Cost units

Financial support is available for technical equipment of the workplace and working environment. The scope of costs depends on the individual case.

The support services are intended to help people with a disability or impending disability in working life. The aids aim to maintain jobs or training places, to secure long-term employability and to prevent a deterioration of the health status by preventive measures. As a result, financial assistance can be applied for before a disability occurs (e.g. within the framework of company integration management).

The legal basis is provided by the benefits for participation in working life (§ 49, 50 SGB IX), which are paid by the rehabilitation providers. In addition, the Integration Offices (also called Inclusion Offices) provide accompanying assistance in working life (§ 185 SGB IX, in conjunction with § 19 and § 26 SchwbAV) for people with a recognised severe disability or equal opportunities.

Detailed information on support in working life is also available on the REHADAT-talentplus portal.

If a disability has already occurred or is threatened by a prolonged illness, employees and young people in training are entitled to technical assistance to ensure their participation in working life. With the exception of motor vehicle and housing aids, where technical aids are also used in a broader sense, aids and technical work aids are personal, mobile products (e.g. Braille displays, arthrodesis chairs).

Aids necessary for the profession (§ 49, Subsection 8, No. 4, SGB IX) are medical therapy products such as hearing aids or orthopaedic shoes. They are required in this occupational context for typical requirements of a special occupation or to increase occupational safety. Therefore, they do not fall under the obligation to provide benefits under the statutory health insurance.

An example: orthopaedic occupational safety shoes for a worker with a foot disability represent a benefit for occupational participation, whereas orthopaedic shoes, which are generally intended to compensate for a walking disability in everyday life and at work, are considered a medical benefit.

Technical work aids (§ 49 Para. 8 No. 5 SGB IX, § 19 SchwbAV) are in principle any piece of work furniture, vehicles, machines, tools or hardware and software that compensate for disability-related disadvantages in the activity. These can be custom-made products or commercially available products such as screen readers, one-hand keyboards, forklifts with low access or special protective work clothing.

The subsidy is granted as a grant up to the full amount of the costs and covers initial and replacement purchases, servicing, maintenance and training in use.

If employees with severe disabilities have to reach their place of work or training by motor vehicle, there is the income-dependent motor vehicle assistance (e.g. steering wheel adjustments, bodywork modifications) for additional equipment of a motor vehicle due to disabilities. The subsidy is possible up to the full amount of the installation and repair costs (see § 49 SGB IX, § 20 SchwbAV in conjunction with the Motor Vehicle Assistance Ordinance).

Employees with severe disabilities can receive subsidies and interest subsidies for a disability-friendly home (see § 49 SGB IX, § 22 SchwbAV). The financial benefit is available for the procurement of a home suitable for the disabled (e.g. change of job, more convenient location) or for adapting the home to the needs of the disabled.

You can find out more on the page barrier-free living.

Companies can receive financial assistance in the form of grants and loans up to the full cost if they equip new or existing workplaces and training facilities with work aids suitable for disabled persons or make the workplace barrier-free - for example, by providing suitable access, escape routes or sanitary facilities. Jobs for temporary and part-time employees are also eligible for funding (§ 156 SGB IX, § 26 SchwbAV).

The amount of funding depends on the individual case and may depend on the following criteria:

  • Degree of impairment of the person with disability
  • current labour market situation (with the threat of job loss)
  • Investment costs
  • Rationalisation effect
  • Amount of additional expenses due to disability
  • Performance of the company

Further general information can be found on the page on barrier-free workplaces.

If a company sets up a new, previously non-existent workplace for a worker or trainee with severe disabilities, grants and loans towards general investment costs (see § 15 SchwbAV) are possible. New jobs are created, for example, through new hires or company relocations if the old job is lost and a dismissal is imminent.

Regular investment costs are the non-disability-related costs that would also be incurred if employees without disabilities were hired (e.g. usual work equipment such as furniture, computers, software) or generally improve working conditions (e.g. software updates).

The amount of subsidy depends on the individual case. However, companies should contribute to the total costs to a reasonable extent.

The service providers grant subsidies and loans for the disabled-friendly design of the workplace and the workplace including the operating facilities, machines and equipment.

The subsidies can be granted up to the full amount of the costs. It includes initial and replacement procurement, maintenance and repair as well as training in the use of the subsidised work aids.

The SGB IX regulates as a framework law the general legal provisions for the provision of services for participation in working life for all service providers. In addition, there is a separate binding social security code for each rehabilitation provider in accordance with § 6 SGB IX (e.g. Agency for Employment, Pension Insurance, Accident Insurance), which specifies the benefits. For the integration offices/inclusion offices, the regulations are specified in the severely handicapped equalisation levy ordinance (SchwbAV).

For an initial orientation, the service providers can be delimited as follows:

  1. Rehabilitation providers support people with disabilities or threatened disabilities so that they can obtain a job or maintain their earning capacity if the disability has newly occurred or their health has deteriorated drastically.
  2. The Integration Office/Inclusion Office always performs as an authority subordinate to the rehabilitation agencies and only in the case of a recognised severe disability or equality.
    Which service provider is responsible ultimately depends on the social laws, the cause of the disability (e.g. occupational accident) or the individual insurance periods.

The pension insurance institutions are responsible for employees with a 15 year waiting period or who receive a pension due to (partially) reduced earning capacity (see § 16 SGB VI in conjunction with § 49 SGB IX). The pension insurance institutions also grant benefits for participation in working life if, without these benefits, a pension due to reduced earning capacity would have to be paid or if they are necessary immediately afterwards to ensure successful medical rehabilitation. Since one of the aims of rehabilitation in pension insurance is to avert or postpone retirement on account of reduced earning capacity ("rehabilitation before retirement"), younger insured persons can also receive benefits for participation in working life without having completed the 15-year waiting period (§ 11.2a SGB VI).

The Federal Employment Agency is responsible for employees with less than 15 years of employment subject to social insurance contributions and trainees. Within the framework of vocational rehabilitation, the Federal Employment Agency is also responsible for employable persons in need of assistance with disabilities who receive benefits for basic security in accordance with SGB II through the Jobcenters (formerly ARGEn) or approved municipal institutions, provided no other rehabilitation institution is responsible (see SGB III).

Recipients of unemployment benefit II are the responsibility of the job centres (formerly ARGE) or, depending on their place of residence, the opting municipalities. Job centres are joint institutions of municipalities (districts and independent cities) and employment agencies which, among other things, pay out unemployment benefit II. In some municipalities, the employment agency alone is responsible for the payment of unemployment benefit II and social benefits, as well as for job placement, and the municipality is responsible for the costs of accommodation. In some counties and independent towns, the municipality is exclusively responsible for all benefits (optional municipality).

The statutory accident insurance institutions are responsible for professional reintegration after accidents at work and on the way to work or occupational diseases. These include the employers' liability insurance associations, the agricultural employers' liability insurance associations and the accident insurance funds.

Integration offices (Inclusion Offices) support both employees and companies within the framework of "accompanying help in working life" by providing financial assistance from funds of the equalisation levy. They also provide advice and information on all questions of vocational participation (§ 185 SGB IX). Integration offices only provide services for employees with recognised severe disabilities or equality, including civil servants and self-employed persons for whom no rehabilitation provider is responsible. They are subordinate to the rehabilitation agencies and the existing obligations of the employer.

The legal provisions are regulated in more detail in the Ordinance on Equalisation Taxes for Severely Disabled Persons (SchwbAV). The type and amount of the benefit depends on the circumstances of the individual case (§ 15 Para. 2 SchwbAV). Services should only be provided if the company contributes to the total costs in an appropriate proportion. The services can be granted as a loan or subsidy up to the full amount.

The services of the Integration Office are transferred to local welfare offices, depending on the regulations of the federal states.

The beneficiaries are people with health problems for whom the Community has a special responsibility. These are, for example, Bundeswehr soldiers, Federal Border Guard personnel, victims of violence, vaccination victims, victims of imprisonment for political reasons in the former GDR or in certain expulsion areas. Social compensation in the case of health damages is provided by the state welfare offices, welfare offices, main welfare offices or integration offices (for severely disabled persons according to SGB IX Part 2) and welfare offices for war victims (§ 26, 26 a BVG). The core of social compensation law is the Federal Pensions Act (BVG), to which other laws refer as secondary laws (e.g. Victim Compensation Act OEG, Prisoner Assistance Act HHG).

Persons receiving social assistance and who are physically, mentally or emotionally substantially disabled are entitled to rehabilitation benefits under the integration assistance scheme, unless another institution is competent. Students are also entitled to rehabilitation benefits. The providers of integration assistance are determined by the federal states and can be, for example, the cities, administrative districts, state offices or regional associations (NRW) (see § 111 SGB IX).

Children, adolescents and young adults up to 27 years of age who have a mental disability or are threatened by a disability are entitled to integration assistance. The public youth welfare institutions (youth welfare offices) or the local authorities (independent towns, administrative districts) are essentially responsible for the benefits, unless another institution is responsible (see § 86 SGB VIII, § 35 a SGB VIII).