Social Code (Germany)

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SGB ​​VI in the edition of the German Pension Insurance (2009)

The German Social Code ( SGB ) is the codification of social law in the formal sense. After a long transition period, during which the work was gradually built up, the essential areas of what is now included in social law are regulated in the Social Security Code; Outside the SGB, those matters that have not yet been included in the Social Security Code remain for the time being. The so-called “social law” is also not covered, ie private law that is superimposed from a social point of view , such as social housing rental law or the social protection of employees .


The conception of the Social Security Code was planned in advance of the pension reform of 1957 and finally began after the change of government in 1969. The work of Hans F. Zacher was formative .

The aim of the Social Security Code is to combine numerous individual laws into a coherent body of law. Similar considerations for the creation of codifications of labor law ( Labor Code ) and later also of environmental law ( Environmental Code ) also go back in their motivation to this time, but were then dropped. The model was the Civil Code , from which the Social Security Code differs in that it is divided into individual parts ("books") within which the counting of the paragraphs starts from the beginning.

It was hoped that the consolidation of a large number of special laws in a uniform work would provide better access to the matter for both legal laypeople and those affected, as well as for experts. Even back then, social law appeared to be a barely manageable subject that even experts could hardly master. When classifying the Reichsversicherungsordnung (Reich Insurance Code ) and other special laws in force at that time in the SGB, the principle of “limited material reform” was originally the basis, according to which a new version of the norms in the sense of modernization was intended without making any further changes to the content. This was not done until the 1980s when the integration of statutory health insurance and statutory pension insurance led to some substantial reforms; only accident insurance was incorporated into the SGB in 1997 largely unchanged. The work was initially driven by an "Expert Commission for the Social Security Code", which worked at the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs under the chairmanship of State Secretary Walter Auerbach . After his death, the Vice President of the Federal Social Court Kurt Brackmann took over the chairmanship from 1975 .

The legislature has proceeded in stages and has passed the individual books of the Social Security Code individually and gradually. The first and the tenth book , as a general part and as a general regulation for the social administrative procedure , form the framework for all social law. The fourth book also contains regulations that apply to all social security . Thereafter, however, the legislature deviated from the original plan to regulate the entire social insurance in the fourth book and created separate books as special parts of the social security code for the individual branches of social insurance in SGB ​​V , VI , VII and XI . The classification of unemployment insurance as SGB ​​III before SGB ​​IV was then again in 1998 contrary to plan. In the course of the so-called Hartz reforms , SGB ​​II was placed before SGB III and social assistance in SGB ​​XII was set completely outside the original plan. The classification of child and youth welfare law in SGB ​​VIII took place in 1990. The rehabilitation of disabled people was included in the Social Security Code in 2001 in the form of the Ninth Book , which, as a result of the Federal Participation Act , will gradually come into force from December 31, 2016 until 2023. The classification of social compensation law into SGB ​​XIV is to begin in 2019 and be completed by 2022.


The Social Security Code contains regulations for the various branches of social insurance , which were previously codified in the Reich Insurance Code (RVO), as well as for those parts of social law that do not have the character of an insurance, but rather as benefits of state welfare or social assistance or support be financed from tax revenues.

The SGB is divided into a general part and, as of January 2019, eleven other books, each of which is only numbered with consecutive paragraphs and therefore are legally independent laws. Nevertheless, the Social Security Code forms a unit and must be interpreted and applied as a whole.

book title in force since content
SGB ​​I general part 1st January 1973 contains the basic program of the SGB as well as definition and procedural regulations
SGB ​​II Basic security for job seekers January 1, 2005 includes support for employable people over the age of 15 up to the standard retirement age of 65 or 67, as well as their relatives, if they do not have sufficient income
SGB ​​III Employment Promotion January 1, 1998 concerns the services of the Federal Employment Agency (BA): ( job placement and unemployment benefits )
SGB ​​IV Common rules for social security January 1, 1977 In addition to the law on the overall social security contribution and the definitions of basic social security terms, it primarily regulates the constitution of the social security institutions (organization, social security elections, budgetary and accounting)
SGB ​​V Statutory health insurance January 1, 1989 concerns the organization, compulsory insurance and services of the statutory health insurance companies as well as their legal relationships with other service providers (doctors, dentists, pharmacists, etc.).
SGB ​​VI Statutory pension insurance January 1, 1992 relates to the organization and services provided by the German Pension Insurance Fund (old age pensions, reduced earning capacity pensions and survivors' pensions; medical, professional and other rehabilitation benefits).
SGB ​​VII Statutory accident insurance January 1, 1997 concerns the organization, compulsory insurance and services of the commercial and agricultural professional associations as well as the accident insurance funds of the public sector for the insurance cases of occupational accidents, commuting accidents and occupational diseases.
SGB ​​VIII Child and Youth Services October 3, 1990
(new federal states)
January 1, 1991
(old federal states)
relates to offers and services provided by the public youth welfare agencies (especially youth welfare offices) to eligible or needy children and young people as well as their parents and young adults.
SGB ​​IX Rehabilitation and participation of disabled people July 1, 2001
January 1, 2018 (new version)
has the purpose of promoting self-determination and equal participation in life in society for people with disabilities and those at risk of disability, and of avoiding or counteracting discrimination.
SGB ​​X Social administration procedures and social data protection January 1, 1981
January 1, 1983
regulates the administrative procedure under social law, the protection of social data as well as the cooperation between social service providers and their legal relationships with third parties.
SGB ​​XI Social long-term care insurance January 1, 1995
SGB ​​XII social care January 1, 2005
SGB ​​XIV Social compensation Mostly

January 1, 2024

Inclusion of the social compensation law in the social code

According to press reports in January 2019, there should be no “Social Security Code XIII” - among other things because of the widespread assessment of the number 13 as an unlucky number ( triskaidekaphobia ) and because of the corresponding submissions by associations of those affected. This decision has been criticized as "consideration for superstition". One did not want to violate the " esotericism of individuals" by continuously numbering the law.

Special parts of the social code

As a special part of the Social Code shall apply to § 68 except the incorporated already into the Social Security Code parts of several special laws SGB I. These are to be classified in the Social Security Code in the long term:

law Regulatory area in force since
BAföG Education funding July 1, 1971
ALG Old-age insurance for farmers January 1, 1995
BVG War Victims Care October 1, 1950
SVG Soldiers supply April 1, 1956
OEG Victim compensation May 16, 1976
BKGG Child benefit January 1, 1996
WoGG Housing benefit 1st January 1971
AdVermiG Adoption mediation January 1, 1977
UVG Maintenance advance January 1, 1980
BEEG Parental Allowance and Parental Leave January 1, 2007
AltTZG Partial retirement August 1, 1996


The original legislative concept of making the entire social law in the Social Security Code more accessible to the legal layperson than in a large number of individual laws has been criticized by the literature from a legal sociological point of view. The layman recognizes the law anyway "not by reading legal codes, but by the legal practice that affects him or his environment, the information that his associations or associations or the authorities give him, etc." Also the breakdown of the social security code into " special parts ”, the paragraph counting of which starts over and over again, met with criticism in the legislative process. In practice this would mean that the administrators would not have a uniform and “comprehensive working basis”.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Eberhard Eichenhofer: Social law . 10th edition. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-16-155320-2 , Rn. 168-170 .
  2. a b Willy Brandt's government declaration, facsimile. In: 1000 documents. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, October 28, 1969, p. 39 , accessed on January 18, 2019 .
  3. Michael Stolleis: History of social law in Germany: a floor plan . Lucius and Lucius, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-8252-2426-0 , p. 308 f . ( [accessed on January 15, 2019]).
  4. Labor Code Commission, Federal Ministry for Labor and Social Affairs (ed.): Draft of a Labor Code. General employment contract law . Bonn. 1977.
  5. ^ Thilo Ramm (ed.): Drafts for a German employment contract law. With the Labor Code of the GDR from 1990 and the Austrian draft of a partial codification of labor law from 1960 . Keip. Frankfurt am Main 1992. ISBN 3-8051-0060-4
  6. ^ A b Siegfried Löffler: Social Code as "Columbus's Egg"? In: Social Progress . tape 241 , no. 11 , 1975, p. 246-247 , JSTOR : 24505902 .
  7. ^ A b Raimund Waltermann: Social law . 13th edition. Hüthig Jehle Rehm Publishing Group, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8114-4588-8 , Rn. 3-11, 6, 8 .
  8. ↑ Draft bill for a law regulating social compensation law , Federal Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection, as of November 20, 2018. Accessed on January 15, 2019.
  9. Superstitious - Federal Minister Heil wants to do without the number 13 , Augsburger Allgemeine, January 15, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  10. Stefan Schmitt: It won't be fourteen! Hubertus Heil avoids the 13. This stupidity is bigger than it seems . In: The time . No. 4 , January 17, 2019, p. 31 ( ).
  11. ^ Hans Meyer : Administrative procedure and social security code . In: ZRP . tape 12 , no. 5 , 1979, pp. 105-110, passim ., JSTOR : 23416690 .