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claim unemployment benefits

If you lose your job or your training position, you can apply for unemployment benefits so that you are financially secure.

Unemployment benefit is a remuneration replacement benefit and is intended to partially replace the remuneration that employees are unable to earn due to unemployment.

You are entitled to unemployment benefits as soon as you first meet the requirements.

The length of time you are entitled to unemployment benefits depends on the length of time you were insured during the last 5 years before becoming unemployed and on the age you reached when your entitlement arose. You are entitled to at least 6 months of unemployment benefit if you have been in an employment relationship subject to compulsory insurance for at least 12 months within the last 30 months. The maximum period of entitlement is

  • for unemployed persons under 50 years of age: 12 months and requires an insurance period of at least 24 months.
  • for unemployed persons over 50: 24 months and requires that the unemployed person has reached the age of 58 and has completed at least 48 months of insurance.

As a rule, your unemployment benefit is calculated on the basis of the gross salary you earned on average in the last year before your entitlement to unemployment benefit arose. The amount is

  • for unemployed persons with one child, 67 percent
  • for other unemployed persons 60 percent

of the gross pay reduced by the statutory deductions that usually apply to employees.

While you are receiving unemployment benefits, you are generally covered by statutory health, nursing care and pension insurance. The contributions are paid by the Federal Employment Agency. If you were last exempt from compulsory pension insurance or health and long-term care insurance, the BA can usually partially cover the contributions for a private pension plan.

You are covered by accident insurance if you receive a special request to visit the Employment Agency or another office while receiving benefits.

You must notify them immediately of any changes (such as illness, vacation, moving, starting a job), most easily online. Alternatively, you can also make the notifications in writing, by telephone or in person.


You are entitled to unemployment benefit if

  • you are unemployed, that is,
    • you are not in an employment relationship or
    • you are only engaged in gainful employment for less than 15 hours a week, and
    • You are available to the placement efforts of the Employment Agency. In other words, you are able and willing to take up employment subject to compulsory insurance under conditions customary in the labor market
  • You are
    • electronically using an electronic proof of identity, for example an ID card with online ID function, in the eServices portal of the Federal Employment Agency, or
    • registered as unemployed in person at the relevant employment agency. When you register for unemployment in person, you are considered to have applied for unemployment benefits. In addition, a claim form must be filled out
  • you have been subject to compulsory insurance for at least 12 months within the last 30 months before registering as unemployed (the so-called framework period).
    • Periods during which you were subject to compulsory insurance for employment promotion due to the receipt of income replacement benefits, such as sickness benefits, or - under further conditions - due to the care of a relative or the upbringing of a child, for example, are also taken into account.
    • Periods during which you were subject to compulsory insurance (so-called voluntary continued insurance) can also be taken into account as insurance periods, for example because you have taken up self-employment.
    • In special cases, periods during which you performed development service in accordance with the Development Workers Act (Entwicklungshelfergesetz) or worked abroad on the basis of a secondary employment contract are also taken into account.

What documents do I need?

  • Identity card with current registration address
  • Passport/replacement document in connection with a current certificate of registration
  • Certificate of employment (to be filled in by the employer)
  • In the case of an online unemployment report:
    • ID card with online ID function enabled and activated
  • The Employment Agency may request additional documentation, for example:
    • Termination letter
    • Declaration of termination of employment
    • Certificate of receipt of sickness benefit
    • Certificate of additional income
    • Proof (notice of approval, proof of benefits) of previous receipt of benefits (unemployment benefits, also from another employment agency)
    • Proof of contribution (compulsory application for unemployment insurance)