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Unemployment benefit in Germany: How much money can you get?

Unemployment benefit in Germany
Unemployment benefit in Germany

The prospect of losing one’s job frequently introduces anxiety about financial stability among employees. Presently, more than 2.5 million individuals are without employment in Germany. Unemployed individuals typically have access to the “ALG 1” (unemployment benefit) to sustain themselves while searching for new employment. A parallel situation exists for Polish workers employed in Germany. However, it’s crucial to understand the legal regulations surrounding unemployment benefits. Who qualifies for these benefits, and what is the duration of eligibility? Additionally, when is the unemployment benefit in Germany 2024?

Unemployment benefit in Germany in 2024

Arbeitslosengeld I (ALG 1) is a financial support provided to employees who meet specific criteria after losing their job. This benefit aims to safeguard their financial well-being for a defined duration. It’s important to differentiate ALG 1 from “ALG 2” or “Bürgergeld,” which is the widely recognized citizen’s income introduced as a replacement for Hartz IV.
Read also: Important Information About Termination of Employment Contracts in Germany

Who is eligible for unemployment benefit in Germany?

Individuals eligible for Arbeitslosengeld I (ALG I) are those who have been employed in Germany for a minimum of 12 months and have contributed to social security through unemployment insurance (die Arbeitslosenversicherung) during that period.
Read also: How to find a job in Germany without knowing the language

To receive unemployment benefit ALG 1, you must meet certain requirements. These are:

  • If you have paid your insurance premiums for a total of twelve months, your unemployment benefit will be paid for six months .
  • With a 24-month period, ALG 1 will be paid for twelve months.
  • If an employee is over 50 years old and has paid insurance contributions for 30 months, he or she is entitled to unemployment benefits for a period of 15 months.
  • People who have paid benefit for 36 months and are over 55 years of age can receive unemployment benefit for 18 months.
  • Workers under 50 receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of one year, even if they have paid unemployment insurance contributions for more than 24 months.
The unemployment benefit payment is subject to tax
The unemployment benefit payment is subject to tax

How long is unemployment benefit in Germany?

The calculation of unemployment benefit is based on the employee’s average net earnings during the 12 months preceding the job loss, known as the settlement period. For individuals without children, the benefit is set at 60% of the previous average salary, while those with dependent children receive 67%. There is a maximum limit on the daily wage, determined by the unemployment insurance contribution limit. In 2024, this limit is 251.67 euros per day in the western federal states and 248.33 euros in the eastern federal states.

The unemployment benefit payment is subject to both tax and National Insurance contributions, similar to regular wages. These deductions are automatically withheld by the Labor Office before transferring the net amount to the unemployed individual’s bank account at the end of each month. If you wish to determine the specific amount of unemployment benefits you are eligible to receive, you can use an online calculator available for this purpose.
Read also: New support programs for German residents in 2024

When is unemployment benefit paid?

Unemployment benefit is consistently disbursed through a bank transfer to a current account, specifically on the first day of each month. It is important to note that the payment is made retroactively, meaning the unemployment benefit for January, for instance, is deposited on February 1st. In the event that the first day of the month falls on a holiday, the payment is appropriately deferred. However, for individuals without a current account, alternative arrangements are available.

In the event that you do not possess a personal current account or if your current account is inaccessible, there is an alternative option for receiving unemployment benefits. You can opt for a cash payment in the form of a “settlement payment order” available for a flat-rate fee of a few euros. This service is facilitated at Postbank and Deutsche Post payment offices.

Unemployment payment dates in 2024

Unemployment benefit for a given
month in 2024
Unemployment benefit payment deadline in 2024
January 2024Thursday, February 1, 2024
February 2024Friday, March 1, 2024
March 2024Monday, April 1, 2024
April 2024Thursday, May 2, 2024
May 2024Monday, June 3, 2024
June 2024Monday, July 1, 2024
July 2024Thursday, August 1, 2024
August 2024Monday, September 2, 2024
September 2024Wednesday, October 2, 2024
October 2024Month, November 3, 2024
November 2024Monday, December 2, 2024
December 2024Thursday, January 2, 2025