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Unemployment Benefit and Social Welfare

A complete study financing with the benefits stated above is generally not possible or if, only temporarily.

The benefits are anchored within different social security statute books and therefore have fundamentally different conditions for entitlement, objectives and principles.

Unemployment benefit I
Unemployment benefit II and income support
Social welfare


Unemployment benefit I

Unemployment benefit I (ALG I) is a wage replacement. A basic condition for entitlement is that you have been in an employment relationship subject to compulsory insurance for 12 months minimum.

There is only an entitlement to unemployment benefit I, if one is available for a part-time work of at least 15 hours per week. However, it is supposed from the outset, according to law (§ 139 Abs. 2 SGB III) that students can only take up jobs exempt from insurance.

As students also have to be available to the employment service and prove to the job agency that it is possible for them to take up a job subject to compulsory insurance with at least 15 working hours per week besides their studies, the receipt of unemployment benefit I will only rarely be possible. The job agency will thoroughly review the preconditions and make an individual decision.

The entitlement to unemployment benefit applies for a period of 4 years from the beginning of the claim on. This entitlement can no longer be invoked after expiry of the 4-year-period.

Even during doctoral studies or a semester of leave it is considered that you are available for the employment service. If there is no examination load during a semester of leave, the receipt of ALG I could be realistic.

Job centre Clausthal


Unemployment Benefit II and income support

Unemployment benefit II (ALG II) is paid by the responsible job centre to persons who are able to work and between 15 and 64 years of age, who cannot cover their livelihood with income or assets and are therefore needy. It is defined that one is able to work if one is physically fit to work for at least three hours a day.

Income support is paid for those children until their 15th birthday, who live in a need-based community with the applicant, as long as their maintenance is not ensured otherwise.

As a rule, students cannot receive ALG II, as a general exclusion has been formulated in the social security statute book II (SGB II, (§ 7 Abs. 5 und 6 SGB II): anyone who is in training that is basically eligible for the receipt of BAföG, cannot receive any benefits under the SGB II regulations.

It is not the question whether BAföG is actually received, but only that the training is basically eligible for the receipt of BAföG.


There are some exceptions, though:

  • It is possible to receive unemployment benefit II during a semester of leave .
  • If the studies are interrupted due to illness or pregnancy, it is possible to receive BAföG, as in this case there is no entitlement to BAföG any more (leave of absence is not necessary for this). For a period up to three months, the BAföG-support remains and there is no entitlement to ALG II.
  • In case of special hardship (§ 7 Abs. 5 SGB II) means of subsistence can be drawn, even if one is in a training that is basically eligible for the receipt of BAföG. However, these means will be paid in the form of a loan. The job centre makes an individual decision about what special hardship actually means. Apart from that, the hardship provision rather applies to the period of graduation. By now, a bridging loan from the job centre can also be possible at the beginning of the studies. A bridging that does not exceed one month is acknowledged as hardship, if the application for BAföG has not been finalised yet.
  • ‘Training-unrelated needs’: increased demands and one-time benefits. That includes increased demands for mothers-to-be from the 12th week of pregnancy on, increased demands for single parents, increased demands for costly diets and one-time benefits for the basic equipment of clothing and basic equipment for pregnancy and birth.

Job centre Clausthal


Income support

Income support is a basic provision for people in need, who are not able to work. Not able to work are those, who, due to illness or disablement, can only work less than three hours a day.

Like with  Unemployment benefit II, the exclusion clause and the hardship regulation is applied here, too: “Trainees, whose education is basically eligible to promotion within the scope of the Federal Education and Training Assistance Act (…), are not entitled to benefits according to the third and fourth chapter. In case of special hardship, benefits according to the third and fourth chapter may be granted as subsidy or loan“ (§ 22 Abs. 1 SGB XII).

It is an individual decision here, too, whether a special hardship exists. Special hardship may exist if the studies are prolonged due to illness or disablement by a longer period than BAföG will cover and a successful graduation is endangered because of  lack of resources.

It is possible to finance disablement- and training-related increased demands for students with disablement in the course of integration support (in particular: technical devices, communication- and study assistances, mobility aids as well as additional benefits in kind and support). However, the integration support as part of social welfare is always subordinate. That means it  is determined first, whether the applicant himself  or another provider could pay for the increased demand.