Can I claim unemployment if I am laid off?

Avoid blocking time with ALG I.

The biggest mistakes when applying for unemployment benefits

Dr. Britta Beate Schön
Legal Expert As of January 28, 2020

Dr. Britta Beate Schön

Britta Beate Schön is responsible for all legal issues at Finanztip. The doctor of law and attorney was head of the legal department at financial service providers such as Telis Finanz AG and Interhyp. Before that, she taught and researched in Japan as a DAAD junior professor for German and European law. She completed her studies in Münster, Geneva, Regensburg and Leipzig. You can reach the author at [email protected]

  • Don't risk a blackout period. The reasons for such a punishment can be varied.
  • The employment agency can block your unemployment benefit for up to twelve weeks - that means a quarter less money for you!
  • With the right explanation, you can often avoid an impending blocking period.
  • Register as unemployed at the employment agency in good time.
  • Don't quit until you have a new job.
  • If you quit yourself, explain yourself to the employment agency.
  • Before signing a termination agreement, clarify the consequences for your unemployment benefit with the agency. If you fall under the blocking period, let your employer dismiss you.

If you terminate your employment contract yourself or if you have been terminated extraordinarily or properly because of a breach of duty, the employment agency can impose a blocking period of up to twelve weeks: This means: You will not receive any unemployment benefit for the time being. Since a blocking period is counted towards the duration of the subscription, you also get less money overall. So you should avoid that.

Do you get unemployment benefits if you quit yourself?

If you have your employment you cancel yourself, the employment agency will always check whether they have imposed a blocking period on you. She always has the opportunity to do so when you yourself without an important and demonstrable reason Have terminated your employment relationship - because you yourself caused unemployment through your behavior (Section 159 (1) No. 1 SGB III). According to the annual report, there was a blocking period for around 221,000 unemployed in 2018 because of work assignment imposed (Annual Report of the Employment Agency 2018, page 136).

If you are entitled to twelve months of unemployment benefit and a blocking period of three months, you can only nine months draw money for a long time. You should avoid that. So first find a new job. In order to prevent a blocking period, you must at least be able to prove that you have a serious prospect of a new job. If you quit for any other reason, it should important be - and you should be able to prove it.

If a blocking period is imposed, you can Lodge an objection. The business instructions that the Federal Agency must observe when checking a blocking period can be found here (as of August 2019).

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How do you prevent the employment agency from being blocked?

If you can prove that you canceled yourself for one of the following reasons, you can prevent a blocking period:

The prospect of a new job - If you had a firm commitment or even demonstrably concrete prospects for a new job, you did not intentionally cause unemployment, even if the job change did not work out (LSG Hamburg, judgment of February 1, 2012, Az. L 2 AL 49 / 09). The employment agency is not allowed to impose a blocking period.

Termination without notice by employees possible - The blocking period does not apply if you yourself would have been entitled to cancel without notice. However, you would have to provide specific proof of this (LSG Hamburg, judgment of January 14, 2010, Az. L 5 AL 21/08). This can be the case if your employer has repeatedly paid you late or too little. So don't let the impending blocking period keep you from resigning if your boss doesn't pay. The agency will not impose a blocking period.

You can find more information on when you can cancel without notice in our guide to extraordinary cancellation.

Overstrained by work - If you are demonstrably overwhelmed by work and simply can no longer, this can be an important reason to terminate your employment relationship. Even then, the Employment Agency may not impose a blocking period (LSG Hessen, judgment of June 18, 2009, Az. L 9 AL 129/08). The submission of a medical certificate is strongly recommended.

Joint household of spouses - If you want to move in with your spouse or with your partner in a registered civil partnership, then that is an important reason for you to quit yourself.

Educational Community - If you want to move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend in order to establish an educational community and to improve the care of the children, the employment agency usually recognizes when you quit yourself. Because you have an important reason - the well-being of the children (BSG, judgment of October 17, 2007, Az. B 11a / 7a AL 52/06 R).

Caring for a family member - If you quit your job because you have to look after a close relative, you can prevent a blocking period. Basically, this is an important reason to quit a job (SG Karlsruhe, judgment of June 28, 2019, Az. 11 AL 1152/19). But it always depends on the circumstances of the individual case, which you have to explain to the employment agency. A level of care for the family member you want to look after is helpful. But you also have to explain that there are no other options for outpatient or inpatient care.

Moving in together without marriage certificate - If you quit for private reasons to move to a boyfriend or girlfriend, you risk a blocking period. According to the employment agencies, this is no important reason for termination. However, the case law is not uniform. The State Social Court of Lower Saxony-Bremen decided that moving in with the partner could also be an important reason, so that the blocking period was not lawful (judgment of December 12, 2017, Az. L 7 AL 36/16). The court thus clearly distinguished itself from the previous case law of the Federal Social Court.

Is there a blocking period for a termination agreement?

If you are negotiating a termination agreement with your employer, remember that this can also lead to a blocking period for unemployment benefits (Section 159 (1) No. 1 SGB III). The argument of the employment agency: You did not have to sign and you caused your unemployment yourself - regardless of who initiated the cancellation.

But do you sign a termination agreementwith an important reason, no blocking period will be imposed on you. An important reason for the conclusion of a termination agreement exists if Due would otherwise have received an operational dismissal from the employer anyway and could agree on a severance payment.

An important reason can also exist if the employer gives you the choice between a termination agreement and personal termination. Bosses usually do this when an employee is ill for a long time.

With the following three requirements the employment agency does not impose a blocking period in the case of a termination agreement.

  1. Termination threatens: Your employer must have already threatened to give notice of termination for operational reasons or for personal reasons if you do not sign the termination agreement. It is irrelevant whether the threatened termination would have been lawful (BSG, judgment of May 2, 2012, Az. B 11 AL 6/11 R).

    Attention: If you want to avoid a behavior-related dismissal from your employer with the termination agreement, this will lead to the blocking period. A court could accept this if you have already received a warning about your behavior.
  2. Notice period observed: The employment relationship must end through the termination agreement as if your employer had given notice. The employer must observe the contractual or statutory notice period when drawing up the termination agreement.
  3. Severance pay: The amount of the severance payment in the termination agreement should be based on the legal requirements. She may not significantly higher his than half a month's salary for each year of employment. In individual cases, the severance payment can also be higher. In that case, however, it is important that the threatened termination is lawful (page 16 of the business instructions on Section 159 SGB III, as of July 2019).

    If you would not have received a severance payment without a termination agreement, this can be an important reason to sign the offer with severance payment - regardless of the amount (BSG, judgment of July 12, 2006, Az. B 11a AL 47/05 R).

Important: If you are negotiating a termination agreement with your employer, you should get the Draft agreement and have this with the employment agency discuss. She will review the draft contract and let you know whether you should expect a blocking period. If a blocking period is presumably imposed on you, you should not sign the termination agreement and rather wait for the employer to terminate the contract.

Can there be a blocking period if the employer quits?

If your employer has dismissed you properly for operational reasons or for personal reasons, you do not have to worry about a blocking period. You did not cause your unemployment willfully or through gross negligence.

However, the employment agency can impose a blocking period if you go through your wrongdoing you gave the employer the reason for terminating the contract. Only behavior that entitles the employer to terminate the contract for behavioral reasons is relevant - this can be both ordinary and extraordinary termination.

This requirement can be fulfilled, for example, if you, as a professional driver, lose your driving license and your employer gives you notice of termination. Then the employment agency may order the blocking period of twelve weeks for your unemployment benefit (LSG Baden-Württemberg, judgment of August 1, 2012, Az. L 3 AL 5066/11).

No need to worry in the event of a successful dismissal protection lawsuit

If you have defended yourself against your dismissal with a dismissal protection suit and then concluded a court settlement settlement, you usually do not have to fear a blocking period (BSG, judgment of October 17, 2007, Az. B 11a AL 51/06 R).

More on this in the legal protection insurance guide

  • You can get good legal protection for less than 300 euros a year.
  • Tariffs recommended by us: Arag Aktiv Komfort, Auxilia Jurprivat, WGV Optimal

To the advisor

How long can blackout periods last?

The blocking period for unemployment benefit I can be up to twelve weeks. However, if you reported your impending unemployment to the agency late, only one week will be ordered. But that is cash that you are giving away.

in the Year 2018 more than 530,000 people received less unemployment benefits because they did not report to the agency in time. The following table shows typical blocking times, the underlying violations and how often such times were ordered in 2018:

Typical blocking times and their reasons

Reason for the blocking periodDurationlawCases (2018)

Termination agreement,

self-inflicted termination

12 weeks1

Section 159 Paragraph 1.1



Rejection of work,

Rejection or cancellation

Integration measure

1st offense:

3 weeks,

2nd offense:

6 weeks,

then 12

Section 159 (4)





2 weeks

Section 159 (5)



Failure to report,

late registration of job seekers

1 week

Section 159 (6)



1 For older employees who have a longer entitlement to ALG 1, the agency reduces the duration of the entitlement by at least a quarter of the total duration (Section 148 (1) No. 4 SGB III). With a maximum duration of 24 months, the agency can therefore reduce the entitlement to ALG 1 by up to 6 months.
Source: Federal Employment Agency, Labor Market 2018 (as of October 2019)

According to the Employment Agency, anyone who gets a blocking period because of “insufficient personal effort” has not taken enough care of finding a new job. However, the agency may only impose the blocking period if it has also committed itself to services in the integration agreement with the job seeker, such as covering application or travel costs. If such a provision is missing in the agreement, it cannot impose a blocking period according to the case law of the Federal Social Court.

During the blocking period rests the entitlement to benefits from the employment agency. This means that the job seeker will not get any money for a certain period of time. In addition, the agency will also reduce the duration of entitlement to unemployment benefit by at least a quarter (Section 148 (1) No. 4 SGB III).

Older employees in particular, who are entitled to ALG 1 for up to 24 months, lose at least a quarter of the duration if they are blocked due to giving up work. That can be six months. A blocking period is therefore expensive. Therefore, you should absolutely avoid them.

How are you insured during the blocking period?

Since August 1, 2017, the unemployed have also been obliged to take out statutory health insurance from the beginning of the blocking period. With this regulation, there is no need for the health insurance companies to check the coverage in the first month of the blocking period. The agency continues to pay health insurance contributions only from the beginning of the second month of the blocking period.

You are not entitled to sick pay if the agency has imposed a blocking period (Section 49 (1) No. 3a SGB V).

Can you request a reduction in the blocking period?

The blocking period of twelve weeks can be extended to six weeks be shortened if the usual duration for you is a particular hardness would mean (§ 159 Abs. 3 Nr. 2b SGB III).

This can be the case if you quit in order to establish an illegitimate partnership. Even if some courts do not recognize this as an important reason for terminating the employment contract, a blocking period of twelve weeks can be disproportionate in individual cases and therefore halved (BSG, judgment of October 25, 1988, Az. 7 RAr 37/87).

If you erroneously assumed when you terminated your contract or when you signed your termination agreement that no blocking period will be imposed, the agency can shorten the blocking period due to particular hardship - for example, if you previously obtained specific information from the agency that was incorrect that you have relied on.

If you terminated your employment relationship, which is expiring or has already been terminated, a little earlier because you signed a termination agreement or because you gave notice yourself, the blocking period must be shortened in a reasonable proportion. It will be shortened to three weeks if your employment contract would have ended six weeks later anyway. A shortened blocking period of six weeks applies if your employment relationship would have ended twelve weeks later anyway (Section 159 (3) SGB III).

Dr. Britta Beate Schön

Dr. Britta Beate Schön

Britta Beate Schön is responsible for all legal issues at Finanztip. The doctor of law and attorney was head of the legal department at financial service providers such as Telis Finanz AG and Interhyp. Before that, she taught and researched in Japan as a DAAD junior professor for German and European law. She completed her studies in Münster, Geneva, Regensburg and Leipzig. You can reach the author at [email protected]

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