Integration of the self-employed; applying for benefits

If you receive Citizen's Allowance and would like to become self-employed or are already self-employed, your Jobcenter can support you with necessary purchases of material goods and with free advice and training.



The following requirements must be met in order to receive the benefits:

  • You receive citizen's allowance
  • You want to become self-employed or are already self-employed, which means
    • You work in your own name and for your own account and
    • You bear the economic risk of your activity, the so-called entrepreneurial risk.
  • Self-employment must be your main occupation, which means
    • You work at least 15 hours a week on a self-employed basis and
    • You can cover all or a significant part of your living expenses within a reasonable period of time with the income you generate.
  • You must be personally qualified to work successfully as a self-employed person. To do this, you must prove that you have the knowledge and skills you need for self-employment, for example through
    • Proof of your professional and entrepreneurial qualifications,
    • professional experience or
    • participation in measures that prepare you for setting up your own business.
  • Your self-employed activity must be economically viable, which means
    • Your business model must be developed and thought through in such a way that your business start-up can be successful in the long term
      • The viability of your self-employed activity must be proven by an expert opinion. Expert bodies can be chambers, trade associations or start-up initiatives. Your Jobcenter will tell you which expert body is responsible for you in your region. You will usually have to submit detailed documents to them.
  • The material goods you wish to purchase must be appropriate and necessary for your work.
  • Other sources of funding are ruled out, for example special federal and state programs, local business development or microloans.
  • The funding must comply with EU state aid law, the de minimis rule.


You must apply for funding before you can receive financial support for purchases or make use of the advisory services.

  • To do this, first make an appointment with your local Jobcenter.
  • Your integration specialist will discuss with you whether self-employment could be a realistic strategy for you to integrate into the labor market and end your need for assistance and what type of support is suitable for you.
  • Loans and grants for the purchase of material goods:
    • Your integration specialist will hand you the application form or activate the online application route for you. It is important that you submit the application - online or in writing - for the grant before you purchase the material goods.
    • The Jobcenter will check your application and the enclosed documents.
    • The Jobcenter will assess your personal suitability for the specific self-employed activity and the economic viability of your business. This includes a forecast of whether you will be able to earn a living from your self-employment within a reasonable period of time.
    • You will receive written or digital notification from the relevant job center as to whether your application will be approved.
    • Once you have received positive feedback, you can make the purchases.
    • You must then submit proof of what you have spent the funds on, such as purchase contracts
    • for example, purchase contracts, receipts or bank statements.
  • Advice and training to impart knowledge and skills:
    • Your Jobcenter commissions the consultations and training courses from external education providers. You can find out more from your Jobcenter.


Objection period: 1 month

Processing time

Once you have submitted your documents in full, it usually takes around 4 weeks to review and decide on the application and issue the decision. (4 weeks)

Required documents

  • Required Documents

    In order to receive funding, you must submit the relevant documents. Your integration specialist will inform you which of the following documents are required for the funding you have applied for:

    • Expert opinion confirming that your self-employed activity is economically viable
    • De minimis declaration in accordance with European Union (EU) state aid law
    • Capital requirement and financing plan
    • Business plan in text form
    • curriculum vitae
    • Tax registration, business registration or registration with the Chamber of Skilled Crafts
    • Certificate of participation in a start-up seminar
    • Quotations for investments required for operations
    • Contract documents such as articles of association or rental agreement, if applicable
    • At least 2 rejections from banks to which you have submitted loan applications
    • Other individual documents that the job center may request



  • Fee: none


  • Objection
  • Action before the social court


Responsible for editing:Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales

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