BAföG and Short-Term Work

What is BAföG?

BAföG, roughly “Federal Law on Support in Education” in English, is a loan from the government for students whose parents have low income to help support them during their studies. 50% of the loan must be repaid, however, there is no interest added.

Should I apply or reapply for my BAföG rate with parents on short-term work (Kurzarbeit)?

12 million employees were on short-term work in 2020, many of those are parents – even while receiving short-term work benefits (Kurzarbeitergeld), you still lose a decent chunk of your income. If your parents are or were receiving short-term benefits, this is your chance to become eligible for or increase your BAföG rate. Usually the BAföG rate is determined by your parents’ income from the year before last; however, in times of crisis and loss of income, such as the current Corona pandemic, these circumstances can be considered when calculating your BAföG – you must simply submit an updated application. You can receive up to a maximum of 861 euros per month depending on your parents income.

Students who were previously denied from receiving BAföG because their parents had high income can also benefit from this by resubmitting an updated application, as their parents current lower income will be taken into account. But don’t be too hasty – keep in mind that BAföG loans that you already received may have to be paid back since the entire income from the BAföG approval period is considered when processing the updated application. For example, for the approval period of 10/2020 to 09/2021, three-twelfths of their 2020 income and nine-twelfths of their 2021 income would be considered. Therefore, an updated application may not be worthwhile if they’ve only been receiving short-term work benefits for a few months – your parents benefits would have to be overall lower in the calendar years 2020/2021 than in 2018/2019. You can submit an updated application at any time within the approval period (even on the last day). If you are approved, you will receive back payment for all months of the approval period.

Example

  • You submit an update application for the 2020 summer semester and 2020/2021 winter semester as your parents are receiving short-term work benefits due to Corona.
  • At a later date, your parents are no longer on short-term work leading to a higher income and a risk of repayment.
  • The income for the entire approval period counts – regardless of how high it is at the time of the updated application.

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