Refugees from Ukraine who have a residence permit and are employed in Germany but cannot afford to pay their rent can get housing benefit. You can apply for housing benefit at the responsible authority in your area, such as the social benefits office (Sozialamt).
The amount of housing benefit is determined in each individual case and depends on the following factors:
- your income
- your rent
- the number of people living in the household and their income
If you receive housing benefit, you will receive financial assistance for heating costs based on the size of your household:
- 415 euros for a one-person household
- 540 euros for a two-person household
- 100 euros for each additional person
Your heating costs subsidy should have already been automatically credited to your account – all Länder have paid out the heating cost subsidy.
People who receive student grants (BAföG), a training allowance (Ausbildungsgeld) or a grant for advanced vocational training (Aufstiegsfortbildungförderung) receive a one-time payment of 345 euros. The heating costs subsidy for recipients of BAföG funds has been available since 5 April 2023.
Important: You are entitled to a heating costs subsidy if you received a housing allowance or BAföG funds for at least one month in the period between September and December 2022. If this is the case, the subsidy will be paid out to you automatically. However, if you only received a housing allowance or BAföG funds from 1 January 2023, you will not receive a subsidy.
If you have a certificate showing that you are entitled to subsidised housing (Wohnberechtigungsschein, WBS), you and your family are eligible to move into a social housing flat. Social housing flats are subsidised by the government, and the rent is usually lower than for other flats. Social housing flats are also called WBS flats.
Your local housing office (Wohnungsamt) can give you more information about subsidised housing for Ukrainian refugees. They can also tell you where to find social housing flats and housing with few or no barriers for people with a disability.
You can apply for a certificate showing that you are entitled to subsidised housing (Wohnberechtigungsschein, WBS) at your local housing office (Wohnungsamt). The certificate is valid for one year. The fees for issuing this certificate vary between 0 and 30 euros. In most cities and districts, you can download the application form from the local government website.
Overview of the responsible authorities (in German)
You can only receive a certificate entitling you to subsidised housing if your household income is below a certain level. This level depends on the federal state in which you live, because each federal state sets the level according to its own state law on the provision of affordable housing (Landeswohnraumförderungsgesetz, LWFoG).
The rules and income limits for a certificate showing that you are entitled to subsidised housing (Wohnberechtigungsschein, WBS) vary from federal state to federal state. Your annual household income cannot be more than the income limit in the federal state where you live. Household income means the income of everyone living in the household.
Information on income limits in the federal states (in German)
There are special conditions if you have a serious disability and/or are in need of care. This means that your income may be higher than the income limits.
For example, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, if the degree of disability is less than 80, your household income may exceed the income limit by 2,100 euros per year. This only applies if the person with a disability is cared for at home and requires care at grade 2 or 3.
It is best to ask your local housing office about the special conditions for people with a disability and/or people in need of care.
If you do not yet have a job and therefore no income of your own, or if you earn only a small amount and your income is currently not sufficient to cover your living costs, you are entitled to social benefits or Bürgergeld (citizen's income). Please see Social Benefits for more information.
As a joint project of LaruHelpsUkraine e.V. and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the Berlin advisory centre advises Ukrainian refugees on various issues such as services and offers of the job centre, the family payments section (Familienkasse) and the social welfare office. The consultations are offered in Ukrainian and Russian and can be carried out online or face-to-face. In addition to informative advisory offers, Ukrainian refugees also receive assistance in filling out applications and forms, making appointments (including medical), writing official letters or, on request, receive support when visiting the authorities.
Berlin advisory centre:
Am Treptower Park 14, 12435 Berlin (in the Treptow Park Center shopping centre)
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. (Closed during lunch from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.)