Why can't people exist without money

social care

1. The most important things in a nutshell

Social assistance includes benefits for people who are unable to work and unable to support themselves. Social assistance benefits are only available if neither the person concerned, their relatives, nor other social insurance providers can cover their needs.

Needy employable people from 15 to the age limit of the regular old-age pension, who can work at least 3 hours a day, have none Entitlement to social assistance benefits, but to basic security benefits for job seekers (ALG II or Hartz IV). The level of the basic security benefits corresponds to the level of social assistance benefits.

2. Requirements

But who Not is able to earn a living on his own and with his own means or to help himself in special situations, is entitled to social assistance under certain conditions.

For more information on income and assets in connection with social assistance benefits, see Social Assistance> Income and Assets.

Since January 1, 2020, integration assistance is no longer part of social assistance, but is regulated in SGB IX. For People with disabilitieswho make use of the integration assistance benefits, different regulations therefore apply, see integration assistance> Income and assets.

The legal basis for social assistance is the Social Code No. 12 (SGB XII).

2.1. Obligation to cooperate

Please note: Social welfare recipients have an obligation to cooperate, i.e. among other things:

  • You must state everything relating to your income, assets and expenses, and any changes to them.
  • At the request of the social welfare office, you must agree to the information provided by other people (family members, banks, doctors, experts, ...).
  • At the request of the social welfare agency, you must undergo medical and psychological examinations if existing certificates and notifications are insufficient for a decision.

If the duty to cooperate is not met, the social welfare office can refuse or withdraw the benefits.


home visits The social welfare office may only do this with justification and must register them well in advance.

2.2. Application for social assistance

It must first the application must be submitted to the social welfare office and its approval must be awaited before something is bought or a service is arranged. The social welfare office does not reimburse any costs retrospectively.

2.3. Practical tips for applying for social assistance

  • Bring a person of trust with you to submit an application, a so-called "supporter". This lowers the excitement and prevents important things from being overlooked.
  • The easiest way is to submit the application directly to the social welfare office.
  • If the person concerned cannot go to the office himself, e.g. for health reasons, there is the possibility that the ASD (General Social Service) of the responsible office visits them in their apartment and initiates help.
  • Social assistance must actually be granted even without a formal application, as soon as the competent social assistance agency becomes aware that the requirements are met. As a person in a social profession and as a private person, you can also offer someone who does not feel able to go to the office to report the need for help to the social welfare office.
  • If you want to use the services of the social welfare office, it is easier to check the requirements if you bring the following documents with you at the first interview:
    • Valid identity card or passport
    • Rental agreement and the last three proof of rental payment
    • Income documents (e.g. last salary slip, current pension, unemployment benefit, unemployment benefit II, housing benefit notification, maintenance judgment, etc.)
    • In the case of newly entered unemployment, the letter of termination from the employer and proof of unemployment registration
    • Documents on existing assets (e.g. savings books)
    • Current account statements for the last 3 months
    • Policies for household, glass, liability, accident, life and death insurance
    • Proof of monthly expenses (electricity and utility bill)
    • Severely handicapped ID card, mother's passport
    • Dates and addresses of spouses and children
    • Proof of an application to the long-term care insurance fund, medical certificate stating the extent of the need for long-term care

3. Scope

Social assistance includes the following benefits (§ 8 SGB XII)

Social assistance also includes the advice and support required in each case.

3.1. Health insurance and co-payments

Social welfare recipients who are not insured receive the same benefits as "cash patients". More information under health assistance. Social assistance recipients are called upon to make co-payments within their limits.

3.2. Type of service

Social assistance benefits are provided as a service (in particular advice), cash benefits or benefits in kind. The cash benefit usually takes precedence over the benefit in kind, unless the benefit in kind is more effective or economical.

3.3. Priority outpatient over (partially) inpatient

As a rule, social assistance benefits are intended outpatient and as far as possible outside of homes. This only does not apply if suitable (partial) inpatient help is reasonable and outpatient help is associated with disproportionate additional costs.

4. Subordination and maintenance

The social assistance is opposite to all other social insurance carriers subordinate, i.e. social assistance occurs always only then if the person concerned cannot help himself or through his dependents (parents, children, spouse or life partner) and no other social insurance provider (such as health insurance, long-term care insurance, employers' liability insurance association, employment agency, youth welfare office and state youth welfare office, pension insurance). is responsible and provides services.

4.1. Maintenance obligation

In the course of its service for the person in need, the social welfare office clarifies whether their relatives are dependent on maintenance. A distinction is made between increased maintenance debtors, normal maintenance debtors and non-dependent people. More details under maintenance obligation.

4.2. Advance payment

The social welfare office makes advance payments if the payment of benefits from other social insurance providers is delayed. This is the case, for example, if an application for care benefits has been submitted to the care fund, the review process takes several weeks and care is already taking place.

5. Additional earnings

Social welfare recipients can keep 30% of their gainful employment for themselves, up to a maximum of € 223 (= 50% of standard requirement level 1). Here it is assumed that a social welfare recipient is employed for less than 3 hours per day, because if he or she is more efficient, he would be transferred to the benefit area of ​​SGB II. For details, see unemployment benefit II and social benefit.

6. Special regulations

6.1. For pregnant women and for childcare up to the age of 6

  • In the case of a pregnant woman who lives with her parents or one of the parents
  • a person who looks after their child up to the age of 6 and lives with their parents or one of the parents

remains the income and assets of the parent disregarded.

6.2. For trainees


6.3. For foreigners and Germans abroad

Foreign nationals residing in Germany are entitled to assistance with livelihood, assistance in the event of illness, including assistance with pregnancy, and assistance with care if they are in need (Section 23, Paragraph 1, Sentence 1, SGB XII). this applies Not for those entitled to benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act (see foreigners). In principle, they do not receive any social assistance benefits (Section 23 (2) SGB XII).

entitlement to all other services Foreigners in need of assistance with a settlement permit or a temporary residence permit receive social assistance if they are likely to stay in Germany permanently. Foreigners from the EU, the European Economic Area and Switzerland can also be entitled to social assistance benefits. There are a few exceptions to this, however. More information under EU> Residence - Work - Social benefits.

Foreign nationals who have entered the country to receive social assistance or who only have a right of residence to look for work, as well as their family members, are given no Social assistance (Section 23 (3) SGB XII).

Germans abroad usually received no Social assistance benefits (Sections 24, 132, 133 SGB XII).

7th practical tip

The brochure "Sozialhilfe" from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs can be ordered or downloaded free of charge at www.bmas.de> search term: "A207".

8. Who can help?

The local social welfare offices and the supra-local social welfare agencies are responsible. The supra-local agencies are usually responsible for assistance that is provided in facilities; the local social welfare offices in rural districts, large and independent cities for all other help. Municipalities do not provide social assistance, but can be used as the first point of contact and know how and where the contact persons can be reached.

A lot of advice centers provide information on questions of social welfare and related areas.

9. Overview of the services

The main benefits of statutory social assistance can be found under the following keywords:

Trainee social assistance

Funeral expenses social assistance

Help for the blind

Health aid

Basic security in old age and reduced earning capacity

Home care welfare

Budget continuation

Help in other situations

Aid for a living

Help to overcome particular social difficulties

Help with care

Health and long-term care insurance, social assistance

Medical assistance

Health allowance

Additional surcharges

Rental debts

Care allowance social assistance

Standard rates of social assistance

Repayment of social assistance


Pregnancy childbirth welfare

Social welfare> elderly care

Social assistance> old-age insurance

Social assistance> Income and wealth

Social assistance> One-off benefits

Social assistance> rent and heating


Electricity costs Electricity debts

Social assistance> pocket money

Preventive health aid

10. Related links

Basic security for job seekers

Basic security in old age and reduced earning capacity

Aid for a living

Unemployment benefit II and social benefit

Social welfare office

Basic account garnishment protection account


Source of law: SGB XII