Wohngeld (Housing Benefit)

Wohngeld (housing allowance) is a subsidy for expenses relating to living space.

According to the Wohngeldgesetz §20.2, students are generally exempt from receiving Wohngeld when they qualify for BAföG. A subsidy for living space is generally included in BAföG.  

Students who are not exempt from receiving Wohngeld are typically students who do not qualify for BAföG.

For example

  • They exceed the maximum age limit
  • Termination of studies
  • Changing degree of study
  • Exceeding the maximum funding period without an accepted reason
  • No longer qualified because there is no proof of certificate of records
  • Not entitled to assistance in completing a degree (Studienabschlusshilfe)

Further requirements:

  • The living space for which Wohngeld is to be applied for must be a central point of the living situation, i.e. Establishing a household, marriage or partnership. 
  • The applicant must be either the renter or tenant of the accommodation which must be documented in a rental agreement in some form. They must live in the accommodation and pay rent themselves as well as have enough income to support both the monthly rent and living expenses.

Exempt from receiving Wohngeld are those who receive specific social benefits such as unemployment (Arbeitslosengeld II), social assistance (Sozialhilfe) or social benefits due to a reduction of earning capacity (Grundsicherungsleistungen bei Erwerbsminderung). The living expenses are already taken into account when receiving social benefits.

Students also are entitled to Wohngeld when

  • they live in the same household as someone who is exempt from receiving Wohngeld or
  • Married couples with only one partner is qualified to receive BAföG. The incorporated rental subsidy will be deducted
  • you live with a child in the same household
  • you take a semester off (Urlaubssemester) for pregnancy or parental leave for example
  • you receive BAföG only as a loan.

Important: Because Wohngeld is a social welfare benefit used for the assistance of ones living expenses, it is difficult for international students to apply for these benefits. In accordance to §2.3 of the Residence Act, receiving these benefits can hinder the chances of receiving an extension of ones residence permit.

The Wohngeld application "Angaben zur Miete" should be filled out at the department for Wohngeld at the Fachbereich Arbeit und Soziales in R 1, 12, 68161 Mannheim. Applications can also be found online and at the Citizens’ Service.

Wohngeld will only be granted from the month that the application is submitted and all documents are handed in.

The amount of Wohngeld is dependent

  • on the amount of the members of the household,
  • on income and,
  • on the amount of the rent

Parents who receive Wohngeld may also receive benefits for their children from Bildung und Teilhabe.