Wohngeld is a housing allowance in Germany for people with low incomes. To apply for Wohngeld, one needs to visit the local housing office and provide information about the amount of rent and household income. The amount of Wohngeld one can receive depends on the place of residence, the number of household members, and the upper limits that are set.
Who is eligible for Wohngeld?
According to §3 WoGG, almost everyone who has rented an apartment is eligible to apply for Wohngeld. However, students and pupils who have the potential to receive BAföG are initially excluded from Wohngeld, as BAföG already includes a housing allowance.
Requirements for Wohngeld for Students and Pupils
Students and pupils can receive Wohngeld if their education (school or university) is not eligible for BAföG funding. This applies to several cases such as exceeding the age limit at the beginning of studies (45 years), failure to provide proof of achievement after the 4th semester without deferral, exceeding the standard period of study without an accepted reason for extension, termination or change of studies after the 4th semester, part-time enrollment, leave of absence from studies (sabbatical semester), starting a second degree (e.g., a second bachelor’s), and studying in a non-state-recognized educationalinstitution. In all these cases, students and pupils may not be eligible for BAföG but can instead apply for Wohngeld. The negative BAföG decision serves as proof for the Wohngeld office.
Wohngeld and Income
Wohngeld is calculated for the entire household, which means that even if a student is receiving BAföG, they may still be eligible for Wohngeld if they live with family members or a partner who is not eligible for BAföG. In such cases, the entire household income is taken into account.
Household vs. Shared Living
Living together with roommates does not automatically make them a household. In a purely functional shared living arrangement, each occupant is considered a separate household. Thus, the Wohngeld claim is not automatically transferred from one person to another.
Income Limits for Wohngeld
Eligibility for Wohngeld depends on the household income, which must fall within certain limits that depend on the place of residence (rental level) and the number of household members. To find out the exact income limits, one can refer to the table of income limits.
Wohngeld Minimum Income
Unlike Hartz 4 or BAföG, Wohngeld requires proof of a certain minimum income, which is 80% of the Hartz 4 standard rate. If the income falls below this limit, Wohngeldwill be denied.
Heating Allowance for Wohngeld Recipients 2022
To combat rising energy costs, a one-time heating allowance of 270 euros for single households, 350 euros for couples, and 70 euros for each additional household member was decided for Wohngeld recipients in 2022. To be eligible for this heating allowance, the household must receive Wohngeld between 1st January 2022 and 31st December 2022. Applicants must submit a separate application form to receive this allowance, which is available on the Wohngeld authority’s website.
How to Apply for Wohngeld: Step-by-Step Guide
To apply for Wohngeld, one needs to follow these steps:
- Use the Wohngeld calculator to determine eligibility and the amount of Wohngeld one could receive.
- Download the application form and fill it out, providing all the required information and ensuring the documents are complete.
- Attach the required documents, such as rental contract or certificate, proof of income, proof of non-receipt of BAföG (if applicable), proof of health insurance, and proof of residence permit (for non-EU citizens).
- Submit the completed application form along with all the necessary documents to the responsible Wohngeld authority in the area.
- Wait for the decision, which can take several weeks or months, depending on the workload of the responsible office.
- If the application is approved, Wohngeld will be received as a monthly payment, usually transferred directly to the bank account.
Reapplication and Change of Circumstances
Wohngeld is usually granted for a period of 12 months. To continue receiving financial support, one must reapply for Wohngeld if the situation remains unchanged. It is recommended to submit the reapplication form at least two months before the end of the current Wohngeld period to ensure a smooth transition.
If there are significant changes in living situation or income during the Wohngeld period, one must inform the responsible Wohngeld office immediately. This includes events such as moving to a new apartment, a change in rent, a new job, or the loss of a job. Failure to report changes in circumstances and continuing to receive Wohngeld based on outdated information may result in repayment of the overpaid amount and legal consequences.
In summary, Wohngeld is a housing allowance in Germany for people with low incomes. Students and pupils who are not eligible for BAföG funding can apply for Wohngeld if they meet the requirements. The eligibility for Wohngeld depends on the household income falling within a certain limit, and the entire household income is taken into account. To apply for Wohngeld, one needs to follow certain steps and attach necessary documents. It is essential to report any significant changes in circumstances during the Wohngeldperiod to the responsible Wohngeld office immediately.