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Citizen´s Benefit (Bürgergeld)

What is covered by benefits?

Citizens benefit (Bürgergeld) covers your normal requirement, additional assistance and your accommodation and heating requirements (housing costs such as rent). It also includes one-off benefits and benefits for education and participation.

Financial benefits

Read on to learn about the individual components of cash benefits.

  • Normal requirement

    The normal requirement covers the costs required to secure your livelihood. The normal requirement is an average value, meaning it’s calculated on the basis of how much money a person needs to live on average. The normal requirement is governed by the second book of the German Social Code (SGB II).

    The normal requirement covers costs for:

    • food;
    • clothes;
    • household energy/power (not including heating and generating hot water);
    • personal care;
    • household goods;
    • phone/internet;
    • everyday needs;
    • participation in cultural life.

    You will receive a flat-rate amount each month for the normal requirement. You are free to use the amount as you see fit. In addition to costs incurred for food on a regular basis, less frequent expenses such as clothing or electrical devices are also to be paid for using the normal requirement. Those who receive normal requirement are advised to save a certain amount each month in case a household good needs to be replaced or repaired, for example.

    The normal requirement is split into various eligibility categories. The amount of normal requirement granted is governed by your age or family situation, among other aspects.

    Monthly normal requirement since 1 January 2023

    Single people, single parents, people of legal age with minor partner502 Euro
    (Married) partners of legal age in the benefits community451 Euro
    People of legal age but under the age of 25 without their own household402 Euro
    Young people between 14 and 17 years old and a minor partner420 Euro
    Children from 6 to 13 years old348 Euro
    Children from 0 to 5 years old318 Euro

    (Source: Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs)

  • Requirements for accommodation and heating

    Jobcenter may cover your housing costs (rent, bills incl. water and heating) if they are deemed reasonable. In this scenario, reasonable means that your place of residence is not too big or expensive. The costs for rental accommodation and owner-occupied property can be taken into account.

    Accommodation costs include:

    • basic rent
    • net bills (e.g. expenses for property tax expenses, street cleaning, waste disposal or property management services)
    • costs for water and sewage (also included as net bills)
    • heating costs

    The definition of bills does not include costs for the phone connection or for a garage/parking space. Household energy (e.g. power for electrical devices and light) is not taken into account as an extra cost but needs to be paid for independently from the normal requirement.

    Mortgage instalments for property will not be covered by Jobcenter

    What is considered reasonable?

    In Hamburg, the gross basic rent is used as a benchmark to determine the reasonability of rent. This consists of the basic rent (net basic rent) and the net bills (see above).

    The reasonable limit for rent in Hamburg is based on the number of people living in a household and the actual costs incurred for rent (gross basic rent without heating costs).

    Household sizereasonable limit (as of: January 2022)
    1 personEuro 543
    2 peopleEuro 659.40
    3 peopleEuro 780
    4 peopleEuro 938.15
    5 peopleEuro 1,272.60
    6 peopleEuro 1,443.60
    Every additional personEuro 180.45

    (Source: the social security office)

    In particular circumstances or certain districts, the reasonable limits may be higher. We’d be happy to help if you have any questions.

    What happens if my accommodation costs are not considered reasonable?

    If your outgoings for accommodation costs are unreasonably high, these costs may need to be reduced for people entitled to benefits upon request by Jobcenter This means you may need to move. Jobcenter checks whether it would be feasible for your to reduce the costs within a specified period. Your personal circumstances may be taken into consideration.

  • Health and long-term care insurance

    All recipients of citizen´s benefit are covered by health and long-term care insurance.

    Contributions for health and long-term care insurance are covered for people entitled to citizen´s benefit, provided they are not

    • already privately insured or
    • insured as a family member.

    Please submit confirmation of health insurance from your health insurance provider along with your application for benefits.

    Do you have private health insurance?

    In this case, you can remain privately insured during the period for which you receive benefits. Recipients of the basic security benefit will be granted subsidy payments for private and long-term care insurance contributions. Information on the basic tariff is required to calculate the subsidy. If you are in need of assistance as per SGB II, the basic tariff contribution is halved by law. This is then paid by the Jobcenter.

    Pension insurance

    Jobcenter will notify the pension insurance provider of the period for which you receive citizen´s benefit. At the end of this period or the end of the year, you will be informed of the notified periods in writing.

  • Money for particular situations (extra assistance)

    In certain situations, the normal requirement does not suffice. Accordingly, you may be entitled to additional assistance. Additional assistance covers costs that arise due to your particular circumstance and are not covered by the normal requirement.

    People entitled to additional assistance are:

    • expectant mothers (after the 13th week of pregnancy);
    • single parents who look after a minor;
    • people who require special food (expensive food) on medical grounds;
    • people with disabilities can also receive additional assistance in certain cases;
    • additional hot water requirements.

    How is the additional assistance calculated?

    The amount of additional assistance provided is governed by your personal normal requirement:

    • expectant mothers (after the 13th week of pregnancy) are entitled to an additional 17% of their normal requirement. Please submit your maternal health passport when submitting your application.
    • The amount of additional assistance granted to single parents is governed by the age and number of their children:
    Children and agePercent
    One child under the age of 736 percent
    One child over the age of 712 percent
    Two children under the age of 1636 percent
    Two children over the age of 1624 percent
    Four children48 percent
    Five children or more60 percent
    • Disabled people capable of working receive additional assistance amounting to 35 percent of their personal normal requirement if they receive benefits to participate in employment as per the ninth book of the German Social Code (SGB IX – Rehabilitation and participation). Please submit a copy of the respective benefits approval notification to receive this assistance.
    • People who require expensive food on medical grounds and are entitled to citizen´s benefit can generally receive sufficient additional assistance, the amount of which is governed by their individual illness. In this case, please submit the pre-printed form appendix MEB with a doctor’s note to confirm your illness.

    You are required to provide supporting documents to verify your claim to the additional assistance mentioned above. You do not need to submit an application.

  • One-off assistance

    One-off assistance constitutes cash or non-cash benefits (in the form of vouchers) that you can receive one-time only.

    For example:

    • to buy basic equipment for your home, including household appliances
    • to purchase basic clothing (including when pregnant and after birth) and
    • to buy and repair orthopaedic shoes, therapeutic devices and equipment, and to rent therapeutic devices.

    In order to receive one-off assistance, you will need to informally submit a corresponding application.

    You can also apply for and receive these benefits if you are not a recipient of citizen´s benefit. In order to receive one-off assistance, you must be able to prove that you do not have sufficient income or assets to cover these special requirements.

  • Education and participation

    The educational requirements and need to participate in social and cultural life are accounted for separately for children, adolescents and young adults in the education package. The costs for excursions or school tips, lunch at day care or school, or learning support will, for example, be covered.

    Who is entitled to receive benefits?

    Students who are under the age of 25, attend a general or vocational school and do not receive apprenticeship pay are entitled to receive benefits as part of the Hamburg education package.

    The benefits cover:

    • school requirements (fixed rate of EUR 156 in 2022);
    • excursions and school trips lasting several days;
    • tutoring;
    • school transport (bus and train tickets);
    • lunch; and
    • participation in social, extracurricular activities, clubs, cultural or holiday programmes (EUR 15 per month up to 18 years of age). Proof of membership in these programmes will need to be submitted.

    If you are entitled to social security benefits, you children will receive a membership card for Hamburg public libraries free of charge.

    Visit the city of Hamburg website to receive more information on the individual benefits granted in the education package and on how to apply.

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