Why am I still unemployed?

Unemployment benefit: entitlement, amount, duration

Find out if you are eligible for unemployment benefit, how it is calculated, and what factors determine how long you will receive it.

This is how unemployment benefits work

Unemployment benefit is financed from unemployment insurance. That means: When it comes to unemployment benefits, it usually depends on whether and for how long you are insured in unemployment insurance were.

Unemployment insurance is one of the social insurances, as is, for example, the statutory pension insurance. As an employee, contributions for unemployment insurance are usually deducted - technical term: insurable employment.

Important: What you should do immediately if you are about to become unemployed: First steps in the event of imminent unemployment.

When you are entitled to unemployment benefit

The following conditions essentially apply to the entitlement to unemployment benefit:

  • You meet the Qualifying period. That usually means: You were in the 30 months before registering as unemployed Compulsory insurance for at least 12 months employed. Several jobs can be added together.
  • You have contacted your employment agency registered as unemployed.
  • You are unemployed, but you can work that is subject to compulsory insurance (at least 15 hours per week).
  • You are looking for a job that is subject to compulsory insurance and you are working with the Employment Agency.

Important: To find out how to apply for unemployment benefit, see the How to apply for unemployment benefit page.

Claim in special cases

In addition to the employment that is subject to compulsory insurance, there are other times that can be included in the entitlement to unemployment benefit. Examples:

  • You were voluntarily in unemployment insurance, for example while you were self-employed.
  • You raised a child (up to the age of 3).
  • You received sick pay.
  • You have done voluntary military service, federal voluntary service or youth voluntary service.

You were employed by an agency of the European Union and, at your request, payments were made to the German unemployment insurance. If you have any questions, please contact your European employer.

In these cases, too, you have to wait for at least 12 months come within 30 months before registering as unemployed (technical term: qualifying period).

Entitlement for temporary employment

If you were often employed on a fixed-term basis, a will apply under certain conditions shorter qualifying period: Then enough at least 6 months insurable employment in the 30 months before registering as unemployed. One of the requirements is that most jobs were limited to up to 14 weeks.

tip: This page gives you an initial overview of unemployment benefits. Further information can be obtained from the information sheet for the unemployed or from your employment agency.

How much unemployment benefits you get

This is how unemployment benefits are calculated (simplified):

The basis of the calculation is your gross wage (salary) for the past 12 months. This amount is divided by the number of days in a year, so 365. The result is yours Gross wages per day.

Wage tax, the solidarity surcharge and a lump sum for social security of 20 percent are deducted from this. (These deductions are for calculation purposes only and are not actually deducted.) The result is yours Net fee per day.

60 percent this net earnings are the amount that you receive as unemployment benefits per day. He rises to 67 percentif you or your spouse / partner have one or more children.

Use the unemployment benefit calculator

Calculate with that Self-calculation program, the unemployment benefit calculator of the Federal Employment Agency, the amount of the unemployment benefit individually. To do this, first select the year in which the claim arises or arose, for example 2020. The result is non-binding and only serves as a guide.

How long you will receive unemployment benefit

For which Duration You get unemployment benefits depends on 2 factors:

  • how long You were subject to compulsory insurance, for example in the form of compulsory employment, and
  • how old You are.

The periods that are subject to compulsory insurance must generally be within the past 5 years. Several times that are subject to compulsory insurance can be added together.

Period of benefit for the unemployed up to 50 years of age

If you are under 50 years of age, you can at most for that Duration of 12 months Receive unemployment benefit - provided that you have previously been subject to compulsory insurance for 24 months or more.

Another example: If you were required to have insurance for a minimum of 12 months, you can receive unemployment benefit for up to 6 months.

Period of benefit for unemployed people aged 50 and over

From the age of 50, the benefit period increases in several steps for up to 24 months at. This maximum benefit period applies to the unemployed who 58 years or older are. Prerequisite: You had to be insured for 48 months or more.

Period of benefit for fixed-term employment

If you qualify for the shorter qualifying period The following applies: if you have 8 months of compulsory insurance, for example, you can receive unemployment benefit for up to 4 months.

tip: For more detailed information on which deadlines apply to whom, please refer to the information sheet for the unemployed.

If you have worked in one of the following countries, the periods of your employment there can be taken into account:

  • European Union (EU) countries
  • Switzerland
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein

Most important prerequisite: After your return to Germany, you worked subject to social security contributions.

Example: You worked in Ireland for 2 years. You were then employed for 3 months in Germany subject to social security contributions before you registered as unemployed. Because Ireland takes 2 years into account, you are entitled to Unemployment Benefit (if all other conditions are met).

You can find further information in the information sheet Unemployment Benefit and Employment Abroad.

If you are looking for work in one of the following countries, you can continue to receive your German unemployment benefit there:

  • European Union (EU) countries
  • Switzerland
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein

The most important requirements are:

  • You are registered as unemployed in Germany.
  • You have German citizenship or one of the countries mentioned.
  • Before you leave the country, you have to keep a waiting period (at least 4 weeks).

You can receive your German unemployment benefit in these countries for a maximum of 3 months, possibly up to 6 months.

Please note that you submit an application before you leave the country at your German employment agency have to ask. Further information can be found in the information sheet Unemployment Benefit and Employment Abroad.

Unemployment benefit is an insurance benefit. If you cause the insured event willfully or if you do not contribute to ending your unemployment, a blocking period can occur: You will not receive unemployment benefit for a certain period of time. Unemployment benefits cannot be paid for up to 12 weeks.

A blocking period occurs, for example, if ...

  • You have terminated your employment relationship (self-resignation),
  • You have been terminated for behavioral reasons,
  • You have signed a termination agreement and, for example, have received severance pay,
  • You are given work, but you do not accept it,
  • You are not participating in a vocational integration measure,
  • You fail to provide evidence that you are looking for a new job,
  • You do not register early as a jobseeker.

A Blocking period does not occur if you have an important reason for your actions and provide evidence.

Example: You get married and quit your employment because you want to move to live with your partner in a distant city.

Good to know:Did something go wrong despite your best intentions? Please get in touch with your contact person at your employment agency. In most cases a solution can be found.

The Employment Agency can pay you an advance under the following conditions:

  • In principle, you are entitled to unemployment benefit.
  • However, it is not yet possible to make a final decision because, for example, not all of your documents are available yet.
  • It will probably take a long time before the employment agency can determine the actual amount of unemployment benefit.

As long as it is not finally clear whether you will receive unemployment benefit, there is another option: The Employment Agency can also do one preliminary decision meet and pay you unemployment benefits on this basis.

Your employment agency will usually check whether it can pay you an advance or make a preliminary decision. However, you can also apply for an advance with the application for unemployment benefit.

You have to repay advances if it later turns out that they were not due to you or that they were too high. This also applies to unemployment benefits that you received on the basis of a preliminary decision.