Financial support is available for technical equipment for the workplace and the working environment. The scope of costs depends on the individual case.
The support services are intended to assist people with a disability or impending disability in their working lives. The assistance is aimed at maintaining jobs or training positions, ensuring long-term employability and preventing a deterioration in health through preventive measures. As a result, financial assistance can be applied for even before the onset of a disability (e.g. as part of company integration management).
The legal basis is formed by the benefits for participation in working life (§ 49, 50 SGB IX), which are paid by the rehabilitation agencies. 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 recognized severe disability or equality.
Services and service providers
If a disability has already occurred or is threatened by 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, where technical aids are also used in a broader sense, assistive products and technical work aids are personal, mobile products (e.g. Braille displays, arthrodesis chairs).
Assistive products for the profession
Assistive products necessary for the job (§ 49 para. 8 no. 4 SGB IX) are medical therapy products such as hearing aids or orthopaedic shoes. They are necessary in this occupational context for typical requirements of a specific job or to increase occupational safety. Therefore, they do not fall under the obligation to pay benefits of the statutory health insurance.
For example, orthopaedic work safety shoes for a worker with a foot disability are a benefit for participation in working life, whereas orthopaedic shoes that 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-hand keyboards, forklifts with low access or special protective work clothing. Funding is provided as a grant up to the full cost and includes initial and replacement purchase, maintenance, repair, and vocational training in use.
Motor vehicle assistance
If employees with severe disabilities have to use a motor vehicle to reach their place of work or training, income-related motor vehicle assistance is available for disability-related additional equipment in a motor vehicle (e.g., steering wheel adaptations, body conversions). The support is possible up to the full amount of the installation and repair costs (see § 49 SGB IX, § 20 SchwbAV i. V. m. Kraftfahrzeughilfe-Verordnung).
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. job change, more convenient location) or for housing adaptations suitable for disabled people. You can find out more on the barrier-free housing page.
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 centers 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 employees 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 disabilities
- current labor market situation (in case of imminent job loss)
- investment costs
- Rationalization effect
- amount of the additional expenses due to the disability
- Performance of the company
The page on barrier-free work places provides further general information.
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 for the general investment costs (see § 15 SchwbAV) are possible. New workplaces are created, for example, through new hires or operational relocations if the old workplace is eliminated and there is a threat of dismissal.
Regular investment costs are the non-disability-related costs that would also be incurred when hiring employees without disabilities (e.g., common work equipment such as furniture, computers, software) or generally improve working conditions (e.g., software updates).
The amount of funding depends on the individual case. However, companies are expected to make a reasonable contribution to the overall costs.
Design of workplaces and training centers suitable for disabled people
The service providers grant subsidies and loans for the design of workplaces and workstations suitable for disabled people, including plant, machinery and equipment.
The subsidy can be up to the full amount of the costs. It covers 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 services for participation in working life for all service providers. In addition, there is a separate binding social code for each rehabilitation provider according to § 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 Levy Ordinance (SchwbAV).
For an initial orientation, the service providers can be delimited as follows:
- The rehabilitation agencies support people with disabilities or impending disabilities so that they can obtain a workplace or maintain their earning capacity if the disability has newly occurred or the state of health has drastically deteriorated.
- As an authority, the Integration Office / Inclusion Office always provides services subordinate to the rehabilitation agencies and also only in the case of a recognized severe disability or equality.
Which service provider is responsible depends on the social laws, the cause of the disability (e.g. accident at work) or the individual insurance periods.
For employees with a 15-year waiting period or who receive a pension due to (partially) reduced earning capacity, the pension insurance institutions are responsible (see § 16 SGB VI in conjunction with § 49 SGB IX). The pension insurance institutions also grant benefits for participation in working life if a pension due to reduced earning capacity would have to be paid without these benefits or if they are necessary for the successful securing of a medical rehabilitation immediately afterwards. Since one of the aims of rehabilitation in pension insurance is to avert or delay a pension due to reduced earning capacity ("rehabilitation before pension"), younger insured persons can also receive benefits for participation in working life without fulfilling the 15-year waiting period (Section 11 (2a) 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 citizen's benefits (also: basic benefits for jobseekers) through the job centers, provided that no other rehabilitation agency is responsible (see SGB III).
The statutory accident insurance institutions are responsible for occupational reintegration following accidents at work or on the way to work or occupational illnesses. These include the employers' liability insurance associations (Berufsgenossenschaften), which are organized by industry, the agricultural employers' liability insurance associations (landwirtschaftliche Berufsgenossenschaften), and the accident insurance funds (Unfallkassen).
Eligible beneficiaries are people with a health impairment for whom the community is responsible in a special way. These include, for example, soldiers in the Federal Armed Forces, employees of the Federal Border Guard, victims of acts of violence, vaccination victims, and victims of imprisonment for political reasons in the former GDR or in certain expulsion areas. The bodies responsible for social compensation in the event of health damage are the state pension offices, pension offices, main welfare offices or integration offices (for people with severe disabilities in accordance with SGB IX Part 2) and welfare offices for war victims (§ 26, 26 a BVG). The core of social compensation law is the Federal Benefits Act (BVG), to which the other laws refer as subsidiary laws (e.g. Victims Compensation Act OEG, Prisoners Assistance Act HHG).
People who receive social assistance and are significantly limited physically, mentally or emotionally are entitled to rehabilitation services within the framework of integration assistance, provided that no other institution is responsible. The group of persons entitled to benefits also includes students. The providers of integration assistance are determined by the federal states and can be, for example, the cities, counties, 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 authorities (youth welfare offices) or the municipalities (independent cities, counties) are responsible for the services, if no other agency is responsible (see § 86 SGB VIII, § 35 a SGB VIII).
Integration offices (in some federal states: Inclusion offices) support both employees and companies within the framework of "accompanying assistance in working life" by providing financial assistance from funds from the equalization levy. They also provide advice and information on all issues relating to participation in working life (§ 185 SGB IX). Integration offices only provide services for employees with a recognized severe disability or equal status, including civil servants and self-employed persons for whom no rehabilitation agency is responsible. They provide benefits subordinate to the rehabilitation agencies 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 are 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 grant 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.