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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure DE-2022-23/2220 – measures in Germany

Access to basic social assistance, students assistance, and health insurance for Ukrainian refugees

Grundsicherung, BAföG und Krankenversicherung für ukrainische Geflüchtete

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 June 2022
Context War in Ukraine
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Extensions of income support to workers not covered by any kind of protection scheme
Author Thilo Janssen (WSI)
Measure added 09 May 2022 (updated 27 February 2023)

Background information

In April 2022, the German government decided to provide Ukrainian refugees with the right to access the regular social assistance (SGB XII) and job seekers’ benefits (SGB II) schemes from 1 June 2022. This means that Ukrainian refugees do no longer have to rely on benefits under the more restricted Asylum Seekers Benefits Act as it is the case for other refugees coming to Germany. Ukrainian refugees will get access to regular social benefits under the same conditions as German nationals.

Content of measure

Ukrainian refugees who did not find a job on the labour market are eligible to access the regular social assistance (SGB XII) and job seekers’ benefits (SGB II) schemes in Germany. As for other German residents, the single point of contact for the Ukrainian refugees will be the job centres where they get access to benefits, integration and language courses, job offers, and support in organising childcare.

The condition for receiving SGB II and XII benefits is that the persons concerned have applied for a residence permit for temporary protection, have been entered in the central register of foreigners, and meet the general eligibility requirements for receiving social assistance or job seekers’ benefits under the same conditions as other residents in Germany.

Anyone participating in university studies or other eligible education and training programmes can receive benefits under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG), under the same conditions as other residents in Germany.

All Ukrainian refugees without the need for statutory social benefits have the right to join the statutory health insurance.

Use of measure

The German Federal Employment Agency reports that in August 2022 there were 545,591 Ukrainian citizens entitled to receive basic unemployment assistance (Arbeitslosengeld 2) in Germany, including those who had not yet fulfilled the 3 month qualifying period before receiving benefits.

According to the German Federal Employment Agency, the number of employable persons (GeP) with Ukrainian citizenship registered with job centres and employment agencies according to their employment status increased from 467,000 to 471,000 from December 2022 to January 2023 (February: 20,000). At the same time, the number of unemployed among these persons increased from 185,000 to 189,000 from December to January (February: 8,000).

In October 2022, the number of standard benefit recipients in the basic benefit system for jobseekers with Ukrainian citizenship was 650,000 (May: 17,000), the number of employable benefit recipients with Ukrainian citizenship was 432,000 (May: 15,000) and the number of non-employable benefit recipients was 218,000 (May: 2,000). The figure shown for October should be interpreted as the number of all Ukrainians whose application for basic security benefits had already been approved by the statistical cut-off date of 13 October 2022. The statement could then read: of the 438,000 persons of employable age with Ukrainian citizenship registered in October 432,000 received basic security benefits.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Does not apply to businesses Migrants or refugees

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A


No formal involvement.

Views and reactions

Both sides of the social partners support the measures in general, but emphasise practical issues like the need for additional staff and funds in job centres or the rising costs for the health insurance funds which will need additional compensation from national funds (Bundestag, 2022).



Eurofound (2022), Access to basic social assistance, students assistance, and health insurance for Ukrainian refugees, measure DE-2022-23/2220 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.