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When your income doesn’t cover your needs

If your family has no or a low income, your assets do not exceed a set threshold and you are able to work, you can claim Arbeitslosengeld II unemployment benefit (ALG II).

‘Able to work’ means anyone between the ages of 15 and 64 who does not have an illness or disability which means that, for the foreseeable future, they are not able to work in unsupported employment for a minimum of 3 hours a day. Mothers or fathers who look after children up to the age of 3 are considered to be able to work, and can therefore claim ALG II, but are not expected to look for a job. Single parent students who are taking a break from their degree to raise children are also eligible for ALG II. If they are not themselves eligible to receive ALG II – because they are continuing their degree for example – children and other members of their household may still be eligible for Sozialgeld or ALG II. Students can also claim the additional pregnancy and single parent benefits.

Young adults aged between 18 and 25 who live with their parents are considered to be members of the same household and receive €332 per month as standard.

ALG II and Sozialgeld include:

1. Standard benefits (2018)

Single people/single parents: €416; partners: €374
• Children aged 0–5: €240
• Children aged 6–13: €296
• Children aged 14–17: €316
• 18 to 25 in the same household: €332

All standard rates are intended to allow for some savings to be put aside. The system of one-off grants for clothing, shoes, domestic appliances, furniture, renovation work or repairs no longer exists (with the exception of grants for fixtures and fittings for a new home).

2. Additional benefits (list is not exhaustive)

• Expectant mothers from the 13th week of pregnancy: 17% of the applicable standard benefit.
• Single parents with a child under 7 or 2–3 children under 16: 36% of the applicable standard benefit
• Single parents with a child over 7: 12% of the applicable standard benefit
• Single parents with 4 children under 18: 48% of the applicable standard benefit
• Single parents with 5 or more children under 18: 60% of the applicable standard benefit
• Hot water
• Special, unavoidable costs such as costs relating to visitation rights

3. Health insurance: If you receive ALG II then, unless you are already insured as part of a family policy, compulsory insurance with a statutory health insurance provider will be paid for.

4. A reasonable level of housing costs (as at September 2017)
Housing costs up to the upper rent limit set out by the local authority will be paid. The upper rent limit includes both actual rent and most bills. It is based on the number of people in the household.

Example:

1 person (50 m²) Rent/bills: €465.50
2 people (65 m²) Rent/bills: €570.70
3 people (80 m²) Rent/bills: €683.20
4 people (95 m²) Rent/bills: €817.00

For apartments with energy requirements up to and including 100 kilowatt hours per square meter per year, slightly higher costs are possible.

To claim the high energy performance rating supplement, you must provide the energy performance certificate to the local authority benefits office.

There is an additional allowance for heating/hot water costs. Owner occupiers can also apply for help with housing costs.
The BSG court has ruled that the size and layout of a house or flat must permit a degree of private space for both schoolchildren and adult parents. Individual circumstances may give rise to a need for more living space.

If you wish to move, the local authority benefits office must specifically approve the move before you sign the new tenancy agreement. Young adults up to the age of 25 who live with their parents can only move out with the consent of the local authority benefits office.

5. Additional needs

In addition to the standard benefits, you can also apply for grants for:
• fixtures and fittings for your first house or flat (you must show a need)
• maternity clothing and initial baby equipment
• school trips lasting more than one day (within the framework of schools legislation)
• purchase and repair of orthopaedic shoes, etc.

6. Additional school-related benefits

In 2018, the parent‘s contribution to the cost of school books will be reimbursed for people in receipt of Sozialhilfe, Grundsicherung, ALG II or Jugendhilfe (youth support) services, asylum seekers, and Münster-Pass holders. Receipts/benefit notices must be submitted to the Münster Schools Department (Schulamt).
Reimbursement of the cost of schoolbooks by the Schools Department (Schulamt) does not have any effect on school-related benefits pursuant to SGB II or vice versa.
For more information, visit: www.muenster.de/stadt/schulamt

7. Education and inclusion

Children and young people who attend a normal school or who attend a vocational college either full time or as part of an unpaid training scheme are eligible for the following education and inclusion benefits:
- school excursions (includes children in daycare)
- school trips lasting several days
- school supplies
- transport for school pupils (on a case by case basis)
- extra tuition
- lunch at school or daycare
- Inclusion in social and cultural life (up to €10 per month)

Applying for these benefits:

All services in connection with BuT must be requested at the job center.

Applying for ALG II and Sozialgeld
In Münster, the Jobcenter is responsible for all issues relating to ALG II. If you have any questions on benefit entitlement, employment or returning to work or wish to make an application, you should contact the Jobcenter office in Stadthaus II or district administrative offices.

If you apply for ALG II, you must conclude an integration agreement (Eingliederungsvereinbarung) with your employment advisor. This agreement sets out what support you will receive to help you return to work, what you undertake to do to find work, and what benefits you and your family members will receive. If you do not fulfil the obligations you enter into, the ALG II payments you receive may be reduced.

Deduction of income from ALG II and Sozialgeld
Kindergeld (for children below the age of 18) and maintenance or maintenance advance are treated as income (for the child) and are taken into account in determining the amount of ALG II/Sozialgeld paid. Income from employment is also deducted from ALG II, though the amount of income deducted is dependent on the amount earned.
A proportion of Elterngeld (parental allowance) payments from employment (up to €300/€150) and any financial assistance received from the Bundesstiftung Mutter und Kind or the City of Münster Discretionary Fund are ignored when determining the amount of ALG II payments. If you have income from childminding, you should clarify the effect of this income on ALG II payments with the Amt für Kinder, Jugendliche und Familien (Child and Family Welfare Office). Owning an appropriate motor vehicle, a reasonably sized house or flat in which you live, or other assets up to a certain value (the amount depends on your age) does not preclude you from receiving benefits.

Sozialhilfe/Hilfe zum Lebensunterhalt (HLU)
Anyone below the age of 65 who, as a result of illness for example, is unable to work for a minimum of three hours a day, but is not permanently limited in their ability to work is entitled to Sozialhilfe/Hilfe zum Lebensunterhalt. This benefit is, however, only paid where the recipient’s needs are not met by other benefits. Responsibility for administering this benefit lies with the Sozialamt (Social Welfare Office).

Grundsicherung im Alter und bei Erwerbsminderung (income support for the elderly and people with reduced ability to work)
To be eligible for Grundsicherung benefits, you must either be aged 65 or over or be aged 18 to 65, have a long-term medical reason why you are completely unable to work, and be unlikely to be able to return to work in the future. The local Grundsicherung office (in the Sozialamt, Hafenstraße 8) is responsible for administering this benefit.

Contact addresses
If you have any questions on any of the topics discussed here, you can contact the organisations below. For further information, please contact Sozialbüro im cuba or cuba - unemployment advisory service.

Agentur für Arbeit Münster 
Martin-Luther-King-Weg 22 
48155 Münster 
Tel: 08004 5555 00

Jobcenter Münster
Stadthaus II
Ludgeriplatz 4
48151 Münster
or district administrative
offices around Münster
Tel: 0251 / 492-9292
Sozialamt der Stadt Münster 
Hafenstraße 8 
48153 Münster 
Tel: 02 51 / 4 92 - 50 01