Unemployment benefit 1 – approval, receipt and blocking

Unemployment benefit 1 – entitlement and avoidance of blocking of this insurance benefit


Eligibility for unemployment benefit
Who gets unemployment benefit?

Duration of unemployment benefit
How long do you get unemployment benefit?

Unemployment benefit

What is unemployment benefit 1 and how does it differ from unemployment benefit 2??

If an employee becomes unemployed, he or she receives benefits from the unemployment insurance of the Federal Employment Agency, provided that he or she meets the requirements for this. The legal basis for unemployment benefits is contained in the Third Book of the Social Code (SGB III). Unemployment benefits are paid for older workers for up to two years, but the normal period is one year. The amount paid to the unemployed also varies; it is calculated on the basis of the employee’s gross earnings subject to contributions over a certain assessment period.

Unemployment benefit, also known colloquially as unemployment benefit 1, is paid to those affected for a limited period after becoming unemployed. This differs from unemployment benefit 2, better known as Hartz IV, which is paid for an indefinite period to jobseekers and those in work ("top-up") to enable them to cover their living expenses. There are periods in which the right to unemployment benefit is suspended, i.e. it is not paid. In certain cases, the period of entitlement may also be reduced.

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Eligibility for unemployment benefit

Who gets unemployment benefit?

In order to be entitled to unemployment benefits, a number of conditions must be met. The claimant receives it if he is unemployed, i.e. is not in an employment relationship, makes his own efforts to end his unemployment and makes his labor available to the employment agency. This means that the unemployed employee or the employee threatened with unemployment must register with the agency in good time.

A distinction must be made between the actual registration of unemployment, a prerequisite for entitlement, and the registration as a job seeker. The latter must be made by the employee within three days at the employment agency. If he fails to do so and cannot give a good reason, he will not receive benefits for the first seven days of the entitlement period.

In addition, a qualifying period must be fulfilled. The basic period is 360 days, during which the claimant was subject to compulsory insurance, whether as an employee or as a person doing military or civilian service, or as an employee on parental leave. There are exceptions in the case of incapacity for work and continued payment in the event of illness.

Amount of unemployment benefit

How much is the unemployment benefit?

The amount of unemployment benefit depends on numerous factors. This includes the payroll periods within the assessment period, the gross earnings subject to contributions up to the unemployment insurance contribution assessment limit earned during this period and the resulting assessment remuneration as well as the general or increased benefit rate.

The assessment period for unemployment benefits is usually one year and in special cases two years. According to SGB III § 150, a number of periods are not taken into account when calculating the assessment period. Gross wages earned during the assessment period are taken into account up to the amount of the contribution assessment ceiling.

Calculation of unemployment benefit

What percentage of the gross wage is unemployment benefit??

A flat-rate of 20 percent for social insurance as well as wage tax and the solidarity surcharge are deducted from the assessed remuneration thus determined in order to calculate the flat-rate benefit remuneration in euros per day. The benefit payment is multiplied by the benefit rate, i.e. generally by 60 percent or, in the case of an unemployed person who receives child benefit for a child, by 67 percent.

The daily unemployment benefit calculated in this way is multiplied by 30 to calculate the unemployment benefit per full calendar month, which is finally paid out monthly. There are numerous tools on the Internet, including those from the Federal Employment Agency, for calculating unemployment benefits yourself.

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Duration of unemployment benefit

How long does one receive unemployment benefit?

How long the insurance carrier, i.e. the Federal Employment Agency, pays unemployment benefits depends on how old the unemployed person is and how long he or she has been in employment subject to compulsory insurance in the last five years.

For those under 50 years of age or with less than 30 months of employment subject to compulsory insurance, the maximum period for unemployment benefits is twelve months. The shortest period of entitlement, after twelve months of compulsory insurance, is six months, increasing by one every two months until the maximum period is reached.

From the fiftieth year of life other rules apply. Anyone over the age of 50 who has been subject to compulsory insurance for at least twelve months is entitled to unemployment benefits for a total of 15 months. The period of entitlement is increased to 18 months for persons who are at least 55 years old and have been subject to compulsory insurance for at least 36 months. The maximum period of 24 months requires the unemployed person to be at least 58 years old and to have been subject to compulsory insurance for at least 48 months.

Suspension of unemployment benefits

When is the entitlement to unemployment benefits suspended?

Entitlement to unemployment benefits may be lost in whole or in part if the person actually entitled to benefits behaves in an uninsurable manner, if he/she receives other social benefits while receiving vacation pay or if he/she receives compensation for dismissal (severance pay) after agreeing to terminate his/her employment without observing the ordinary notice period.

If an unemployed person behaves in an uninsurable manner, his or her entitlement to unemployment benefits is suspended for the duration of the suspension period if he or she cannot prove an important reason for this, even though this lies within his or her sphere of influence. The period of entitlement is then reduced by the number of days of the blocking period, up to a quarter of the period of entitlement. Anyone who behaves in an uninsurable manner

  • caused his or her unemployment intentionally or through gross negligence,
  • does not accept an employment offered by the employment agency, does not take it up or prevents the initiation of the employment relationship by his conduct,
  • does not prove his own efforts,
  • refuses to take part in a measure to determine aptitude, vocational training or further training, participation in working life or a training measure, drops out or is excluded from the measure because of his or her behavior,
  • fails to comply with a request by the Employment Agency to report or to appear for a medical or psychological examination appointment,
  • has failed to comply with his or her obligation to register as a jobseeker due to late registration.

If an unemployed person receives other social benefits, such as wage replacement benefits due to illness, or similar payments, such as sickness benefit, maternity benefit, transitional benefit or injury benefit, a full, age-related reduction in earning capacity pension or a vocational training allowance, his/her entitlement to unemployment benefit is suspended.

The entitlement is also suspended during the period in which the unemployed person is receiving remuneration for work or vacation. The same applies to the receipt of a redundancy payment, i.e. if he/she has agreed to a severance agreement that was terminated without observing the employer’s ordinary notice period.

The entitlement to unemployment benefits expires completely if the unemployed person has caused a blocking period with a total duration of at least 21 weeks through his behavior.

Other things to know about unemployment benefits

Answers to frequently asked questions about unemployment benefits

Due to the progression proviso, the unemployment benefit, in contrast to unemployment benefit 2, must be declared in the tax return, although it is itself tax-free.

Social security
Recipients of unemployment benefits are compulsorily insured under the statutory pension, health, nursing care and, under certain circumstances, accident insurance schemes. The Federal Employment Agency pays the contributions incurred in the process.

The supplementary receipt of unemployment benefit 2 or housing allowance does not exclude the receipt of unemployment benefit.

Under certain circumstances, there is a parallel claim to unemployment benefits for the promotion of self-employment and the claiming of a start-up grant for setting up a business.

Period of entitlement in the case of further training
If the unemployed person is undergoing further training sponsored by the employment agency, he or she will receive unemployment benefits, but only half of these benefits will be deducted from the period of entitlement.

Additional earnings
Income from further education is not taken into account up to an amount of 400 euros. Income from a part-time job of less than 15 working hours per week is not taken into account up to the tax-free amount of € 165 per month.

Unemployment benefits can only be drawn if you are resident or ordinarily resident in Germany. Unemployed persons living near the border are an exception if they were previously employed in Germany and subject to compulsory insurance.

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