Comprehensive Guide on What to Do if One Loses Their Job in Germany 

Arbeitsamt - Where to Go if I lose my job
Arbeitsamt – Where to Go if I lose my job

In Germany, losing one’s job can be an arduous and unclear time that raises many questions. Despite this setback, people in need can take hold of certain government provision programs provided by their comprehensive social security system. One such program is known as Arbeitslosengeld, or "Arbeitlosgeld" in German (also called ALG I). In this guide, we will discuss what Arbeitlosgeld is, how it works, and the steps to follow if one finds themselves unemployed in Germany.

What is Arbeitlosengeld?  

Arbeitslosengeld points to the unemployment benefits made available by the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) to individuals who have undergone job loss. These benefits have been designed to support affected persons financially while seeking new employment opportunities. Additionally, besides providing financial support, these programs come bundled with services and resources aimed at facilitating reintegration into the job market.  

Eligibility for Arbeitslosengeld 

To qualify for Arbeitslosengeld, a person needs to: 

  1.  Be insured: This requirement means that the person must be insured under Germany’s social security system –which usually means that those people who were employed and contributed for at least twelve months in the past two years. 
  2. Experience job loss: when you lose your job involuntarily due to either termination or an expired fixed-term contract. 
  3. Be Available for Work: One must be actively seeking employment and ready for work. 
  4. You have to register promptly with a local Employment agency after losing your job. 


Process of applying for Arbeitslosengeld 

Register as Unemployed

As soon as you lose your job, you must register as unemployed with your nearest employment agency. To ensure that your application is accepted when applying for Arbeitlosgeld, it is important to bring along all necessary documents such as your identification, employment contract, termination notice, and any other relevant paperwork. 

Submit the Application and Documents

Once your documents are completed, you can complete the Arbeitslosengeld application form which is available both online or at the employment agency. You must provide accurate, truthful and detailed information about your employment history, reasons for job loss and financial situation. Additionally, you may need to submit extra documentation like bank statements, tax records and proof of social security contributions when submitting the application.  

Attend Appointments 

A meeting with an employment agency will be scheduled after submitting your application. During this meeting, you will discuss your job prospects, create an action plan and explore potential job opportunities.  

Approval Notification

After processing your application, you will receive a notification regarding the approval or denial of your benefits. If approved, you will be informed about the amount of money and duration of benefits that have been granted.  

Rights and Responsibilities as a Recipient 

As a recipient of Arbeitslosengeld benefits it is important to understand both your rights and responsibilities. For instance, recipients have the right to financial support which covers unemployment periods as well as training programs to enhance their skills while searching for new jobs. The agency also offers support services to people such as counselling on matching jobs and referrals to potential employers.  

Also, it is important that individuals seeking benefits should accept reasonable job offers while actively searching for suitable employment opportunities too. You must ensure prompt communication with the agency at all times regarding any changes in personal or financial circumstances so that they can help appropriately such as if you find new employment or move to another city. 

Finally, it’s vital for you to know that you are allowed an appeals process should any issues arise during the claim processes reviewed.  But do try and take professional help, if you decide to go down this lane. You can use this website, to search and consult a lawyer. They are listed with their expertise, including the ones on Employment laws.

We kindly request that you cooperate with the employment agency by attending appointments, interviews, training programs, and any other activities required as part of your application. 

 It is vital, that you provide truthful and accurate information throughout the process to ensure a fair evaluation of your eligibility and benefits.  

Duration and Amount of Arbeitlosgeld

Arbeitslosengeld is calculated based on several factors, including your previous income and employment history. Here is a detailed explanation on how the amount of Arbeitslosengeld is determined:  

  1. Standard Duration: By default, Arbeitslosengeld is provided for a maximum period of 12 months, although circumstances may occur wherein this period can be extended. The specific duration will depend upon various contributing factors such as age, length of employment history and social security contributions. 
  2. Calculation of Income Replacement: Your previous net income usually determines the percentage output that determines what amount you will receive as Arbeitslosengeld. For those without children, the threshold rate stands at 60%. In contrast, if any children are dependent on you for support you will be entitled to 67%. It’s important to note that there is a maximum cap on how much Arbeitslosengeld one can claim even if their income was higher than usual. 
  3. Income Threshold: Asides from the replacement rate calculation mentioned above, there’s an income threshold earmarked to determine which range of amounts an individual can claim as Arbeitslosengeld This means if your previous earnings surpassed this stipulated threshold criteria then your benefits may be capped depending on various individually significant data such as marital status or the number of dependents..
  4. Additional Benefits: There are instances where individuals have supplemental coverage which enhances their benefits package that supplements their entitlement to Arbeitslosengeld. This may include assistance with health insurance contributions or housing expenses alongside child allowances. 


Before resigning from one’s job it is critical to remember that in many cases you cannot receive Arbeitslosengeld benefits after voluntarily quitting; however unique exception scenarios such as sexual harassment or hazardous working environments come into play. Consult your local employment agency office in order to receive specific counsel tailored towards your unique situation.

When offered a position yet rejected without valid reasoning may lead to reduction or suspension of Arbeitslosengeld benefits therefore making contact with your assigned agent prior would be wise advice.

In addition, it’s possible to get partial-Arbeitslosengeld benefits when working part-time however each case differs judicially so it’s essential you speak with an employment agency representative in order to gain intricate details pertaining uniquely to you. 

Although venturing into different job opportunities can prove beneficial; certain limitations do exist which take into account previous work experience and background checks of capabilities before factoring in how reasonably any said offered job is applicable per individual guidelines set in place by your employment agent.

For those aspiring towards self-employment, the “Gründungszuschuss” program outlines specific requirements to qualify and offers financial backing providing there is approval following a systematic evaluation.

Should an application for Arbeitslosengeld benefits be denied, you have the right to appeal against the decision. You can contact the agency to understand the reasons for the denial and the procedure to start the appeal process if required. It is recommended to seek professional help for the same to strengthen your case. You can search and find lawyers specialised in Employment laws and other on YourXpert.


Losing a job is often a hard and trying experience for most people, but fortunately, Germany’s social security system offers support in the form of Arbeitslosengeld during such times. By understanding what these benefits are, how one goes about applying for them, as well as their rights and duties as recipients thereof – navigating unemployment can prove to be an empowering exercise. Do take the opportunity and the guidance provided by the employment agency to not only find new employment but also to go through this rough phase confidently and competently.  

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