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Apply for help with living costs

Is your disposable family income not sufficient for the necessary subsistence? Do you have no realisable assets and are not fit for work? Then you may be entitled to help with living costs (social assistance).

Note: If you are fit for work, you are entitled to a citizen's allowance under certain conditions.

Note: If you have reached the standard age limit or are at least 18 years old and are permanently fully incapacitated for work, you may be entitled to benefits from basic security in old age and in the event of reduced earning capacity.

The benefits of assistance for subsistence include:

  • the flat-rate standard rate to ensure subsistence, e.g. for food, clothing, personal hygiene. The amount depends on the number of persons living in the household (community of use) and their age.
  • Benefits for additional subsistence needs, e.g. for expectant mothers from the 13th week of pregnancy, single parents, disabled persons, nutrition-related additional needs as well as for a decentralised hot water supply
  • Benefits for accommodation and heating, as far as the costs are reasonable, if necessary also removal costs and rent deposits
  • other one-off benefits in kind or cash benefits or loans, e.g. initial equipment for newborns, initial housing facilities
  • Education and participation benefits for children and young people, e.g. school trips, personal school supplies, school tickets, school lunches, club fees, learning assistance
  • Contributions to health, long-term care and pension insurance

The flat-rate standard rate is graduated according to age groups and type of housing and will be as follows from 01.01.2023:

  • Level 1: 502.00 euros for each adult person living in a flat
  • Level 2: 451.00 Euros for each adult person living in a flat with a spouse or partner or living in a special form of housing for disabled persons
  • Level 3: 402,00 Euro for each adult person living in an institution
  • Level 4: 420,00 Euro for young people from the beginning of their 15th to the end of their 18th year of life
  • Level 5: 348,00 Euro for children from the beginning of their 7th to the end of their 14th year of life
  • Level 6: 318.00 Euros for children up to the age of 6

The Social Welfare Office takes the entire family income into account to determine the need for assistance. It takes into account, for example:

  • Maintenance payments
  • Pension income
  • Child benefit

Certain assets are considered to be exempt assets, such as small amounts of cash or an appropriate house property. These are not included in the calculation of benefits.

If the countable income is less than the assessed need, the Social Welfare Office will pay the difference.

You can also receive one-off benefits if you are able to ensure your current livelihood but cannot finance a one-off need.

Notice: As a rule, you will not receive benefits for past periods.


  • You are needy and unable to work.

You are in need of assistance if you are unable to cover your living expenses or the maintenance of your household completely from your own resources and strength.

You are incapable of working if you are unable to work at least three hours a day under the usual conditions of the general labour market for the foreseeable future. These are, for example, recipients of a pension due to a temporary reduction in earning capacity or people who are ill for a longer period of time.

Responsible department

the Social Welfare Office

Social welfare office is,

  • if you live in a city district: the city council
  • if you live in a district: the district administration office (Landratsamt)

Note: In some cases, the administrative districts have transferred responsibility to larger cities in their district area. If you live in a district, the district administration office or the municipal administration of your place of residence can tell you the competent authority.


You must inform the social welfare office of your need in writing or verbally.The best thing to do is to go to the authority with the required documents after making an appointment and fill out the application for assistance with living costs there during a counselling interview.

Depending on what your competent office offers, you can also submit the application online.

As soon as the competent authority has approved your application, it will transfer the money to your account at the beginning of the month.

Attention: If you do not have an account, you must open one as soon as possible, possibly a garnishment-free P account. As a rule, it is not possible to pay out cash cheques.

Note: You are obliged to inform the competent office immediately of any changes in your income and financial circumstances.



Required documents

  • Identity card or passport
  • Maternity passport
  • Proof of income, e.g. pensions, sickness benefit, child benefit, alimony, advance alimony payment
  • Proof of existing assets, e.g. savings deposits
  • Proof of expenses, e.g. tenancy agreement, rent receipts, heating costs, documents on insurance contributions

The competent authority may request current bank statements, divorce decrees, maintenance titles or other documents.






  • Objection
  • Complaint

Release note

18.10.2023; Sozialministerium Baden-Württemberg