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What do unemployed people get paid ?

22nd May 2024

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Understand the benefits available to the unemployed by the Agentur für Arbeit

Experiencing unemployment in Germany brings various challenges. However, the country offers multiple benefits and financial supports for those who are arbeitslos. It doesn't matter if you're struggling to find work or have a low income. There are resources ready to assist you, helping you during this difficult period.

Key Takeaways:

  • Germany offers various benefits and financial support for the unemployed (arbeitslos).

  • Whether you are struggling to find work, have a low income, or actively seeking employment, there are options available to assist you.

  • Registering as unemployed (arbeitslos melden) is a crucial step to access the benefits and support provided by the Agentur für Arbeit.

  • There are requirements, such as insurance coverage and a qualifying period (Anwartschaftszeit), that must be met to receive Arbeitslosengeld.

  • The amount of Arbeitslosengeld is calculated based on previous income and can provide financial assistance during unemployment.

Arbeitslos melden: How to Register as Unemployed

Registering as unemployed is the first step towards accessing benefits and support. There are options for both online and in-person registration to make the process easy.

Online Registration through the Digital Service

Through the online Digital Service from Agentur für Arbeit, you can quickly and easily register as unemployed. It enables individuals to complete the process from anywhere, at any time.

Visit the Agentur für Arbeit website to find the online registration form. Complete it with your personal and work history information. After submitting, you will get a confirmation email.

Registering online streamlines the process, allowing you to access benefits with just a few clicks.

In-Person Registration at the Agentur für Arbeit

If you prefer a touch of personal assistance, you can register in person at your local Agentur für Arbeit. This approach connects you with an employment specialist. They'll guide you through the process and answer any questions.

Bring along important documents, like your ID and job history. The specialist will help you with the registration form, ensuring you have all necessary information.

Speaking with the Agentur für Arbeit staff in person means direct answers to any questions or concerns.

Telephonic Registration

Sometimes, registering over the phone might be more appealing. To do this, call your local Agentur für Arbeit to start the process.

An employment specialist will walk you through what's needed over the phone. You should have your personal and job history details ready.

Remember, telephonic registration might not be available everywhere. Check with your local office to see if it's an option.

Choose the registration method that works best for you. Doing so promptly ensures you meet all requirements to receive benefits. Acting quickly helps in getting the support you need during this transition.

Requirements for Receiving Arbeitslosengeld

  • Unemployment: To receive Arbeitslosengeld, being unemployed is a must. This indicates you are currently without a job and fervently looking for work.

  • Actively Seeking Employment: Actively searching for job opportunities is crucial. It underlines your dedication towards finding new work and entering the workforce again.

  • Insurance Coverage: Adequate insurance coverage is necessary. It reflects that you have met social insurance contribution requirements.

  • Anwartschaftszeit (Qualifying Period): Determining your qualification for Arbeitslosengeld largely hinges on Anwartschaftszeit. It mandates having at least 12 months of insurance coverage in the 30 months leading to your unemployment.

  • Employment History: Your work history is also weighed in your eligibility evaluation. It's assessed for your past work performance and its potential impact on your future employability.

To qualify for Arbeitslosengeld, you must fulfil several stipulations. These encompass not being engaged in work, actively job hunting, and ensuring your insurance is up to par. If you’re unemployed, you’re actively searching for a job. This search effort underscores your desire to secure work once more, vital for qualification.

An indispensable necessity is having the required insurance. This indicates you’ve paid your social insurance contributions, thus making you eligible for benefits. Conclusively, Anwartschaftszeit plays a critical role. It necessitates having at least a year of insurance coverage within the 30 months preceding your job loss.

Your professional past is also factored in. The duration and nature of your previous employment along with other pertinent factors are considered. They influence your chances of obtaining new work.

Calculation of Arbeitslosengeld

The amount of Arbeitslosengeld you get depends on your past income. This includes deductions. It also considers the portion of your Leistungsentgelt that can be given as Arbeitslosengeld.

1. Bemessungsentgelt: Assessment Income

The first calculation step is determining your Bemessungsentgelt, or assessment income. This is done by dividing your last 12 months' gross income by 365. Here's the formula:

(Gross Income 12 months) / 365

For instance, with a €30,000 annual gross income, your Bemessungsentgelt would be about €82.19 daily.

2. Leistungsentgelt: Benefit Income

After determining Bemessungsentgelt, taxes and social security payments are subtracted. This gives your Leistungsentgelt, or benefit income. The deductions are for:

  • Income tax

  • Solidarity surcharge

  • Church tax (if it applies to you)

  • Social security (like health and pension)

The outcome is your Leistungsentgelt, which is your potential Arbeitslosengeld income.

3. Percentage Calculation

The Arbeitsagentur usually sets Arbeitslosengeld at 60% of your Leistungsentgelt, or 67% if you have a child.


  • Without Child: 60%

  • With Child: 67%

For example, with a €50 daily Leistungsentgelt, you'd get about €30 per day without a child or €33.50 with a child.

However, remember these are general figures. What you receive might differ based on your specific situation and the current laws.

Duration of Arbeitslosengeld

Two key aspects govern the length of Arbeitslosengeld, or unemployment benefits. The first is how long one has been insured. The second is the person’s age. Generally, the duration of benefits increases as one grows older. This dynamic is an acknowledgment of the added hurdles the middle-aged and elders may encounter; both in landing new jobs and in thriving without them.

Duration for Individuals Under 50

If you're under the age of 50, the utmost time you can collect Arbeitslosengeld is a year. Yet, to secure this provision, you must have been contributing to the insurance for a minimum of 24 months. Consequently, anyone meeting this criterion can enjoy a year's worth of benefit.

Extended Duration for Individuals Over 50

Things shift once you hit 50. At this mark, the support period stretches. With each passing year, this extension grows, capping at 24 months for those 58 or older.

This revision in the benefits' span reflects a deeper understanding of the unique struggle that comes with looking for work later in life. It stands as a move to offer some financial air through the job hunt.

Here is a visually informative table summarizing the duration variations based on age and insurance involvement:

Under 50

  • Insurance Period: 24 months

  • Duration of Arbeitslosengeld: 12 months

50 - 57

  • Insurance Period: 30 months

  • Duration of Arbeitslosengeld: 15-18 months

58 and older

  • Insurance Period: 48 months or more

  • Duration of Arbeitslosengeld: 24 months

Regulations surrounding the duration of Arbeitslosengeld are liable to exterior forces, whims of the government, and adjusting policies. Thus, it behooves individuals to stay abreast with any developments which might alter their benefit timeline.

Special Cases and Considerations

When it comes to receiving Arbeitslosengeld, there are aspects to consider. Understanding these intricacies helps you through the process efficiently. Certain circumstances demand attention to ensure a smooth journey.

Different Types of Arbeitslosengeld

1. Teilarbeitsengeld

Most people qualify for regular Arbeitslosengeld. However, if one holds multiple jobs, they might benefit from Teilarbeitsengeld. This form of support is for those with reduced work hours due to concurrent employment.

2. Interruption

At times, halting Arbeitslosengeld might be necessary. This happens if one takes a brief job or joins a training. The process for pausing benefits involves discussion with the Agentur für Arbeit to follow proper steps.

3. Extension

If needing more time to secure a job, one might opt for an extension. Valid reasons, like ongoing job search difficulties, are required for consideration. Each request is examined individually, with proper justification for extension needed.

4. Travel Considerations

Travel, while enjoyable, can affect your Arbeitslosengeld. It's wise to inform the Agentur für Arbeit if traveling for an extended period. This ensures benefits' continual compliance with rules. Notifying the agency is crucial to avert benefit suspension or cancellation.


Being jobless in Germany might seem daunting, but there's help at hand. The government offers support and financial aid for those without a job. This includes various services to aid in job-hunting efforts.

Firstly, signing up as unemployed with the Agentur für Arbeit is vital. To qualify for aid, you must actively look for work and have necessary insurance. This ensures you meet the basic requirements to get help.

After signing up, you could receive Arbeitslosengeld, a benefit based on past earnings. It's a critical support while looking for new opportunities. Be mindful that the aid's duration is linked to age and past insurance.

The commitment of the German state to support the unemployed is clear. It underscores their mission to guide individuals through the hardship of being without a job. By knowing your options and making use of available resources, it's easier to concentrate on securing new job chances.

Would you like to learn more about the topic of "unemployment"? Then take a look at our blog:
- Essential checklist: what you need to register as unemployed by phone
- Unemployed registration: how does it work?
- Exploring registration options: can you register at Agentur für Arbeit by E-Mail or by phone?
- The consequences of late registration for unemployment benefits
- Understanding unemployment insurance: how long are you covered?
- Discovering "Arbeitsamt Stellenangebote"

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