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What is a benefit community (Bedarfsgemeinschaft)?

Unlike benefits under the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act, the Jobcenter registers benefit communities in the legal scope of Social Code II.

Even though they are called benefit ‘communities’, it is not just several people, such as a mother and child, that are referred to as a benefit community, but also individual applicants.

The underlying idea of this official expression is that if several people live together, they take mutual responsibility for each other and share costs and funds. This is the reason why groups AND individuals are classified as benefit communities.

Benefit communities may be:

  • married couples who are not permanently separated,
  • registered same-sex civil partners who are not permanently separated,
  • persons in a relationship of mutual responsibility (cohabitation)
  • or the person making the application alone.

Children under the age of 25 are also part of a benefit community, of course, provided that they are unmarried, fit for employment and unable to cover their living expenses from their own income. A child’s income includes, for example, child benefit and maintenance payments.