26 – Basic subsistence income for the elderly and for persons with reduced earning capacity

Fact sheet no. 26

Basic subsistence income is a benefit under the Social Security Code (SBG) XII for the elderly and permanently fully disabled persons who cannot afford their daily necessities from their income and personal assets.



Eligibility requirements


Eligible is anyone who is:

– 65 years of age or

– 18 years of age and are permanently fully disabled


The income and the assets of applicants and cohabiting spouses or partner must not exceed the amounts for needs and allowance referred to below.




  1. Standard rate in Berlin as of 01/01/2020

– For singles                                                                                            € 432.00

– For spouse or cohabiting partners, per person                        € 389.00

– For persons in an in-patient facility                                                      € 345.00


  1. Reasonable expenses for accommodation and heating

For persons in an in-patient facility, a pre-determined average amount will be calculated.


3    Premiums for health insurance and nursing care insurance


  1. Increased need for holders of a disabled pass with codes G or aG in the amount of:

– Head of household                                                                                 € 73.44

– Members of the household age 15 and older                                       € 58.65

– Spouse or partner                                                                                  € 66.13


  1. Increased need for dietary expenses

– Defined protein foods, whole foods                                                      € 43.20

– Dialysis diet, gluten-free food                                                               € 86.40


In individual cases, an increased need for dietary expenses in the amount of € 40.90 may be approved if, due to an illness, the BMI falls below 18.5 (underweight) and/or due there is an accelerated weight loss of more than 5% of the initial weight within the last three months.

(this excludes random weight loss by previously overweight persons)


  1. Increased need in accordance with § 30 para 7 (decentralized hot water production):
  • Singles € 9.94
  • Spouse or cohabiting partner, per person € 8.95
  • For persons in an in-patient facility € 7.94


In addition, as part of the basic subsistence income, there may be a claim for additional increased need during pregnancy, for single parents or when integration aid are being claimed.




The income and assets of cohabiting spouses or life partners as well as partners in a consensual union are considered in determining the amount of the basic subsistence income.


Basic pension is not considered income under the Federal Pension Act or similar benefits under the Federal Compensation Act. Deductions from income include, for example, taxes, social security payments and certain other insurance premiums.


Asset exemption amounts

single/head of household                                                       € 5,000.00

spouse, life partner or partners in a consensual union        € 5,000.00

each additional primary household earning person             € 500.00


Anyone who only receive benefits under the sixth (integration aid) or seventh chapter of SGB XII, this allowance may be raised to € 25,000.00 in certain circumstances.


Additional benefits

Claims can be made for one-time aid for initial furnishing of the home, clothing, school trips, rental or energy debt to secure the home, as well as for supplemental loans for necessary purchases of indisputable need.


Benefits in facilities


Benefits under basic subsistence income are also paid to persons living in facilities such as nursing homes. In addition to the costs for accommodation and food, you will also receive a cash allowance for personal use – a so-called “pocket money” amounting to € 116.64.


Home residents can also apply for a yearly flat-rate clothing allowance:

  • Care aid for bedridden patients                                                            € 129.00
  • Care aid for mobility € 214.00


Conditions of  basic subsistence income


Support claims against parents or children are exempt, provided that the total income of the individual paying support is less than €100,000.00 annually (taxable total income minus all allowances).

In the case of divorced or separated applicants, the potential for support claims must be clarified before a decision on basic subsistence income is made.


Basic subsistence income is only provided on application!

Basic subsistence income beneficiaries may apply for exemption from public radio and television fees and apply for the subsidized rates from Telekom. They are also entitled to the BVG Kundenkarte “Berlin Ticket S” (customer ticket Berlin S). With this you can purchase a low-cost monthly pass (current cost € 27.50).


Medical insurance co-payment expenditure limit


Standard rate:                      103.68 €

Chronic Illness:                      51.84 €