During the asylum procedure

You apply for financial support during your stay at the Ankunftszentrum (arrival centre) in Rahlstedt, Bargkoppelstieg 10-14. In general you should be entitled to financial support as soon as you arrive in the Ankunftszentrum.

You register here and receive a proof of arrival (Ankunftsnachweis). From this date onwards (and even retroactively), you will receive financial support.

While receiving financial support, you must remain available at all times and always have your valid residence title with you when you visit the authorities. If you lose your proof of arrival (Ankunftsnachweis), your permission to remain while the asylum decision is pending (Aufenthaltsgestattung) or your temporary suspension of deportation (Duldung), contact the Ausländerbehörde (foreign nationals authority), at the Ankunftszentrum or at Hammer Straße 30-34. You can find further information on what to do when you lose your residence title or it expires here: https://we-inform.de/portal/en/asylum/

Accommodation and food
Your accommodation (Ankunftszentrum or later another initial reception centre (Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung)) will provide a package which contains bed linen, sanitary products and clothes, as well as breakfast, lunch and an evening meal. For special nutritional needs, please get in touch with the Sozialmanagement (social management team) at your accommodation. As a resident at an initial reception centre (Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung), you will also be given a HVV travel ticket (Mobilitätskarte) for all public transport in Hamburg. You will receive the travel ticket at the Ankunftszentrum at first, later you will receive new ones at the Ausländerbehörde, Hammer Straße 30-34.

Basic benefits (Grundleistungen) in the Ankunftszentrum and in an initial reception centre (Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung)
You will get your basic benefits (Grundleistungen) once a month. During the time that you stay in the Ankunftszentrum or another initial reception centre (Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung), you will receive  some of your basic benefits (Grundleistungen) (for example food and clothes) as non-cash benefits, the rest as cash benefits. The first point of contact for any questions regarding this is the Sozialmanagement at your accommodation.

As long as you are staying at the Ankunftszentrum, the Ausländerbehörde there is responsible for granting your benefits and sending you a written confirmation on the benefits you are entitled to (Leistungsbescheid). As soon as you stay in another initial reception centre (Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung), the Ausländerbehörde at Hammer Straße 30-34 is responsible for granting your benefits and sending you the written confirmation (Leistungsbescheid).

When you get an extension on your residence title you have to contact the competent Ausländerbehörde in order to get a new written confirmation (Leistungsbescheid) (and therefore continue to be entitled to benefits). Go to the Sozialmanagement in your accommodation to make an appointment.

You can ask your social management team for the address of your “Zahlstelle” or “Kasse” (pay desk) from your Sozialmanagement. You will always need to present your valid proof of arrival (Ankunftsnachweis), permission to remain while the asylum decision is pending (Aufenthaltsgestattung) or temporary suspension of deportation (Duldung) at the pay desk.

Bank account
When you open a bank account, you will be able to receive the benefits by transfer on your account. For this, you have to bring the confirmation on the opening of a bank account by the bank to the Sozialmanagement. Information on opening a bank account: https://we-inform.de/portal/en/banks/

Moving to a secondary accommodation (Folgeunterkunft) during the asylum procedure

If you move from the initial reception centre (Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung) to a secondary accommodation (Folgeunterkunft) or private apartment during the asylum procedure, you will mainly receive cash benefits. You will receive slightly more money, but will have to pay for more things yourself. You now receive your benefits from a different office.

You can find the address of the relevant office here: https://www.hamburg.de/behoerdenfinder/hamburg/11253346/  (or by searching for “Sozialhilfe, Leistungen für Asylbewerber”), then enter your new address and your last name. Contact them when you moved.

Greater need for benefits for urgent reasons

If you need higher benefits due to urgent reasons such as health issues, you can request those benefits at the competent office. You can ask the Sozialmanagement about who to contact. If necessary, ask an advice centre for help (see “legal advice” below).

Benefit cuts

In certain cases, e.g. if the BAMF accuses you of violating duties to collaborate, your benefits might be cut. In these cases, visit a legal advice centre.

Upon completion of the asylum procedure

Positive decision
Take the papers notifying you of the recognition of your refugee status (Bescheid zum Asylverfahren) to the Ausländerbehörde at Hammer Straße 30-34 as quickly as possible and ask for your asylum seeker benefits to be stopped. Due to the corona pandemic you should make an appointment by asking the Sozialmanagement in your accommodation. At the Ausländerbehörde, you also hand in your AOK health insurance card as well as your HVV travel ticket (Mobilitätskarte). From the beginning of the next month the Jobcenter (Jobcenter team.arbeit.hamburg, job centre) is responsible for providing you with benefits.

You can find the address of your local Jobcenter here: www.hamburg.de/behoerdenfinder/. Search for “Arbeitslosengeld II, für Personen über 25 Jahre” (if you are over 25) or “Arbeitslosengeld II, für Personen unter 25 Jahre” (if you are under 25) and then enter your address. You can also find all the offices here: https://team-arbeit-hamburg.de/standorte/. By clicking on the respective office, you can find out the phone numbers for this office or make an appointment online.

You will need the following documents for your registration:

  • the “Einstellungsbescheid” (order to stop benefits)
  • the papers from the BAMF (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees)  notifying you of the recognition of your refugee status (Bescheid zum Asylverfahren)
  • your permission to remain while the asylum decision is pending (Aufenthaltsgestattung) or your electronic residence permit (elektronische Aufenthaltserlaubnis, eAT)

You will receive help filling in the application form to receive unemployment benefits (Arbeitslosengeld II). During this process, you must also choose a new health insurance scheme. Maternity/paternity pay (Elterngeld) and child benefits (Kindergeld) must be applied for separately. Further information on this: https://we-inform.de/portal/en/family/

If you would like to, you can bring somebody who translates for you to your Jobcenter appointment. The Jobcenter employees can also call a hotline to help with translation.

Application for asylum is declined

You continue to be entitled to the same amount of monthly benefits (Grundleistungen) until your voluntary departure or deportation. It is possible that at some point your benefits will be cut. If this happens, visit a legal advice centre.

In some cases, a starting allowance may be awarded to help with the costs of returning to your home country. For advice on this you can go to the Flüchtlingszentrum (Adenauerallee 10, please make an appointment: info@fz-hh.de, +49 40 2840790, Monday and Friday: 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm, Tuesday and Thursday: 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm, Wednesday: 2 pm to 5 pm, www.fz-hh.de).

Further benefits for children


From the beginning of your pregnancy and especially after the birth you are entitled to various benefits. You will receive those benefits partly as non-cash benefits (e.g. coupons for clothes) and as cash benefits. To request those benefits, contact the competent office of the Ausländerbehörde or the Grundsicherungsamt (Fachamt für Grundsicherung und Soziales, Office for needs-based pension supplement in old age and in the event of reduced earning capacity and for social affairs). You can ask the Sozialmanagement about who to contact. Before birth you should bring your pregnancy record booklet (Mutterpass)  from your doctor with you. For advice, you can also go to the advice centres listed here at „Pregnancy and mothers“: https://we-inform.de/portal/en/family/

Computer/Laptops for pupils

Pupils under the age of 25 can receive money in order to buy a computer or laptop and accessories starting at 01/01/2021.

First the pupils have to ask for a computer or laptop at the school. If this is not available, you will have an additional need (“Mehrbedarf”) and will therefore be financially supported. This is possible for tablets, laptops or computers as well as accessories and a printer for up to 350 €. Contact the Jobcenter or the competent Grundsicherungsamt.

For instance, you can find cheap computers in the IT community stores (IT-Sozialkaufhäuser): https://we-inform.de/portal/en/shopping/

Legal advice

For legal questions about your entitlement to benefits, if you wish to protest any rulings or if a payment is faulty and the competent agency will not help you, please contact:

Öffentliche Rechtsauskunft (ÖRA)
Dammtorstraße 14, please make an appointment: +49 40 428433072 (Monday to Friday 8 am to 2 pm), www.hamburg.de/oera/

For further information, legal advice may be recommended to you there. You can also consult any lawyer directly. However, this will usually result in higher costs.

Last Updated: 12.01.2022