If I find I am struggling, where can I apply for social or financial support?
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Subsistence

As soon as you are granted a secure residence status by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), you are entitled to apply to the 'Jobcenter' for benefits to meet your living expenses in accordance with Book Two of the German Social Code (SGB II). These benefits may only be claimed if you have no money of your own and are unable to pay for your basic needs. Magdeburg Jobcenter is responsible for helping those who are able to work, but who cannot meet their own living costs or those of their family dependants.

The first time such an application is made in Magdeburg, the Social Welfare and Housing Office works together with the Jobcenter to provide support. You can find a flyer explaining more about this here.

Asylum seekers and ‘tolerated persons’ receive basic financial support in Germany. On the basis of the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act and in accordance with the Reception and Residence Act the Social Welfare and Housing Office provides a variety of benefits. This includes wide-ranging assistance which can be allocated on a case-by-case basis, and which is intended to ensure that the recipient can meet their essential living and housing costs.

For further information see Information sheet 'Financial support'

Otto City Card

Social welfare recipients or people on a very low income can apply for the Otto City Card at the Social Welfare and Housing Office or at a Bürgerbüro (citizens’ centre) in Magdeburg. It can be used for participation in cultural life, educational and advisory opportunities or lower fares on public transport:

  • Free energy advice from the Verbraucherzentrale (consumer advice centre), and a contribution towards the cost of crèches, after-school facilities and kindergartens
  • Reduced fees for courses at the Volkshochschule (adult education centre) and the Stadtbibliothek (municipal library)
  • Access to charitable institutions
  • Lower fares on local public transport operated by Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe (MVB)
  • Reduced entry to some of the city’s cultural institutions

Benefits of the Bildungs- und Teilhabepaket (BuT) (education and participation package) are also accessible via Otto City Card. The education and participation package is designed to encourage and support children and young people from low-income families. In addition to having their normal monthly requirements met, these children and young adults can also receive additional educational assistance and be helped to participate in the social and cultural life of the community.

Housing benefit

If you are in rented accommodation, you may be entitled to housing benefit. The purpose of this allowance is to ensure that you can afford reasonable accommodation which meets the needs of your family.

It is intended to help low-income households meet their living expenses. Whether payment of this benefit can be approved, how much it will be, and for how long it will be paid, depends on a variety of factors including the following:

  • the number of people counted as members of the household,
  • the level of total income,
  • the level of eligible rent and/or charges.

You will only receive housing benefit if you submit the appropriate application and can demonstrate that you meet the necessary criteria. Once completed, you can return your application directly to the Social Welfare and Housing Office. The application may also be submitted to one of the citizens’ offices of the City of Magdeburg. However, if you are applying for the first time, we recommend that you return the application to the Social Welfare and Housing Office in person. You will then be able to receive wide-ranging advice.

=> Information on sourcing furniture, clothing and household goods (Information sheet about 'Furniture, clothes and household items').