10. Oktober 2022

Information Guide for Ukrainian Refugees

We have compiled basic information for Ukrainian refugees and helpers on this page. Links are provided for all further information.

Українська версія | Deutsche Version

Grafik: Ein Herz in den Farben der Flagge der Ukraine (blau und gold)
© IMAGO / Bihlmayerfotografie

1. Arrival and getting started
2. Social benefits and medical care
3. School, training and work
4. Other topics and information worth knowing


1. Arrival and getting started

Entry

Registration and application

  • Registration in the Central Register of Foreigners by the Federal Police or Aliens' Registration Office is necessary in order to receive state support benefits.
  • It is not necessary to file an asylum application, as the refugees are generally granted a residence permit based on the Council Decision on the Introduction of Temporary Protection of 4 March 2022 in accordance with § 24 paragraph 1 of the Residence Act (AufenthG).
  • Responsibility resides with the foreign migration authorities of the place of residence or stay. This authority issues the residence title or a corresponding de facto certificate when an application for protection is submitted.
  • The responsible foreigners migration authority is shown at BaMF-NAvI (German and English).

Onward travel

  • No ticket is required for onward travel by local trains.
  • The German railway company (Deutsche Bahn) issues free tickets for long-distance journeys within Germany ("helpukraine" ticket).
  • Further information is available on the Deutsche Bahn website (in German, English and Ukrainian).

Accommodation / initial reception centres

  • Initial reception centres are usually to be found on the websites of the responsible foreign migration authorities.
  • In addition to state-run reception centres, many private individuals also offer their help, for example via the portal unterkunft-ukraine.de (German, English, Ukrainian).
  • SOS Kinderdorf (children's charity) has set up a central registration office for refugees from Ukrainian orphanages and children's homes with the SOS Hotline (in German and English) on 0800 12 606 12 to ensure that accommodation and care is provided together with the persons accompanying them.

Integration

2. Social benefits and medical care

Subsistence benefits

  • Since 1st June 2022, Ukrainian refugees have been entitled to basic security and social assistance benefits under SGB II and XII. This is conditional on having a residence permit (as per the Residence Act) or a corresponding “fictional certificate”, being on the Central Register of Foreigners (AZR) and having a police criminal record check (ED-Behandlung). Those who obtained a residence permit or fictional certificate and who were added to the Central Register of Foreigners prior to 31st May 2022 have until 31st October 2022 to complete the mandatory criminal record check without losing their entitlement to SGB II/XII benefits. If these requirements are not met, benefits can only be claimed under the Asylum Seekers’ Benefit Act (AsylbLG). More information on this topic can be found in various places, including a BMI circular (only available in German) published on 27th May 2022.
  • Those who are able to work but are in need of assistance receive benefits under SGB II (unemployment benefit II/”Hartz 4”). Those who are also in need of assistance but who cannot work at all or are only able to undertake limited work can receive benefits under SGB XII. More information about entitlement to benefits can be found here (in German and English). The Federal Employment Agency has put together an overview (in German, Ukrainian and English) with explanatory videos in all three languages to make it easier to apply for ALG II.
  • Applications for the benefits offered under SGB II can be submitted at the appropriate Jobcenter (which can be found via the home page of the Federal Employment Agency)). The respective social security office is responsible for benefits under SGB XII and can be found via https://www.ortsdienst.de/.
  • Those who received benefits under the Asylum Seekers’ Benefit Act in May are automatically considered to have applied for SGB II and XII benefits up until 31st August 2022; they must submit their application from 1st September 2022 on their own. To bridge the gap, those entitled to benefits receive these under the Asylum Seekers’ Benefit Act. The difference between these benefits and the ones granted under SGB II and XII will be paid retrospectively.

Healthcare benefits

  • Receipt of SGB II benefits includes automatic access to the statutory health insurance scheme. This allows refugees to access medical treatment and services for the prevention and early detection of diseases, as well as pregnancy and maternity care.
  • In contrast, receipt of SBG XII benefits does not confer automatic access to the statutory health insurance scheme. However, those entitled to benefits under SGB XII receive an electronic health card through which they receive benefits within the scope of the statutory health insurance scheme.
  • Those who do not have a residence permit or fictional certificate, have not been added to the Central Register of Foreigners or do not have a criminal record check can only access healthcare through the Asylum Seekers’ Benefit Act.
  • The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds has published an information sheet (only available in German) with detailed information on the subject of healthcare for refugees.
  • Further information on medical benefits is available on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health (only in German, but with related links, partly in Ukrainian).

Care assistance

  • Care assistance in the form of nursing support can be claimed under SGB XII. After 24 months of membership in the statutory health insurance scheme, it is possible to claim benefits through the statutory long-term care insurance scheme.
  • Care assistance received by those who come under the Asylum Seekers’ Benefit Act is largely the same in scope as that received by those who claim assistance under SGB XII.

Integration assistance under SGB IX

  • Refugees who are entitled to SGB II and XII benefits are entitled to integration assistance benefits under SGB IX. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs published some information on the subject on 29th April 2022 (only available in German).
  • Those who do not receive any benefits under SGB II and XII can claim integration assistance support through the Asylum Seekers’ Benefit Act.
  • A newly established contact point of the BMAS, BMI and DRK (in German, English and Ukrainian) mediates assistance offers for refugees with disabilities and those in need of care and coordinates their reception and care (according to the website, the service itself is unfortunately currently only offered in German).
  • Aktion Mensch (charity group) has published a guide (in German only) with various support services for refugees with disabilities.

Benefits under the Asylum Seekers’ Benefit Act

  • Ukrainian refugees who are not entitled to benefits under SGB II/XII generally receive benefits through the Asylum Seekers’ Benefit Act.
  • The benefits catalogue includes benefits to cover basic needs, the socio-cultural subsistence minimum and medical care for acute illnesses and pain conditions (§§ 3 and 4 AsylbLG).
  • If applicable, further care for persons with special needs is also granted (§ 6 AsylbLG). These include, for example, benefits of the integration assistance, special hygiene articles or also interpreter costs in the context of psychotherapy.
  • Information is available on the website of the Verbraucherzentrale (consumer advice centre) (German and English) on the issuing of medical treatment certificates and on the possibility of obtaining an electronic health card in some federal states.
  • Applications for benefits under the AsylbLG are submitted to the responsible social welfare office.

3. School, training and work

School education

  • The websites of the Kultusminister-Konferenz (Conference of Ministers of Education) and the Schulportal (a portal for educational resources) contain numerous links to general information and to information that federal states have put together on the subjects of school and education for refugee Ukrainian children. These are only available in German but include some further links to sources in English and Ukrainian.

Academic Studies

  • Academic achievements in Ukraine are generally recognised in Germany due to the country's membership in the Bologna Process.
  • Information regarding academic studies is available on the website of the National Academic Contact Point Ukraine (German, English and Ukrainian).
  • Those undertaking apprenticeships who have a residence permit or fictional certificate and are on the Central Register of Foreigners are entitled to benefits under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) if they meet the relevant requirements under that act. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has published information on this subject (only available in German). The relevant application forms can be found here.

Occupational employment

  • Employment and the practice of self-employment are generally permitted.
  • The federal states are mandated to add the words "occupational employment permitted" to both the residence title and the de facto certificate.
  • The Federal Employment Agency has created a help page on the topics of work and training (German, Ukrainian and English).
  • Information on the recognition of qualifications is available on the information portal "Recognition in Germany" (German, Ukrainian and English). In addition, the IQ Network (in German and English) provides information on the counselling centres responsible for recognition purposes. There is also an applicant portal for researchers from Ukraine (German and English) at the Helmholtz Centre.

Child benefit

  • From 1st June 2022 the only requirement for receiving child benefit is a residence permit; it is no longer linked to an existing job.
  • The Federal Employment Agency has created a page (German, English and Ukrainian) with brief information sheets, as well as a form for an application for child benefit (both in German and Ukrainian).

Related links

4. Other topics and information worth knowing

Information and offers from our regional VdK associations

VdK Bayern:
The three information sheets "We stand up for your rights", "Need of care? From application to benefit" and "Information on the law for severely disabled persons" are available in German, English and Ukrainian for free download:
VdK Bayern - Informationsmaterial


VdK Berlin-Brandenburg:

Our local organisation VdK Berlin-Brandenburg advises and supports people who have fled Ukraine refering to:

  • Benefits under the Council Directive 2001/55/EC/ German Residence Act
  • Other social benefits and public services

Advise and support for Ukrainian refugees | Beratung und Unterstützung für ukrainische Flüchtlinge


VdK Sachsen:
The Landesverband Sachsen provides region-specific information resources on its website, including on initial orientation and educational programmes on offer (in a mixture of German, English and Ukrainian).

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