Among the many ways in which the German government supports it’s residents, Wohngeld or Housing Allowance is one. It is a financial assistance to help you cope with housing costs. There are 2 kinds of allowance: rent subsidy (Mietzuschuss) for tenants of a living space and as a burden subsidy (Lastenzuschuss) for owners of a home.
Non EU foreigners are allowed to apply for Housing allowance too, if you fulfill the below criteria:
- You hold a valid residence permit
- You rent an apartment or a room, or you have bought a house or apartment and are registered at the same address
- Your household’s combined earnings do not exceed the income limits
- You do not receive any other benefits such as unemployment benefit II, Injury benefit, Cost-of-living assistance etc. (Find the full list here)
In addition, the amount you receive depends upon the below 3 main factors:
- Number of household members to consider
- Amount of total income of eligible household members
- Eligible rent or charge (for owners)
The income thresholds vary based on the rent bands (Mietstufe) you fall under, which in turn varies with the federal states and cities. You can check your rent band here. At a glance, the income requirement is as below:
You can calculate the amount you are entitled to by using the housing allowance calculator.
Housing allowance is granted only on application for a duration of 12 months, but can be longer or shorter. You need to apply for it at your municipality, city or district administration. For extension, you need to re-apply 2 months prior to the termination date. Documents required are as follows. However, depending upon individual cases, additional documents may need to be submitted.
- Completed application for housing benefit,
- Personal documents (identity card, passport or residence certificate – with confirmation of registration),
- Rental contract, last change of rent
- Rental receipt (account statement or proof of payment),
- Proof of income
- Proof of living costs (cold water bills, utility bills etc.)
Further details available at https://www.wohngeld.org/ .