Second book of the Social Security Code

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Basic data
Title: Second Book of the Social Code
- Basic Security for Jobseekers -
Short title: Second book of the Social Security Code
Abbreviation: SGB ​​II
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Social law
References : 860-2
Original version from: December 24, 2003
( Federal Law Gazette I pp. 2954, 2955 )
Entry into force on: January 1, 2005
New announcement from: May 13, 2011
( BGBl. 2011 I p. 850 ,
ber.p. 2094 )
Last change by: Art. 2 G of August 12, 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1879, 1884 )
Effective date of the
last change:
January 1, 2021
(Art. 8 G of August 12, 2020)
GESTA : G034
Weblink: Text of the law
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Second Book of the Social Security Code regulates the basic security for jobseekers and parts of the German employment promotion law in the Federal Republic of Germany .

SGB ​​II has been in force since January 1, 2005 and forms the essential part of the fourth law for modern services on the labor market, the latter being commonly referred to as the Hartz IV law .

New content regulation

SGB ​​II regulates the entitlement to benefits of employable people from the age of 15 up to reaching the standard retirement age as well as their parents, unmarried children and partners living in the household, insofar as they cannot support themselves from their own resources ( Section 7 SGB ​​II). The basic income support for jobseekers includes benefits for counseling, for ending or reducing the need for help, in particular through integration into training or work, and for securing livelihoods ( Section 1 (3) SGB II).

The main innovation is that, before it came into force, the unemployed received unlimited unemployment benefits in accordance with SGB ​​III , which was based on the amount of the previously received unemployment benefit . Unemployment benefit was replaced by unemployment benefit II . In principle, it is also granted indefinitely, but only in the amount of a lump-sum standard requirement ( Section 20 SGB ​​II), so-called additional requirements not covered by the standard requirement ( Section 21 SGB ​​II) and the reasonable need for accommodation and heating ( Section 22 SGB ​​II) . Unemployment benefit II has thus lost the character of a compensation payment. It only needs to secure the constitutionally required socio-cultural subsistence level .

The approval period is usually one year (unemployment benefit: up to 12 months). If a preliminary decision is made about the provision of cash or non-cash benefits, or if the expenses for accommodation and heating are inadequate, it should regularly be reduced to six months. The approval period is determined uniformly for all members of a community of needs ( Section 41 (3) SGB II).

Contents overview

  • Chapter 1: Encourage and challenge
  • Chapter 2: Eligibility Requirements
  • Chapter 3: Services
    • Section 1: Benefits for integration into work
    • Section 2: Benefits to secure a livelihood
      • Subsection 1: Entitlement to benefits
      • Subsection 2: Unemployment benefit II and social benefit
      • Subsection 3: Deviating service provision and other services
      • Subsection 4: Education and participation benefits
      • Subsection 5: Sanctions
      • Subsection 6: Obligations of Others
  • Chapter 4: Common rules for benefits
    • Section 1: Jurisdiction and Procedure
    • Section 2: Unified Decision
  • Chapter 5: Funding and Oversight
  • Chapter 6: Data collection, processing and use, responsibility under data protection law
  • Chapter 7: Statistics and Research
  • Chapter 8: Obligations to Cooperate
  • Chapter 9: Administrative fines
  • Chapter 10: Combating Abuse of Performance
  • Chapter 11: Transitional and Final Provisions


The Federal Employment Agency, on the one hand, and the rural districts and urban districts as municipal providers, on the other, are responsible for the benefits under SGB II . The sponsorship is legally defined for a specific catalog of tasks. The implementation responsibilities are set out in Art. 91e GG with the cooperation of the federal government, the federal states and the municipalities / municipal associations.

For the uniform implementation of the basic security for jobseekers, the agencies in the area of ​​each municipal agency form a joint facility called the job center . In addition, 69 municipal bodies (6 independent cities and 63 rural districts) were initially approved in place of the Federal Employment Agency as the sole agency for all tasks of SGB II in their area ( approved municipal bodies , optional municipality ). Since 2010 this number of approvals from municipal bodies has increased to a total of 108. These include the Recklinghausen district, the most populous district in Germany, as well as the Main-Kinzig district , whose former district administrator was the first to propose the model of sponsorship by option municipalities , as well as large cities such as Stuttgart, Essen and Wiesbaden.

Unemployment benefit II, social benefits and benefits for education and participation

Unemployment benefit II, social benefits and benefits for education and participation are tax-financed social benefits that are not based on the previous income of the jobseeker, but - following the example of social assistance - on the "material prerequisites for his physical existence and for a minimum of participation in social, cultural and political life are essential ”. Unemployment benefit II and social benefit include the standard needs, additional needs and the need for accommodation and heating. The standard requirement for single adults has been € 416 per month since January 1, 2018.

In the case of children, adolescents and young adults, needs for education and participation in social and cultural life in the community are taken into account separately.

Work opportunity with additional expense allowance

The instrument of non-profit additional work (GZA, § 19 BSHG) was taken over from the earlier Federal Social Welfare Act in SGB II, which is officially referred to as “ work opportunity with additional expense allowance ”, colloquially “one-euro job”. According to the legislature, unemployed people who cannot find work should be brought back to work and the labor market through such job opportunities .

Relationship to other services

The income and assets to be taken into account, maintenance claims under civil law and benefits from providers of other social benefits such as pension due to age from the age of 63 or housing benefit and child allowance under the Federal Child Benefit Act exclude the need for assistance according to SGB II ( § 9 , § 11 , § 12a SGB ​​II).

Elderly and permanently fully disabled people with habitual residence in Germany receive basic security in old age and with reduced earning capacity according to SGB ​​XII ( Section 5 (2) SGB II, Section 21 SGB ​​XII). SGB ​​II beneficiaries are only excluded from subsistence benefits according to the third chapter of SGB XII, i.e. §§ 27 ff. SGB XII, and not from the other benefits according to §§ 47 ff. SGB XII ( § 5 para . 1 sentence 1 SGB II). This is because these are provided completely independently of whether and which benefits the person in need receives for their livelihood. The most important in practice are integration assistance (Section 53 of Book XII of the Social Code), assistance with care (Section 61 of Book XII of the Social Code) and assistance to overcome particular social difficulties .

Benefits according to SGB II are generally excluded for vocational training allowances (BAB) or BAföG , but there are exceptions .


SGB ​​II was already controversial in the legislative process and still is after it came into force.

Although the overall unemployment rate has decreased since January 1, 2005, the proportion of long-term unemployed has not decreased.

Unemployment benefit II does not grant a decent subsistence level because the standard rate is too low, which can also be reduced by sanctions . The atypical employment relationships created at the same time as Agenda 2010 , especially in the low-wage sector , excluded employees from participating in society. Child poverty in benefit communities and future old-age poverty among benefit recipients are particularly clear signs of a lack of social justice and social division.

An alternative approach to the basic security concept of SGB II is the so-called unconditional basic income . It should be granted without a socio-administrative means test and should not require the recipient to be willing to work.


  • TuWas unemployment project (ed.): Guide to unemployment benefit II. Legal advice on SGB II. Volume 4, 6th edition (as of May 1, 2009), ISBN 978-3-940087-38-6 . 12th edition (as of August 1, 2016), ISBN 978-3-943787-57-3 .
  • Agency closure (ed.): Black Book Hartz IV: Social attack and resistance - an interim balance. Association A, Hamburg / Berlin 2006. ISBN 3-935936-51-6
  • Uwe Berlit : Changes to the sanctions law of SGB II as of April 1, 2011 , info also 02/2011, 53 ( PDF )
  • Roland Derksen: Basic security law - Hartz IV. The performance right of basic security for job seekers , 2013, ISBN 978-3-8442-6210-0
  • Andy Groth, Karl-Heinz Hohm: The case law of the BSG on SGB II (corresponding predecessor article in NJW 2010, 2321), NJW 32/2011, 2335
  • Andy Groth, Heiko Siebel-Huffmann: Das neue SGB II , NJW 16/2011, 1105
  • Karl-Heinz Hohm (Hrsg.): Community commentary on the Social Code Book Second (GK-SGB II), basic security for job seekers , edit. by Norbert Breunig et al. - Cologne (Wolters Kluwer, Luchterhand) loose leaf, ISBN 978-3-472-06976-8
  • Horst Marburger: SGB ​​II. Basic security for job seekers: detailed introduction to the second social code. With legal text and regulations. 9. new. Edition 2009, ISBN 3-8029-7481-6
  • Johannes Münder: SGB ​​II. Teaching and Practice Commentary , 4th edition, Baden-Baden 2011, Verlag Nomos, ISBN 978-3-8329-5429-1
  • TuWas unemployment project (Ed.): "SGB II. SGB III RBEG. Alg II-VO The current text edition" 4th edition Fachhochschulverlag 2011 ISBN 978-3-940087-73-7 . 7th edition (as of August 11, 2014) ISBN 978-3-943787-39-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. BVerfG, judgment of February 9, 2010 - 1 BvL 1/09
  2. BVerfG, judgment of February 9, 2010 - 1 BvL 1/09
  3. Peter Mrozynski : The relationship between SGB II and SGB XII without a year, accessed on June 15, 2019
  4. Federal Employment Agency : Ten years of Hartz IV - a balance sheet Press Info 51 from December 10, 2014
  5. Christian Rickens: Hartz reforms and long-term unemployed: The forgotten million Der Spiegel , January 1, 2015
  6. Poverty Congress: New Hartz IV world creates more illness Communication platform Esanum, July 6, 2016