What are the basic necessities for a living

Aid for a living

1. The most important things in a nutshell

"Aid for a living" is what is commonly referred to as "social assistance". It covers basic needs such as nutrition, clothing and personal hygiene when the person seeking help does not have sufficient income or assets.

2. Requirements for assistance with subsistence

The "help for livelihood" is part of the social welfare and secures the elementary basic needs. Help is given to those who do not or insufficiently earn their livelihood from their own resources, e.g. through income and capital or with the help of others (e.g. spouse or partner).

Aid for living expenses must be requested from the social welfare office. In rare cases, the subsistence assistance has to be repaid (repayment of social assistance).

3. Extent of living assistance

The necessary Livelihood is compensated via the so-called standard rates and includes e.g. nutrition, clothing, personal care, household items, household energy and personal needs of daily life. More details under standard rates of social assistance.

It also provides assistance for living special services before that Not included in the rule set are:

4. Amount of living assistance

(§§ 28 ff. SGB XII)

The actually to be performed Aid for livelihood is calculated as follows:

The difference is paid out as a means of livelihood support. If income and assets are higher than the need, there is no entitlement to assistance with living expenses.

4.1. Practical tips

  • The presentation of this very complex topic is limited to general information. Individual and often case-dependent peculiarities cannot be described here. Questions should be clarified with the responsible clerk at the social welfare office.
  • You can find more information on assistance with livelihood and social assistance in general in the brochure "Social assistance and basic security in old age and with reduced earning capacity" from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, free download at www.bmas.de> search term: "A207".
  • Your livelihood security benefits may not be attached. You can find more information about the automatic seizure protection on your account under the seizure protection account.

5. Maintenance obligation

Before the social welfare office provides assistance, it is clarified whether related persons are obliged to support the person in need of assistance. A distinction is made between increased Maintenance debtors, normal Maintenance debtors and Not Dependents. Since January 1, 2020, children have only been asked to pay maintenance payments for their parents in nursing homes or parents for their adult children with disabilities if they have an annual gross income of more than € 100,000 feature.

More details under maintenance obligation.

6. Who can help?

The social welfare office provides individual information.

7. Related links

social care

Standard rates of social assistance

Social assistance> rent and heating

Additional surcharges

Social assistance> One-off benefits

Permit for subsidized housing


Sources of law: §§ 27 ff. SGB XII