German Immigration Law: Social benefits for noncitizens residing in Germany
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In Germany there are four different kinds of residence titles:
– The German permanent residence permit (“Niederlassungserlaubnis”)
– The German temporary residence permit („Aufenthaltserlaubnis“)
– The German Visa (“Visum”)
– The German long-term resident´s EC residence permit (“Daueraufenthalt-EG”)

Each of these different residence titles may entitle its holder to obtain different kinds of social benefits from the German state.

Germany’s social welfare system provides many social benefits to German citizens and foreigners living in Germany. Some of them are:

SGB II: SGB II is the abbreviation for the Sozialgesetzbuch II (German Social Security Code II) which determines the basic financial security benefit for employable job seekers in Germany. The term “SGB II” is therefore used colloquially to describe this kind of basic financial security benefit. The SGB II is paid to unemployed people in Germany who are in need of support because of their current unemployment status and their life situation. According to the SGB II a person in need is entitled to receive a monthly allowance and the SGB II also covers the costs for accommodation and heating.

SGB XII: The SGB XII is the abbreviation for the Sozialgesetzbuch XII (German Social Security Code XII). While the social benefits of the SGB II are given to persons who are capable of employment, the social benefits of the SGB XII are given to persons who are not capable of employment because of some kind of working-inability or because of their age.

AsylbLG: The AsylbLG is the abbreviation of the Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz (German Asylum Seekers Benefits Act). The AsylbLG is a separate rule for social benefits, apart from the Second and Twelfth Book of the Code of Social Law (SGB II and XII), described above. Benefits according to the AsylbLG may be obtained by foreigners who reside in Germany and are asylum seekers or civil war refugees. A recent judgment of the federal constitutional court in Germany (“Bundesverfassungsgericht”) held, that the provisions governing the basic cash benefits provided for in the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act were unconstitutional. Asylum seekers or civil war refugees are therefore entitled to get more money under the AsylbLG.

Child benefit: Child benefits (“Kindergeld”) are monthly payments of the German state to a child’s parents or it´s legal guardian. The amount of the payments depends on the ages and the number of the children in the household.

Family allowance: After their child is born, parents receive family allowance (“Elterngeld”), which is intended to help families become more financially independent. The family allowance is 67 per cent of the average current monthly net income of the parent, but the allowance is capped at a maximum of 1,800 euros and is not less than 300 euros.

Advanced Maintenance payments: Single parents in Germany who receive no maintenance payments from the other parent, although the other parent is obliged to pay maintenance payments, may receive maintenance payments at least to the amount of the regular demands according to the Ordinance on Regular Maintenance.

BAFöG: BaföG stands for Bundes-Ausbildungsförderungs-Gesetz (Federal Education and Trainings Assistance Act for students in Germany). The Aim of the BAföG is to give all young people the possibility to study independent from their social and economic situation. Besides German students many foreign students may be entitled to obtain payments under the BAföG.

Housing allowance: Housing allowance is a subsidy paid to lower-income tenants and owners, if the amount of their rent or the burden for acceptable accommodation overburdens the economic capacity of their household.

Integration course:
If a foreigner has recently arrived in Germany, he may be entitled to attend an integration course. However, in many cases the German immigration office will instruct the foreigner to attend an integration course in order to integrate better into the German society.

Please find below a chart showing the different kinds of social benefits in relation to the residence titles. Please note that if you are a holder of one of these German residence titles you are not automatically entitled to receive the corresponding social benefits. You will also have to fulfill the specific requirements of the social benefit to get that specific benefit.


German lawyers provide legal advice on German immigration law.

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