Rights to benefits

*** Checked and updated on 16 February 2023 ***
*** Now includes links to information for post Brexit arrivals ***

Covered by the Withdrawal Agreement

If you are a UK citizen living in Germany and covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, you have rights to benefits in Germany in the same way as  EU and German citizens.

If you are applying for benefits or if there is any confusion about your rights, information from the relevant German ministries may help.

Information on benefits related to children and parenthood
Information on benefits related to unemployment

The Bundesagentur für Arbeit has also published an official ‘Weisung’ (directive) which includes information about rights to benefits for UK citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
“Britische Staatsangehörige, ihre Familiengehörigen und nahestehende Personen, deren aufenthaltsrechtliche Stellung sich aus dem Austrittsabkommen sowie dem FreizügG/EU ableitet, haben grundsätzlich einen gleichen aufenthaltsrechtlichen Status wie EU-Bürger, so dass ein Zugang zu den Leistungen nach dem SGB II entsprechend zu klären ist (vgl. §16 Absatz 5 FreizügG/EU).”

Is my right to benefits ‘automatic’?

No. There are conditions for receiving each benefit which also apply to German and EU citizens. So an application for benefit will depend on whether your specific situation meets the conditions for that benefit.

What if I am applying for work?

UK citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement keep their rights to work in Germany. For more information and links look at this previous post about Working in Germany

Arrival after December 2020

For UK citizens who arrived in Germany from 1 January, 2021, the regulations for third country citizens apply.

  • Firstly, if you want to come to Germany from a third country, you need a visa / residence permit. For more information see our article Arrivals after December 2020.

Once you are established in Germany, your rights to benefits are then the same as those available to other third country citizens.

Summary information and links:  Family benefits before and after Brexit.

Parental allowance, child allowance and maternity advance
(Elterngeld, Kindergeld, Unterhaltsvorschuss)

You can find out which family benefits third country nationals can receive under parental allowance , child allowance  and maintenance advance. Your benefits rights will depend in part on the type of residence permit / visa that you hold.

Maternity benefits (Mutterschaftsleistungen)

Maternity benefits are in general available to third country nationals. Exact entitlement depends in part on your work, financial and heath insurance status. Overall information:  maternity benefits.  You should also contact your health insurance company for more information.

Note that some information is available in English, but the above links are to German-language version as this tends to be more complete.

British in Germany e.V.  is solely run by volunteers giving their time and support to the organisation for free.   We’d welcome your support and/or membership for a mere 15 Euros a year. You can find more information here. 

Main image Steve Buissinne at pixabay