Hartz IV recipients and those in need of assistance who have special needs due to their life situation, which are not covered by the rule requirement or the supplementary needs, can apply special requirements for securing livelihood. However, these benefits beyond the remuneration of the scheme can only be provided if there are exceptional  expenses that require special requirements and the associated costs more than within the usual period of 12 months.

Amount of the special requirement

The amount of the special requirement depends on the circumstances of the needy. Therefore, the requirements and needs for the extraordinary burden of the underlying special requirements may vary. In this case, a proportion of the control power for the amount of the special requirement is always taken into account when determining the needs. This share is deducted when the special needs are determined.

In addition, only the actually necessary costs for the provision of the special services are reimbursed by the cost carriers. Therefore, the most cost-effective alternative is always promoted with regard to cost delivery in the case of several variants.

Invoicing the special requirements

Special requirements are provided to cover current (not unique), unavoidable special requirements. Taking into account a possible cost share of the regular benefit, special needs are paid as a non-repayable subsidy to the other Arbeitslosengeld II payments.

Claim for special requirements

According to the assessment by the Federal Constitutional Court, service recipients are entitled to benefits for special needs when there are unquestionable needs in unusual and unlawful life situations which are longer and / or lasting, but at least periodically recurring, and there is a risk to life support if the special requirements of the need help remain unsatisfied. The previous assessment on the basis of §§ 24 SGB II, 73 SGB XII was therefore not constitutional.

Unique special needs

With respect to the classification of one-time requirements, however, the applicable rules remain. If special needs arise in certain life situations, they can still be satisfied with the means according to § 24 SGB II, if the one-time special need is proven and the service is necessary in order to secure the livelihood of the Hartz IV recipient.

Specifically, cases of one – time special benefits specifically designated by law will continue to be services for

  • equipment for apartments, including household appliances (loans)
  • first-time clothing and initial equipment for pregnancy and childbirth (subsidy)
  • multi-day class trips (subsidy)
  • purchase and repair of orthopedic footwear, repairs of therapeutic equipment and the rental of therapeutic equipment (subsidy)

For social reasons the legislature places these living conditions under special protection. As a result, these special benefits are not only exempted expressly from the regulations, but also to those who need assistance who do not receive Arbeitslosengeld II, but who can not cover their needs by their own means. (§ 23 para 3 p. 3 SGB II).

In practice, further criteria have emerged for a special need:

• Medicines
• Household help for wheelchair users
• Participation in an integration course
• Costs of the exercise of the right to deal

The following services are not taken over. These are already included in the standard output:

• Practical fee
• Clothing for oversized people
• Spectacles
• Washing machine (if not included in the initial equipment)
• Dentures


Basis of judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court:

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled in its judgment on February 1, 2010, 1, 3, and 4/09 that the legislature must create a new regulation that takes into account its own right to benefits for the coverage of an unquestionable special need for those in need of assistance. This so-called special requirement has not yet been provided by the services pursuant to §§ 20ff SGB II. The Court of First Instance ordered that the legislature should be able to rely on the special requirement by the Basic Law until a legislative basis has been established.

The judgment is decisive, since decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court basically bind all state power and their courts in your favour. The social service providers are therefore obliged to recognize the special life situation and to provide special benefits for securing the livelihood for those in need of assistance, to a new regulation by the legislature. According to the verdict of the Federal Constitutional Court, special requirements are required in addition to the usual requirements for basic security (regulation requirement and additional requirements)

  • unavoidable
  • constantly
  • not just once

Special requirements in atypical living conditions.


Examples of a special requirement

The following case studies on special requirements are individual case decisions. These examples are not exhaustive, but in the case of similar interests they may also be entitled to special services.


A special need to be recognized also exists if a diseased care provider does not need any prescription medicines. Since these are not prescription, the costs are not borne by the health insurance. On the basis of the amount of the health care component included in the control service covering only the usual costs, a special requirement can be granted in the amount of the additional financial requirements for the acquisition of the demonstrably required medicines (Landessozialgericht NRW, judgment of 21 December 2007, L 19 B 134 / 07 AS ER).

Tutoring lessons

Costs for tuition can be taken in exceptional cases such as a long-term illness. Otherwise, the funding opportunities of the school are to be given priority, since costs for tuition are generally included in the proportion of regular requirements (Landessozialgericht Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, judgment of 22 December 2007, L 8 B 78/06).

Participation in integration courses

The travel costs to the teaching center when attending an integration course were classified as special requirements (Sozialgericht Lüneburg, judgment of 10.04.2005, S 25 AS 283/06 ER).

Travel expenses for a monthly ticket

Costs for a student ticket can be claimed as a special requirement under deduction of the share of travel expenses as a rule (Sozialgericht Aurich, judgment of 16.06.2005, S 13 SO 18/05 ER).

Household help for wheelchair users

Wheelchair users can apply a special requirement to secure a dignified existence if they can no longer (and can not) support certain necessary household activities. Under these conditions, there may be an ongoing need for budget support.

Costs for the exercise of the right to deal

The cost of dealing with the children living in a different place can be afforded by special needs. The jurisprudence has decided that the resulting costs are not included in the standard requirement and a special requirement is caused by the extraordinary demand situation. There is thus a claim for additional benefits if the needy can not cover the costs arising for them by means of the rules for the maintenance of life. (Bundessozialgericht, judgment of 7 November 2006, B 7b AS 14/076 R).

Other requirements for non-Hartz IV recipients

Those in need of assistance who are not recipients of the current benefits of Hartz IV can also be entitled to receive special benefits if there is insufficient income / assets to cover a specific need.