Housing benefit

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New housing benefit reform 

Since January 2020 a new housing benefit reform has come into form. This means that more people are entitled to housing benefit. In addition to the housing benefit rates, the maximum rent rates have also increased. Students who are basically not entitled to Bafög can apply for housing allowance. Housing allowance is a state subsidy for rent that does not have to be paid back. The condition is that you can cover the costs of your own living and only part of the rent is missing. If housing benefit is applied for, it must therefore be proven that one has at least regular income in the amount of a little more than the need for basic security according to SGB II (currently this is 432 euros plus costs for health/nursing care insurance plus a share of the monthly rent). Conversely, of course, one should not have too much income or assets of one's own.

Please note: The housing allowance is a social benefit. Foreign students who are not entitled to social benefits on the basis of their residence permit (§16 Residence Act) are not allowed to apply for housing benefit!

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In Germany, housing benefits are not usually granted to students as they have the possibility to get BAföG. Thereby, it is irrelevant whether a student has applied for BAföG or not or whether BAföG is being paid or not.

However, the housing allowance is only excluded if all family members of a household are entitled to BAföG. If only one family member is not studying, there may be an entitlement to housing benefit.

Student parents with a common child are not entitled to housing benefits themselves, as they are entitled to BAföG as student partens. However, the entire family household is still entitled to housing benefit, since the child is not studying and therefore cannot apply for BAföG.

In the following cases students can apply for housing allowance despite the above-mentioned reasons for exclusion:

  • If a study programme does not qualify for BAföG

  • If foreign students do not qualify for BAföG

  • If students are too old for BAföG

  • If students cancel or change course of study without reason

  • If conditions for funding further education are not available.

  • If length of study exceeds the permitted period of BAföG.

  • If the training was not carried out within the geographical restrictions of BAföG (outside of German boarders)

Students that receive BAföG but find that it is not enough to cover rent, can apply for rent subsidy.

Legitimate students that live in Freiburg can apply for Housing Benefits at the ‘Amt für Liegenschaften und Wohnungswesen’ (Housing and Residence Office).

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