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Apply for a citizen's allowance

If you do not have enough money to cover your own living expenses, you can apply for citizen's allowance.

Citizen's allowance, also known as basic income support for jobseekers, is a benefit provided by the welfare state for people who are able to work and cannot cover their living expenses from their own income or assets. It is regulated in the Second Book of the German Social Code (SGB II).

The citizen's income ensures the minimum economic subsistence level and enables you to participate in the cultural and social life of our society.

At the same time, those entitled to citizen's allowance who are able to work receive comprehensive support from the job centers in their search for work or qualification opportunities.

Anyone who receives benefits from the state, i.e. from taxpayers, must in turn play an active role in ensuring that they can stand on their own two feet again as quickly as possible. The job centers will support you in this.

Children in need of assistance also receive citizen's allowance and are looked after by the job centers in order to give them access to education and participation.

Important: Citizen's allowance is only paid on application.

If you previously received unemployment benefit II or social benefit, you will receive citizen's allowance from 01.01.2023.

The basic security benefits are transferred to your account each month in advance.

Flat-rate monthly amount (standard requirement)

If you receive citizen's allowance, you will receive a lump sum to cover your living expenses (known as standard needs). It covers your needs, such as food, clothing and personal hygiene, and is adjusted annually. The following amounts apply to the standard needs levels (RBS) for 2024:

  • Single persons, single parents, adults with underage partners: EUR 563.00 (RBS 1)
  • Adult partners: EUR 506.00 (RBS 2)
  • Other adults aged 18 to 24 and persons under 25 who move out of the parental household without the assurance of the municipal institution (18 to 24 years): EUR 451.00 (RBS 3)
  • Children aged 14 to 17: EUR 471.00 (RBS 4)
  • Children from 6 to 13 years: EUR 390.00 (RBS 5)
  • Children from 0 to 5 years: EUR 357.00 (RBS 6)

Immediate supplement for children

Children, adolescents and young adults receive an additional monthly immediate supplement of EUR 20.00 (RBS 3-6).

Additional needs

If you need more money due to special situations, you can also receive additional benefits if you meet the personal requirements. Benefits for so-called additional needs are received, for example, by expectant mothers from the 13th week of pregnancy, single parents, people with disabilities who receive benefits for participation in working life or people who need a more expensive diet for medical reasons.

Costs for accommodation and heating

If you receive citizen's allowance, the costs of your accommodation and heating will be covered if these costs are reasonable. In the first year of benefit receipt, the actual costs of your apartment or house (net cold rent) are covered, even if these are not reasonable (so-called "waiting period"). From the second year of benefit receipt, the costs are only covered if they are reasonable.

The one-year waiting period does not apply to heating costs. Even in the first year, heating costs are not covered to the actual extent, but to a reasonable extent. Which costs are reasonable depends on where you live.

  • Special case: If you are under 25 years old and not married and want to move out with your parents or one of your parents, you can only receive these benefits if you have a so-called assurance from the Jobcenter. You must apply for this confirmation from your Jobcenter.

You can also receive the following benefits:

  • In emergencies where your livelihood is at risk, you can receive a loan in the form of cash or benefits in kind upon separate application. This may be the case, for example, if something has been stolen or broken. However, the standard requirement already includes an amount for saving. This means that you normally have to pay for new purchases and replacements from the money saved from the standard rate.
  • In certain situations, you can also receive one-off support on separate application. Examples of this are initial equipment for your home or initial equipment for pregnancy and childbirth.
  • You can receive contributions to your health and long-term care insurance.
  • You will receive benefits for "education and participation in social and cultural life" (BuT) for your children. These are automatically applied for with the main application, for example for
    • school trips,
    • communal lunchtime meals,
    • school supplies (twice a year) or
    • benefits for extracurricular learning support (tutoring).

Further information can be found under "Further information".


  • You are fit for work. This means that you
    • can work at least 3 hours a day and
    • are at least 15 years old and have not yet reached the statutory pension insurance age limit. If you were born after 1963, this is 67 years. If you were born before 1964, you can look up the age limit that applies to you in the table in § 7a of the German Social Code II (SGB II).
  • You are in need of assistance. This means that you are unable to cover your own necessary living expenses and the living expenses of non-employable relatives living with you in a community of need either from your own resources (income and assets) and strength (use of labor) or with the help of other or priority benefits (e.g. unemployment benefit, housing benefit, child supplement).
  • You have no priority claims against other benefit providers (e.g. housing benefit) or other persons, such as divorced spouses or the father or mother of your child.
  • You live in the Federal Republic of Germany.