How much money will I receive as cost-of-living assistance?
If you apply for cost-of-living assistance, the social security office first determines how much money you need. This is also called the “determining needs”. Next, your income will be deducted from this amount.
The following calculation often applies to the amount of cost-of-living assistance: Needs minus income to be taken into account = benefit amount.
Needs can vary widely, depending on whether you live alone, with other people in a shared household, or in a residential facility. For the purpose of calculating cost-of-living assistance, the total needs allowance is broken down as follows:
- Basic needs allowance (“Regelbedarf”) – a monthly, flat-rate sum of money for everyday expenses such as food, clothing or the purchase of household appliances; the current basic rates can be found here
- Need for rent and heating
- Contributions to health insurance and long-term care insurance.
In addition, there may be so-called additional needs (“Mehrbedarf”) and one-off benefits.
What are additional needs?
In addition to the basic needs allowance, there is also the so-called additional needs allowance. The additional needs allowance can be applied for in special life situations and increases the total monthly needs allowance. This is the case, for example, if you are expecting a child, are a single parent, or if you have a physical limitation.
There are also one-off benefits. This includes, for example, to provide initial equipment for an apartment or for a child after birth.
Children and young people whose parents receive cost-of-living assistance can also receive additional benefits for education and participation. These include money for school needs (for example for writing materials, binders, etc.), for tutoring, school lunch, transport to school and reimbursement of costs for excursions and school trips.
Is it also possible to obtain a loan?
Yes, if you cannot pay for a particular need from your monthly basic rate. In this case, under certain conditions, you may be able to get a loan from the social security office. This is then paid back in small installments deducted from your monthly benefits.
If you only require assistance for a short time, cost-of-living assistance may also be provided as a loan. When your cost-of-living assistance ends, you must pay it back.