The LIFE Initiative provides support with bureaucratic problems related to social benefits, unemployment, and the Job Center. We help free of charge with the following topics among others:
- Help with communication with the job center or Sozialamt (social welfare office)
- Applying for unemployment benefit, housing benefit, basic income support, social assistance or asylum seeker benefits
- Application for a work permit, notification of change to the authorities
- Assistance in finding a lawyer (e.g. to appeal against a rejected application)
Our volunteers support you with individual online counselling. You can contact us through the following channels. We will reply within 48 hours.
Where and how can I apply for social benefits?
People who are unemployed can usually apply for assistance from the job center in the city where they are registered. Those who cannot or are not allowed to work turn to the social welfare office. There, you can apply in person, in writing or, in some cases, online. In many cases, you will have to submit documents, such as your rental contract or bank statements. If you have any questions about the application process, we will be happy to advise you.
Can I work while receiving social benefits?
If you are receiving unemployment benefits or social assistance, you may work in most cases. The start of a job must be reported to the Job Center or the Social Welfare Office. The income will be partially offset, so the benefits will be reduced.
What should I do if the authorities demand money back?
It is often the case that money is reclaimed if you have taken up a job or if the authority is of the opinion that the calculation of the benefits was incorrect. However, it may also be that the official lacks information and the reclaim is not justified. In this case, you should file an objection. Otherwise, you can try to arrange payment in installments. We will be happy to advise you.
What can I do if my application is rejected?
If the Job Center or the Social Welfare Office has rejected your application, you can file an objection or a lawsuit. If you want to file a lawsuit, you should find a lawyer. We can help you find a lawyer.
What is the LIFE Initiative?
The LIFE Initiative helps with bureaucratic problems. If you need help with a letter from a government agency, can't fill out forms or your residence permit is expiring, you can contact us. We will try to find a solution together. If we can't help directly, we try to find other support. Our free help is aimed at refugees, migrants or Germans with little money. Our employees work as volunteers. They are not paid for their work but give advice in their free time.
How will I be helped?
We always help online. You can decide if you want to talk to us via WhatsApp, email, or phone. We treat each request individually. In a personal conversation, we discuss the specific problem and look for a solution in a timely manner.
In which language will the advice be provided?
We can speak with you in German or English at any time. After consultation, we may also be able to advise you in Arabic, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish. If you do not speak any of these languages well, you will need to find someone to translate for you.
Does the LIFE Initiative share any of my information?
No. The LIFE Initiative is a non-profit association that works 100% independently and does not pass on any data to government agencies. All information is kept strictly confidential.
With which questions can the LIFE Initiative not help?
The LIFE Initiative can only help people who are in Germany. We do not provide advice on entering Germany. Our help is aimed at people in need who have little or no income and assets. We help with problems with offices and authorities. We cannot help with questions about finding a place to live or a job, or with health problems.
When do we get back to you?
After you send us a message, we will contact you within 48 hours. In a first phone call, we try to better understand your problem.