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

The support services are intended to support people with a disability or impending disability in working life. The assistance is aimed at maintaining jobs or training positions, securing long-term earning capacity and preventing a deterioration in health through preventative measures. As a result, financial assistance can be applied for even before a disability occurs (e.g. as part of company integration management).

The legal basis for this is the benefits for participation in working life (§ 49, 50 SGB IX), which are paid by the rehabilitation providers. In addition, the integration offices (also known as inclusion offices) provide accompanying assistance in working life (Section 185 SGB IX, in conjunction with Section 19 and Section 26 SchwbAV) for people with a recognized severe disability or equal status.

Services and service providers

If a disability has already occurred or is imminent due to a prolonged illness, employees and young people in vocational training are entitled to technical aids to ensure their participation in working life. Apart from motor vehicle and housing aids, which are also technical aids in the broader sense, assistive products and technical work aids are personal, mobile products (e.g. Braille displays, arthrodesis chairs).

Assistive products for professional use

Assistive products required for the job (Section 49 para. 8 no. 4 SGB IX) are medical therapy products such as hearing aids or orthopaedic shoes. In this occupational context, they are required for typical requirements of a specific job or to increase occupational safety. They are therefore not covered by statutory health insurance.

For example, orthopaedic safety shoes for a worker with a foot disability are a benefit for participation in working life, 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

Technical work aids (§ 49 Para. 8 No. 5 SGB IX, § 19 SchwbAV) are in principle any work furniture, vehicles, machines, tools or hardware and software that compensate for disability-related disadvantages in the activity. These can be custom-made or commercially available products such as screen readers, one-handed keyboards, forklift trucks with low access or special protective work clothing. Funding is provided as a grant up to the full amount of the costs and covers the initial and replacement purchase, maintenance, servicing and vocational training in use.

Motor vehicle assistance

If employees with severe disabilities have to travel to their place of work or training by car, income-related vehicle assistance is available for disability-related additional vehicle equipment (e.g. steering wheel adaptations, body modifications). Funding 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).

Housing assistance

Employees with severe disabilities can receive grants and interest subsidies for housing suitable for disabled people (see § 49 SGB IX, § 22 SchwbAV). The financial benefit is available for the procurement of housing suitable for disabled people (e.g. change of job, more convenient location) or for adapting housing to meet the needs of disabled people. You can find out more on the page Barrier-free housing.

Companies can receive financial assistance in the form of grants and loans up to the full cost amount if they equip new or existing workplaces and training places with work aids suitable for disabled people or make the workplace barrier-free - for example by providing suitable access, escape routes or sanitary facilities. Workplaces for temporary and part-time employees are also eligible for funding (Section 156 SGB IX, Section 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 a disability
  • Current labor market situation (in the event of imminent job loss)
  • investment costs
  • Rationalization effect
  • Amount of the disability-related additional expenses
  • Performance of the company

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

Investment aid for new jobs and training places

If a company sets up a new, previously non-existent workplace for a worker or trainee with a severe disability, grants and loans towards the general investment costs are possible (see § 15 SchwbAV). New jobs are created, for example, through new hires or company relocations if the old workplace is no longer available and there is a risk of redundancy.

Regular investment costs are non-disability-related costs that would also be incurred when hiring employees without disabilities (e.g. standard work equipment such as furniture, computers, software) or generally improving working conditions (e.g. software updates).

The amount of funding depends on the individual case. However, companies should contribute to the total costs to an appropriate extent.

Setting up workplaces and training places suitable for disabled people

The funding providers grant grants and loans for the design of workplaces and workplaces suitable for disabled people, including operating facilities, machinery and equipment.

Funding can be provided up to the full amount of the costs. It covers the initial and replacement procurement, maintenance and repair as well as training in the use of the subsidized work aids.

As a framework law, SGB IX regulates the general legal provisions for the provision of benefits for participation in working life for all service providers. In addition, there is a separate binding Social Code for each rehabilitation provider in accordance with Section 6 SGB IX (e.g. employment agency, pension insurance, accident insurance), which specifies the benefits. For the integration offices/inclusion offices, the regulations are specified in the Severely Disabled Persons Compensation Ordinance (SchwbAV).

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

  1. The rehabilitation providers support people with disabilities or impending disabilities so that they can obtain a workplace or maintain their earning capacity if the disability is new or their state of health has deteriorated drastically.
  2. The Integration Office / Inclusion Office, as an authority, is always subordinate to the rehabilitation providers and only provides benefits in the case of a recognized severe disability or equal status.
    Which service provider is responsible depends on the social legislation, the cause of the disability (e.g. accident at work) or the individual insurance periods.

The principle of "prevention before rehabilitation before retirement" applies here. Insured persons whose ability to work is significantly at risk or reduced due to illness or disability are entitled to benefits for participation in working life. These benefits are intended to prevent a further deterioration in earning capacity and premature retirement from working life and, under certain circumstances, help to find a new workplace (see Section 16 SGB VI in conjunction with Section 49 SGB IX).

The insurance law requirements are met if insured persons have fulfilled the 15-year waiting period or are drawing a reduced earning capacity pension, if a reduced earning capacity pension would have to be paid without these benefits or if the support benefits are required immediately following medical rehabilitation benefits in order to successfully complete the rehabilitation (see § 11 SGB VI).

The Federal Employment Agency is responsible for people with disabilities who are looking for work and have reduced prospects of integration in the longer term (e.g. vocational training after school, reintegration after unemployment).

In the context of vocational rehabilitation, the Federal Employment Agency is also responsible for employable people with disabilities who receive citizens' benefits through the job centers, provided that no other rehabilitation provider is responsible (see SGB III).

The statutory accident insurance institutions are responsible for occupational reintegration after work and commuting accidents or occupational illnesses. These include the employers' liability insurance associations, the agricultural employers' liability insurance associations and the accident insurance funds.

People with a health impairment for whom the community bears a special responsibility are eligible. The group of beneficiaries includes victims of violence, war victims of both world wars, victims of civilian service and vaccination victims.

The law on social compensation is regulated in SGB XIV (formerly the Federal Pension Act BVG). With the reform at the beginning of 2024, the former main welfare offices were renamed social compensation agencies.

People who receive social assistance and are physically, mentally or emotionally significantly impaired are entitled to rehabilitation services as part of integration assistance, provided no other provider is responsible. Students also belong to the group of eligible persons. The providers of integration assistance are determined by the federal states and can be, for example, the cities, districts, state offices or regional associations (NRW) (see Section 111 SGB IX).

Children, adolescents and young adults up to the age of 27 who have a mental disability or are at risk of a disability are entitled to integration assistance. The public youth welfare authorities (youth welfare offices) or the local authorities (independent cities, districts) are essentially responsible for the services, unless another agency is responsible (see Section 86 SGB VIII, Section 35 a SGB VIII).

Integration offices (in some federal states: inclusion offices) support both employees and companies as part of "accompanying assistance in working life" by providing financial assistance from the equalization levy. They also provide advice and information on all issues relating to participation in working life (Section 185 SGB IX). Integration offices only provide services for employees with a recognized severe disability or equal status, including civil servants and the self-employed, for whom no rehabilitation agency is responsible. They are subordinate to the rehabilitation providers and the existing obligations of the employer.

The statutory provisions are set out in more detail in the Severely Disabled Persons Compensation Levy Ordinance (SchwbAV). The type and amount of the benefit is determined by the circumstances of the individual case (§ 15 Para. 2 SchwbAV). Benefits should only be provided if the company contributes to the total costs in an appropriate proportion. The benefits 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 state regulations.

Further information on funding

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