Unemployment and Social Security
Should you become unemployed, you will receive help and information from the local Employment Agency ("Agentur für Arbeit") or job centre. The job centre will advise and support you in looking for new employment (see chapter Looking for and Taking up Employment). You should register yourself as unemployed at the local employment agency or job centre as soon as you are informed of your dismissal. Otherwise you could have your benefits cut.
You may have a right to unemployment benefit from the unemployment insurance (see chapter Unemployment Insurance). In order to be able to claim unemployment benefit, you will need to have been employed for at least twelve months during the last three years and have paid social insurance contributions. The amount and duration of the unemployment benefit depends on the amount of your previous income and the length of your previous employment. If you are not entitled to unemployment benefit or your entitlement has expired, job seekers and persons of employable age receive state social security, the so-called "Arbeitslosengeld II" (Unemployment Benefit II – "ALGII"). The general amount of this basic level of protection is usually considerably less than unemployment benefit. You also apply for the "Arbeitslosengeld II" benefit at your local job centre. Those who cannot work because of their age or disability receive so-called "Sozialhilfe" (social welfare benefit). This roughly corresponds to the amount received with the "Arbeitslosengeld II" benefit.
Note: Claiming "Arbeitslosengeld II" and "Sozialhilfe" can lead to problems in terms of your rights of residency. You should find out about this in good time!