The subsistence minimum is the minimum amount of money required for an individual or a family to meet their basic living needs. This amount is calculated based on the cost of living and the needs of the person or family, including expenses such as food, clothing, housing, healthcare, and education for children.
How is the subsistence minimum calculated in Germany?
The calculation of the subsistence minimum is based on the minimum needs defined in the social assistance law and approved by the Federal Constitutional Court. These amounts are set by the federal government based on the “Report on the Level of the Subsistence Minimum for Adults and Children.”
Social assistance is provided when a person has insufficient income and assets that could be a source of income. The cost of housing is calculated taking into account regional differences.
In 2023, the subsistence minimum is €502 for a single person. For families with children, this amount is higher. Social assistance is provided when all other options have been exhausted.
The main goal of establishing an adequate subsistence minimum is to ensure a dignified life for every individual, regardless of their income, and to protect all members of society from poverty. Therefore, this monetary threshold forms the basis for social, tax, and debt law.
It is also worth noting that in 2023, the tax-free basic amount is set at €1,409.99, and the tax subsistence minimum is €10,908. These amounts guarantee that incomes will not be reduced by tax deductions.
*The subsistence minimum is reviewed every 2 years.”