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Rent subsidy from the state: housing benefit: who is entitled – with a calculator

In order to calculate the housing benefit, the income is important, as well as the number of household members and the rent. Household members include spouses, registered civil partners, unmarried partners, children, relatives up to the third degree, foster children and foster parents. If separated spouses look after children equally, they count as household members for both. This also applies to a supervisory ratio of one third to two thirds.

Housing benefit calculator helps with the calculation

How much housing benefit am I likely to be entitled to? The housing benefit calculator answers this question in just a few steps. It offers a good orientation value, the specific amount can only be calculated by the housing benefit office. Data such as gross rent, place of residence, number of household members, income, possible deductions, living in the household with severe disabilities or those in need of care, is the head of household a single parent, are there maintenance obligations, do the children receive maintenance from the ex-partner. There is also a heating subsidy. All of this goes into the calculation.

The computer cannot map every special case. It is also possible that the housing benefit office comes to completely different conclusions because the information was incomplete or incorrect. On the homepage of the Federal Ministry of the Interior there are tables from which one can read the possible housing benefit depending on the income and the rent to be taken into account for one to six household members.

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This is how income is calculated

Actual income is not simply used for the calculation. Income is calculated as follows: the annual incomes of all household members are added up and divided by twelve. There are deductions for so-called advertising costs. These include costs for travel between home and work, contributions to professional associations, expenses for work equipment and additional expenses for running two households. A lump sum of 1,000 euros can be deducted, for pensioners 102 euros. Childcare costs can also be deducted up to a maximum of 4,000 euros per calendar year and child.

Tax and social security contributions are then deducted at a lump sum from the income from employment or income from freelance work, business operations or agricultural and forestry operations:

  • 30 percent is the flat rate for those who pay taxes and contributions for health, nursing care and pension insurance,
  • 20 percent for those who pay health, nursing care and pension insurance,
  • 10 percent for those who only pay health and long-term care insurance contributions.

The deductions also apply to voluntary contributions to health and pension insurance and life insurance.

What else is deducted from income

After deducting the lump sum, there is also an allowance of 1,800 euros per year for people who are 100 percent severely disabled or in need of care and who live in the household. Single parents can claim an allowance of 1,320 euros per year if they live alone with their children and at least one child is under 18. There is also an allowance of a maximum of 100 euros per month for children under the age of 25 who live in the household and have their own income. Maintenance payments for children or ex-spouses living elsewhere are also deductible up to 3,000 or 6,000 euros per year. Up to 6,540 euros are deducted annually if a household member in need of care spends the maintenance they receive from their relatives on a caregiver.

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Which does not count towards income

An amount of up to 480 euros per year for regular monetary and material donations from non-profit organizations and private individuals is exempt from deduction. Child benefit, child allowance and the minimum amount for parental benefit (300 euros) do not count towards income. It does not make sense to hide part of the income or transfer payments, because the data are compared with those of other authorities.

Income limits and asset limits for housing benefit

Anyone wishing to apply for housing benefit must not fall below a certain income limit. Because the housing benefit should be used expressly as a subsidy for housing and not cover other living costs. In that case, social benefits would be more appropriate. The minimum income is the Hartz IV standard rate plus possible additional needs, for example for pregnant women, the sick or single parents, as well as the respective warm rent. Sometimes 80 percent of this sum is accepted.

Households with too high an income are also not entitled to housing benefit. The maximum limit depends on the rental level of the place of residence. The higher the rental level, the higher the income may be and the higher the eligible rent. The income to be taken into account is calculated specifically for the housing benefit application (see above). If you want to know whether you are entitled to the subsidy, enter your data in our housing benefit calculator.

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Assets are also taken into account: there is no entitlement if the assets of a single person exceed 60,000 euros; if there are several household members, there is an additional allowance of 30,000 euros per person. Wealth includes cash, account balances, savings, valuable collections, stocks, real estate, and investments.

Examples of housing benefit calculation

Example A A retiree from Dortmund (rent level III) receives a monthly gross pension of 860 euros. From this he deducts the flat rate for advertising costs (8.50 euros per month). He doesn’t pay taxes, but health and nursing care insurance and therefore deducts the 10 percent flat rate (85.15 euros per month). His calculated income is then 766.35 euros. The gross cold rent to be taken into account is 400 euros. It is therefore within the maximum amount (438 euros). The full 400 euros will be credited. One person lives in the household. 14.40 euros heating cost subsidy are added. The housing benefit office calculates that the pensioner is entitled to 157 euros in housing benefit.

Example B A single mother with two children (9 and 13 years old) from Rostock (rent level IV) earns 1,280 euros per month. From this she deducts the advertising fee (83.33 euros per month). She doesn’t pay taxes, but health and nursing care insurance and pension insurance and therefore deducts the 20 percent flat rate (239.33 euros per month). She adds the monthly maintenance advance for the two children (272 euros and 202 euros) and deducts the single-parent allowance (110 euros per month) from it. Your calculated income is therefore EUR 1,321.34. She pays 625 euros rent. This is within the maximum amount (708 euros). The full 625 euros will be credited. Three people live in the household. 22.20 euros heating cost subsidy are added. The housing benefit office calculates that you are entitled to 240 euros in housing benefit.

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