (him with the HR) proposed to me an amicably contract (including conpensation). I understand that in this case (like a resigned person), i will get punishment from the Arbeitsamt. They propose to pay me max 12 weeks till i get money from the Arbeitsam, but i have to start the procedure alone and soon. I was informed that this procedure with the Arbeitsamt is severe and hard specially for a foreign person who don’t speak well German. Do you advice me to accept this or to refuse and then i will be fired and obliged to go to the court and get my rights and no risk with Arbeitsamt but this will take time and consume money. It’s very hard for me me the decision, i need really your support and advice. Do you think that the procedure with the Arbeitsamt in my case in handable or do you advise to take no risk and go to the court? Thank you.

  • Reply Rahul 31/01/2019 at 15:53

    Hi Bastien,

    I am changing my job and I have a gap of around 5 weeks in between the jobs. Do you think I am eligible for arbietlosengeld?

    Regards
    Rahul S

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/02/2019 at 11:21

      Hey Rahul. The time between jobs is not a criteria for eligibility, so refer to the post for the rest. Good luck!

  • Reply Jacob 26/01/2019 at 23:12

    Hello,

    Could you please confirm if the Visa is linked to the employer does it affect the unemployment status. I mean whoever has a permanent residency they don’t have to worry about Visa status and they get unemployment benefits. But what about someone who has an Eu blue card but which is linked to the employer ( employer name on Visa stamped on passport) then what happens? Does the visa become invalid as you are no more with that employer? Do you still get unemployment benefits?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/01/2019 at 10:00

      Hey Jacob. You may to double check that but it depends on how long you have been working under that visa by the time you lost your job. It all hangs in the Foreigners’office hands basically; you need to notify them you lost your job, and they can decide to give you a temporary extension to find a new job again, beyond the initial 3 months period you are given, as an EU blue card holder.

  • Reply Alex 26/01/2019 at 23:05

    Hi,

    I wanted to know a bit more about unemployment in Germany. So I had a 2 year contract in Germany so I was given a Visa (blue card as my salary is way beyond the threshold) which was for 2years plus 3 months. Now I am wondering if I will be eligible for unemployment once the contract ends? Do I get unemployment even if I was on a fixed duration Visa? Btw I have been contributing for social security for 2 years but My visa is only valid for 3 months after contract ends , so how will I get unemployment for 1 year? Will I even get it for 3 months?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/01/2019 at 09:57

      Hey Alex. it seems that yes, you are eligible. You will need to notify the immigration authorities that you lost your job and they can decide on a temporary extension of your visa duration to allow you to find a job again, while receiving ALG1.

  • Reply Leticia 24/01/2019 at 15:56

    Hi, I have a question. I worked for 3 years in Germany (non EU citizen) from Sep 2013 to Aug 2016. At the time I did not claim my unemployment benefit because I found another source of income (stipendium, tax free, so I didn’t contribute to the job security). My question is, do I still have the right to the benefit, even though my contract ended over 2 years ago? Doe the fact I had a child in 2017 could change this situation (I mean, an extension of the 2 years deadline)? Please, help me!! Thanks!!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/01/2019 at 20:34

      Hey Leticia. Conditions for eligibility are clearly stated in the post. I don’t think your family situation would have influence on this.

  • Reply Haythem 15/01/2019 at 10:16

    Hello, When applying for the unemployment benefits from a town “T”? Should we look for opportunities only in this town ?

  • Reply Agnius 08/01/2019 at 02:43

    Hello.

    I am EU citizen and I plan to study in Germany.

    I believe I can get a job after my studies but I am just curious to ask, can undergraduate students apply for an unemployment benefits if they have never been working in Germany before?

    If yes – is it category Arbeitslosengeld 1 or Arbeitslosengeld 2?

    I know this is possible in Denmark but I am not sure about Germany.

    Thank you very much

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/01/2019 at 14:11

      Hey Agnius. As mentioned in the post, you need to have worked before to qualify for ALG1. ALG2 is another story though, and you could qualify. Good luck with the move!

  • Reply Dimitri 04/01/2019 at 15:02

    Dear Bastien, a big hug from me in gratitude for your great work. I’ve learnt a lot from your blog. I have a question about the social security number, Rentenversicherungsnummer. Have been seeking this information on many resources, including yours. The comments on this matter — including the one from Die Deutsche Rentenversicherung (DRV) — do not normally expand beyond “this is something you get from your employer” 🙂 I’ve never had a German employer. Am an EU citizen, have had employers in other EU countries and several months ago I decided to move to Germany because I joined a university programme here while still being employed by my employer in a different EU country, covered by social insurance of that country. You know it functions well with the EHI cards. Recently my employment ended and I discovered that as an EU citizen I can “transfer” my potential unemployment benefit to Germany. I registered online as a job seeker and went to a personal appointment at the Arbeitsagentur only to find out that I cannot apply for the want of this little Rentenversicherungsnummer – which I’ve never bothered having because I’ve never been employed or paid taxes or social contribution in Germany. Yet I do have a tax payer number and the other mandatory insurances – obviously except, the health one. At the Arbeitsagentur, I was told that I wouldn’t need to buy a private health insurance (which I was already gearing up to) because, as a registered unemployed receiving an ALG, I would be covered with basic health insurance which would of course be a very welcome benefit. As I mentioned, the DRV’s own answer to my enquiry wasn’t helpful. I wonder if I still do need to buy a private health insurance policy to acquire the social security number which will enable me to apply for a status that would effectively make this private insurance unnecessary? Seems like a catch 22. Or am I wrong?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/01/2019 at 12:34

      Hey Dimitri. That’s an interesting one and we are indeed talking about an edge case once again here. I think your logic holds but why not signing-up with a public Krankenkasse then? You certainly qualify as you were covered by a public scheme elsewhere in the EU. You’d be able to receive SSN all the same, wouldn’t you? Maybe giving TK or AOK a call would give you a bit more to progress on? Also; would you agree to record your experience to transfer your unemployment benefits to Germany? It would be a great add to this article here.

      • Reply Dimitri 09/01/2019 at 12:55

        Hi again, thank you! Haven’t considered a public Krankenkasse — this concept is a bit blurry to me and seems to have too many limitations. An update: I have my SSN now. All I had to do is to come to the DVR office on Fehrbelliner Pl. 5 first thing on Monday morning and get to an desk officer right away. All needed was my passport and my Anmeldung and my best command of German (which is extremely limited). She did ask me a question why I need an SSN, which I was almost going to object but obediently explained instead. I just thought joining the national social security system is mandatory. Another update is that I have filled out an online application for Einzelunternehmer. I think I’ve read a lot about starting up as a self-employed in Berlin but the more I read the less certain everything seems. Now I have no idea why all they did since I had applied a week ago was to draw the fee from my bank account without dignifying me with a simple confirmation or something. Thanks for your interest — I don’t mind sharing my experience, am just in the middle of everything.

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/01/2019 at 13:31

          Thanks for that. Quite informative. If you need guidance on self-employment, don’t hesitate to take a look at this post.

  • Reply Deviant 02/01/2019 at 20:52

    Hi!!! Thanks so much for all the information you’ve given, super helpful.

    I do however have a question, I just recently got my kundigung. No reason for it really, well the justification was basically that the owner is cutting costs and he needs to let people go. I was one of two more let go the same day. I have passed my trial period (6months) earlier this month and after 20days later I got the letter. The same day I got it it was also my last day, without the notice period. In my contract it says that after I pass the trial period and if they let me go I am supposed to work two more weeks(notice period). The employer also told me that I would be payed for the month of December ofcourse and my holidays. He also said that I would get an additional months Salary.

    This sounds fishy to me to be honest and was wondering should I consult a lawyer? Also should I apply for the ALG-2, follow the steps you outlined and explain the situation at the job center.

    Thanks in advance for the reply!!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/01/2019 at 12:19

      Hi Deviant. I think both are completely different issues that you can handle separately. In my opinion, you have all pieces required for the Arbeitsagentur so it shouldnt be a problem with ALG 1. As for with your company, i am not in a position to tell you what to do. Maybe simply pointing out what the contract says can resolve the situation. good luck.

  • Reply Enis 31/12/2018 at 12:46

    Does this rule count for EU or non EU citizens as well?
    Thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/01/2019 at 15:46

      Hey Enis. Which rule exactly?

      • Reply Enis 08/01/2019 at 12:16

        Hi Bastien,,
        Thank you for answering.
        The rule for the unemployment benefits i.e ( one has to work at least 12 months for the last two years to claim unemployment benefits ). Does this rule count for non – EU citizens working in Germany as well?
        Thank you in advance and all the best for 2019!
        Cheers

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/01/2019 at 14:15

          Hey Enis. Yes, citizenship has no impact on this.

  • Reply Florian 31/12/2018 at 11:36

    Hi,
    Firstly, I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer all the questions that are really important for all of us.
    I’m non-European and I’m working in Germany since December 2016 ( almost 2 years). My residence permit ends in December 2019. If for any reason I resign/ leave the company , can I still claim unemployment benefits ( can I still leave in Germany and look for another job) or should I leave Germany and come back home?

    Thank you in advance and all the best

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/01/2019 at 15:57

      Hey Florian, i’m no residence permit expert so i can’t really tell the conditions attached to yours, unfortunately, especially in case you resign. Maybe you have to apply to a job seeker visa then? Maybe you could be able to use your ALG 1 rights to reinforce your application?

  • Reply Greta 23/12/2018 at 21:40

    Hello! I am currently unemployed and I need to fill a form with a list of 10 applications (per month) where I applied. Do you know if I can also apply for jobs in other countries? Or just in Germany?
    Thanks, Greta

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/12/2018 at 20:56

      Hey Greta. That’s an interesting question. Thanks for asking it. I don’t have a “hard” source on this, only my own experience. It was not a problem. If it is, i assume your Beamter will tell you so.

  • Reply Lu 18/12/2018 at 20:43

    HI guys,
    Thanks for the amazing and helpful guide!
    I was wondering if anyone can provide some advice on my situation:
    I have resgined my current job this week ( Dec 15, 2018) and I will be starting my new job on April 1st, 2019.

    Am I eligible for unemployment ?
    As per the article: ‘Employees who have resigned on their own initiative can also claim those benefits but must first wait 3 months after registration.”.

    However, if I register during December or January and wait 3 months….it will be April already…and by then I would have already started my new job.

    Hope you can help !

    Thanks a bunch.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/12/2018 at 22:07

      Hey Lu. I think you answered you own question; you won’t qualify then since you will be in a job already.

  • Reply Mia 17/12/2018 at 12:15

    Hello, I am currently unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits, I was wondering if it is possible to have a mini job while receiving unemployment benefits. Please let me know.

    Thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/12/2018 at 13:17

      Hi Mia. Yes, in general it is possible but you need to observe a few rules like not work too many hours (no more than 15h/week) and you need to let your contact person know about it.More info there.

  • Reply Hit 04/12/2018 at 20:19

    HI,
    Thanks for step by step information.
    I have completed my master degree in Germany. after that immediately I got a job in a company. During the probezeit company gave me Kundigung. Actually, I extend my visa on the basis of the company’s contract. I have Aufenhaltserlaubnis 18 Abs.4.S.1 and its valid till November-2020. My question is following.

    1. How long this Aufenhaltstitel valid?
    2. Can I eligible for arbeitloss geld?
    3. Is it mandatory to inform regarding unemployment in Auslandbehörde?
    4. Can I eligible for 18 months job search visa which normally get the student after study?

    Thank you in advance and waiting for your kind reply.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/12/2018 at 22:56

      Hey Hit. 1. I don’t know. It depends what your visa says. 2. Eligbility terms are clearly indicated in the post. 3. Depends on your permit. you should know that kind of stuff. 4. More info on that this way. good luck with it all!

  • Reply Tabitha 04/12/2018 at 13:16

    Hello Bastien,

    Extremely helpful advice on all of these posts! My situation is I was registered as unemployed/received financial support. I was sponsored by BfA to attend a coaching course (which was great). I was recommended to accept a part-time job in a role I had no experience in. Within 2 weeks I was given verbal notice and an email draft cancellation letter. I informed my “employers” that all had to be in original and signed etc etc. So verbal and incorrect Kündigungsschreiben received Fri 30th Nov. Waiting now for an original Kündigungsschreiben.

    I called the Arbeitsamt to inform them, they advised that I should formally register once I receive the correct Kündigungsschreiben to know when the formal work end-date is. Is this correct? I am concerned of the 3-day policy of notification and the verbal/email knowledge I received on 30th. Also, I assume they will re-calculate any unemployment funds based on this short part-time job vs my previously better paid job?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/12/2018 at 22:52

      Hey Tabitha. It’s in general a good idea to follow what your contact person is telling you to do. They know the intricacies of the system best! Regarding recalculation: it’s a good question: i’d assume that they either make an average of contributions during the past 2 years to make an accurate figure.

  • Reply Charlotte N 30/11/2018 at 12:57

    Hi Bastien!
    First of all I would like to thank you for taking out time in bringing out this content as a step by step instructions, it is of immense help to so many in need.
    I was terminated from the job due to the company’s financial situation. Now I need to apply for the Arbeitslosengeld. But I have 2 doubts, for which I looked up, and didn’t get any answers online.
    1. My spouse is already in a permanent job, we have kids.
    2. I have worked totally for 10 months in this company, in Germany.
    With these 2 factors, am I eligible for Arbeitslosengeld?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/12/2018 at 20:54

      Hey Charlotte. The requirements are indicated at the beginning of the post: You must have completed 12 months of employment within the last 2 years. Family situation situation makes no diffrerence.

  • Reply Krishna 26/11/2018 at 17:06

    Hello,

    My current job is getting finished this month and the next month will start in another 2 months.Can i apply for arbeitlossgeld for the two months gap in between the two jobs ??

    Also once i apply for the arbeitlossgeld can i travel outside the country ??

    Regards,
    VK.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/11/2018 at 09:29

      Hey Krishna. Yes, you can apply for that 2 months gap. While on ALG1, you can take some time off but it needs to be discussed with you counselor first.

  • Reply Nora 14/11/2018 at 17:07

    Thank you so much for your well organised step-by-step info!
    Would you be so kind to advice in case,
    – if one quits job on free will, is there specific form or letter that needs to be signed by employer when applying for the benefit? What document shall we request to employer upon resignation, in terms of successful application to ALG (As I am very concerned that ‘Letter of Termination’ would exist only in case when employer releases employee, so in other case employer maybe dont wanna be bothered to provide paper for my benefit after)

    – I dont speak German (only basic) does it affect my eligibility to the benefit? ( I am currently on work permit 3 years valid, no binding to certain employer or form of employment, been working in current company almost 2 years and half.)

    Would so much be appreciating and thankful for your advice
    Please let me know

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/11/2018 at 21:20

      Hey Nora. 1- Not that i know of. I suppose the standard letter of recommendation or Arbeitszeugnis that you are probably getting anyway should be enough. 2- Not it does not. It just will hinder your capability to understand requirements, questions from your counselor if they won’t speak English.

  • Reply Tanya Patwa 06/11/2018 at 03:16

    Hi Bastien!

    I am an Irish citizen and resident but I work in the offshore wind turbine industry in the North Sea off the coast of Germany. I spend two weeks working on sea and then fly straight back to Ireland for two weeks. I work for a German company under a German contract and have had to pay taxes to Germany for the past 18 months. My project and did a few weeks ago and I just received notice that my contract is ending November 30 as they have no more work for me. Since I paid full tax in Germany, am I eligible for unemployment? It is unclear to me if I have to be a German resident or what the process is. I hope to find work again in the EU/ Germany soon but would like to collect German benefits rather than Irish.

    I hope you can help.

    Best,
    Tanya

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/11/2018 at 10:03

      Hey Tanya. I’m afraid this is a bit beyond my knowledge as your status seems to be close to a “detached worker” or “posted worker” (entsandter Arbeitnehmer), so are you submitted to the “Entsendegesetz” by any chance? On this topic, i could only find sources (like here) about German residents coming back to Germany after being posted somewhere else in the EU. By default, being a German resident is a must to apply for ALG 1, however maybe as a detached worker, you have some exceptions applying to you? As an alternative, you can maybe claim your German benefits through the Irish system too? Good luck with everything.

  • Reply MP 25/10/2018 at 16:22

    Hello,
    Apologies if you have already answered this question elsewhere/earlier in your blog but I had a question that I couldn’t find an answer for.

    If someone receives unemployment I for a year and then begins working again how much time does one need to be working again in order to be eligible to receive unemployment I benefits in the future? Would it always be 12 months? Also are unemployment benefits also available if someone willingly leaves their employment or are there specific criteria in this circumstance.

    Many thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/10/2018 at 22:43

      Hey MP, if i understand this piece of law correctly, it would be 12 months yes, provided you have “used” on your benefits in the first place. For your second question, please read the post again, situation 2.

  • Reply Ana 17/10/2018 at 10:51

    Hello,
    does anyone know if there is a law that protect the renter, and how to terminate the rental contract before the minimum period of 1 year, because he was fired?
    So as a it contractor, there are no unemployment benefits, so no income what so ever and we will nee to move to our country back home, but we have a contract made in august for a new apartment (1 year contract).
    Can we resign that contract maybe paying 1 month notice or there is no possibility and we need to pay for 1 year?

    Thanks for any info or advise you can give me

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/10/2018 at 14:01

      Hey Ana. Depends on your contract and the German law. This is best solved with a legal expert instead of a comment section. Hope you can pull it off.

  • Reply Sam 16/10/2018 at 12:09

    Hi Bastien,

    I am a bit worried about the amount of time one need to stay in the town where you are registered. I understand they want you there looking for jobs and that you only get a couple of weeks and have to explain why you are away, but I feel like I am going to get a bit of a trapped feeling. My question is, do you know if they count the weekends? as in could I travel on the weekend and be back in town by Monday and be fine

    Thanks a lot, this website is amazing!!!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/10/2018 at 09:29

      Hey Sam. In my opinion, just be transparent with your contact person. Tell them you want to pursue opportunities in other cities and that you need to be onsite for interviews, applications, etc.

  • Reply ChandanB 14/10/2018 at 13:47

    Hello,
    Greetings!!!
    Thank you very much for detailed info on unemployment benefit in Germany. I have some doubts. It would be really helpful if I get some more details on my quesries.
    1. I am working in Germany from last four years with Blue Card and permanent employment contract. Recently I got Permanent resident permit (Niederlassungerlaubniss) Visa also.
    2. I am not an EU citizen
    3. I have very basic German language (done only A1 certificate), trying to improve further by taking the online classes.
    4. Still I am working, but seeing at some dynamics in current company, I maybe unemployed from April’2019 (if dynamics went negative to me)
    5. If I am unemployed, may I get the unemployment benefit? If yes how long I will get the support? Is there any concern to get the unemployment benefit if I don’t have German language certification?
    6. I am staying in Germany with my wife (no kids).
    7. Currently My wife is also working as Mini job (415 Euro/month) from last one year and she may get extension another 5-6 month, after that she also has to search for a new job, after contract finish and if she not get new job till then, can she also apply for unemployment benefit?
    I request you to please provide some details, it will be really helpful for me to get prepared for the further steps.
    Thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/10/2018 at 11:18

      Hey Chandan. There is no more requirements to be eligible for benefits than listed in the post. Language proficiency is not one of them.

      • Reply Chandan 16/10/2018 at 19:36

        Dear Bastien,

        Greetings!!!

        Thanks a lot for your feedback.
        If I need any support regarding this I will keep you posted.
        Really you are a awsome person, your informations are realy supportive and helpfull to many people.
        thanks a million again.
        best regards
        Chandan

  • Reply Bogdan 11/10/2018 at 20:58

    Hello, my wife is in a tough situation. She was fired without notice end of July .
    She applied for ALG immediately but because the employer refused to send the Arbeitsbescheinigung until now, the Arbeitsagentur didn’t calculate any money .
    They are sending letters and requiring the Arbeitsbescheinigung, even if she explained many times that the employer refused to send it .
    Now the health insurance also is saying that she is not insured since she is not receiving any unemployment .
    But she should be covered by the Arbeitsagentur right ?
    Before being fired she worked for 5 years in Germany .
    Do you have some advice ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/10/2018 at 10:25

      Hey Bogdan. Your wife’s employer is required by law to provide a Bescheinigung of this nature. She is stuck between 2 situations because of this. If i were you, i would show them this bit of law and threaten legal action if they don’t comply. Just an opinion though.

  • Reply Martin 10/10/2018 at 12:06

    Hello! My work contract is ending in 2 months but I have not registered to Job Centre yet, now I found out I suppose to do that at the latest 3 months in advance. Does anyone know what the consequences will be for me? Will they reject me or not pay me for the first 3 months? Thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/10/2018 at 13:07

      Hey Martin, they won’t reject your application but they might delay the moment they will start transferring you benefits.

  • Reply Kasia 06/10/2018 at 14:23

    Hey! Thanks for that article. I still have a question and hope you will be able to help me…my 2 year contract finish on the 31st of December so I will be without a job up from January 2019. I didn’t know that before, so I booked a 1 month holiday from mid Dec till mid January. I paid lots of money for the plane ticket and I don’t want to cancel them now. In that case, what should do? How is the process if I will not be able to register myself directly on the first day of uneployment? Pleaaseeee, can you give me some advice! I am sure there is any solution for that. Will be very greatful if you could help me:)

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/10/2018 at 09:16

      Hey Kasia. I suggest you proceed as normal and be very transparent with your Arbeitsagentur. They will understand that you had plans before-hand.

  • Reply Eugenie 06/10/2018 at 00:32

    I have aGerman passport but have never lived in Germany. I would be coming with my son and would be starting from scratch-no home, no job etc. Any advice on what I would be able to apply for and how best to find a job would be appreciated.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/10/2018 at 09:14

      Hey Eugenie. You would not be eligible for ALG 1, i’m afraid.

  • Reply Aleksandra 03/10/2018 at 19:54

    Hi Bastien,

    Your posts are amazing and very helpful. I’ve no idea how I would survive here if it weren’t for your knowledge 😀 I have a question regarding unemployment benefits. I’ve had a part-time job in Bavaria since October 2017 so I’ve been employed for 1 year . The contract I signed was initially for one year but the company I work for would like to extend it. Unfortunately, due to my husband’s work we need to move to another city in Germany so I cannot continue working for my company and have to decline their offer…do you think I’ll be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits in the new city straight away or will the “3 months rule” apply? Also, my contract ends on October 14 and we’re moving on the very same day. Can I apply for the benefits in the new city or do I have to do it in the city I’ve worked in? Thank you very much for any input 🙂 Aleks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/10/2018 at 10:15

      Hey Aleksandra. You’ll need to do the application Arbeitsagentur corresponding to your registered address. Concerning the 3 months rule, i am not sure. On the one hand, you knew the contract was coming to an end, but you were offered something more too. but on the other hand, you had to move to follow your partner. I guess it depends if the Arbeitsagentur thinks that moving with the family is reason enough to be out of a job, if you know what i mean.

      • Reply Aleksandra 10/10/2018 at 15:15

        Thank you very much 🙂

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