Frequently asked questions
on the coronavirus

We have compiled a list of questions and answers about the Corona virus for you - both with regard to social counseling and student financing; as well as specifically for residents of the Studierendenwerk Hamburg housing complexes or in general.

**As a general information pelase note that an English translation of all texts and documents is provided as a matter of service only. The German version of all relevant texts and documents is the only legally binding version**

General info


I have lost my job and am currently unable to work or can only work a little. Am I now entitled to social benefits?

As a rule, students are not entitled to unemployment benefits via the Employment Agency, as they have not previously paid into the unemployment insurance scheme. Only those who have previously been employed subject to social insurance may be entitled to claim ALG I under certain circumstances if they can prove that they are currently available to the labor market for at least 15 hours a week.

The relevant regulations can be found in the Technical Instructions on Section 139 of the Third Book of the Social Code (SGB III) (see p. 6, Selection 139.2.
You can obtain advice in this regard from your competent employment agency.

In principle, full-time students are not entitled to unemployment benefit II, i.e. benefits according to the Second Social Security Code ("Hartz IV"). However, in certain constellations (e.g. semester off, part-time studies), ALG II can be claimed. In addition, full-time students may be eligible for additional needs (e.g. pregnancy, single parenthood, cost-intensive nutrition) as a grant and ALG II as a hardship loan.

The relevant regulations can be found in the technical instructions on § 7 SGB II (see p. 61, selection 5.5.2) and on § 27 SGB II at https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/datei/dok_ba015866.pdf.
You can get advice from your responsible jobcenter and from our Counselling Centre for Social & International Affairs - BeSI


Housing allowance as a subsidy for rent is only possible in certain constellations (see). The type of housing and the amount of rent play a role in the examination of the claim for housing allowance, as do the type and amount of income/assets and the question of why, in the case of a BAföG rejection, this is not granted. Thus, the loss of job income or income from self-employment does not automatically lead to a housing allowance claim. International students with a residence for the purpose of study/"visa" must have the necessary means of subsistence without a housing allowance and should seek advice from Studierendenwerk Hamburg before applying for a housing allowance in order to avoid the Foreigners' Registration Office revoking the residence permit and requesting the student to leave the country.

You can find more info here, your housing allowance office here.


Students with a refugee background whose asylum procedure has not yet been completed and who received benefits under the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz) before taking up employment or in addition to their job income should report the loss of their job to the relevant office in order to receive benefits again or to a greater extent.

Students with children should urgently have their entitlement to the child supplement checked, the application for which has currently been made easier due to the effects of the coronavirus.
Detailed information on the so-called "Emergency-KiZ" can be found here.
If you have any questions about your entitlement and the application process, please contact the  Familienkasse Nord
In addition, due to the changed income situation in the family, additional benefits according to ALG II and/or housing allowance may be possible

I still have my job, but I am exempt/not getting shifts due to the Corona situation. New job available?

First of all, you have to distinguish whether you are on leave or whether you are entitled to continued payment of wages. You can find detailed information on the different scenarios on the website der DGB-Jugend


Regardless of the employment and social security regulations, even if you are not currently working in your first job, you are still registered in tax class 1. If you take up a second job, this will have to be registered in tax class 6. If you have any questions about this, you can contact the student tax advice service of the AStA of the University of Hamburg or the tax office responsible for your place of residence.


Can I apply for short-time allowance if I previously had a mini-job or a working student job?

No. Entitlement to short-time allowance is conditional on prior payment into unemployment insurance. This is not the case for mini-jobs, short-term employment and student jobs.

You can find detailed information on the topic of short-time work on the website of the DGB Youth.

The start of the lecture period at my university has been postponed. Can I work more than 20 hours now?

The 20-hour rule applies during the lecture period. As long as this has not officially started again, you are in the lecture-free period and can therefore also work more than 20 hours per week.

You can find the relevant legal basis on page 16 of the "Versicherungsrechtlichen Beurteilung von beschäftigten Studenten und Praktikanten"

I have lost my part-time job. Where can I find jobs?

    You can check the popular online job portals for one, e.g.:

    In addition, there are currently areas that have increased staffing needs. Try to actively apply there:

    • Food and beverage delivery services
    • Supermarkets, grocery stores
    • Logistics
    • Cleaning companies
    • Gas stations
    • Harvest workers (https://www.daslandhilft.de)

    I was self-employed/freelance during my studies, but currently have no orders. Do I have any claims for compensation?

    A claim for compensation under the Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz, IfSG) may exist if specific official bans on activities or quarantine measures are ordered by the authorities against a person who poses a risk of infection in an individual case. In this context, it should be noted: Voluntary quarantine does not trigger a claim for compensation.

    Detailed informationen of compensation according to § 56 IfSG can be found on the FAQ page of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

    With regard to health insurance, you also have the option of applying for a deferral of your contributions. You can find more information on the website of the Künstlersozialkasse. If you are voluntarily insured, contact your statutory health insurance fund immediately.

    Applications for deferment of payment must be made in writing, either by mail (registered mail), by fax (with confirmation of transmission), or by e-mail (with confirmation of reading) to the respective creditor. It is advisable to keep the deferral request and the proof of dispatch/receipt in a safe place.

    Change of status (leave of absence or exmatriculation)

    I am considering taking a leave of absence or exmatriculation. What do I have to consider and am I then entitled to ALGII?

    As a rule, leave of absence is only granted for certain reasons that are specified in the enrollment regulations of the respective university, e.g. pregnancy and birth, childcare, care of relatives, health impairments. If applicable, an activity in the medical field also constitutes a reason for leave of absence. Whether the current economic situation can also trigger a leave of absence should be clarified directly with your university.

    If so, please note that from the time of the leave of absence, the BAföG entitlement ceases, and the BAföG already received for the semester started will be reclaimed, as the leave of absence applies retroactively from the beginning of the semester. Student loans and scholarships are also suspended during a leave of absence. If your parents receive child benefits for you or you receive child benefits for yourself, this will also cease during a pandemic-related leave of absence. A leave of absence is irreversible.

    In addition, during a leave of absence, your student status in the social security system is no longer valid. This means that if you are able to return to work before the end of the semester in which you took a leave of absence, you can no longer be employed as a working student. The employer would then have to employ you instead as an employee subject to social insurance or as a marginal employee (mini-job), which could be disadvantageous for you.

    For students with children, a leave of absence may possibly affect the scope of the daycare voucher if the children return to care before the end of the semester.

    A de-registration has the same consequences for social security and the financial instruments mentioned under Leave of Absence. However, BAföG previously received for the current semester does not have to be repaid immediately.

    Furthermore, exmatriculation leads to the loss of the student tariff in the health insurance. Depending on the life situation, other types of insurance may then be considered (e.g. family insurance, voluntary insurance, compulsory insurance via the job).

    A significant difference to leave of absence in terms of study and examination law is that an exmatriculation does not always entitle the student to a place at university. Exceptions can be health impairments as well as taking up a job in the medical field due to the current high demand for such personnel. The loss of a study place can mean that students may have to continue studying in a newer examination regulation when they re-apply for a higher semester. Especially if you are already well advanced in your studies, this is not advisable. It is therefore essential that you seek advice from your faculty/department beforehand.  

    International students are strongly advised not to de-register, as they risk losing their residence permit.

    For students with children, the same applies to the daycare voucher as to the leave of absence.

    Both a leave of absence and an exmatriculation can in principle lead to a claim to ALG II. However, this entitlement is linked to further conditions, e.g. to whom you live with and how high the income/assets of you and the persons living with you are. You should therefore seek advice on your entitlement and the application procedure from the job center responsible for you. Our Counselling Centre for Social & International Affairs - BeSI can also advise you on this topic

    Health insurance

    I can no longer pay my health insurance because I have no income due to the current situation

    Health insurance coverage is a requirement for enrollment/re-registration. If students in the compulsory student insurance do not pay their contributions, the health insurance company can suspend health insurance coverage and must inform the university. In these cases, students may be subject to de-registration. In addition, the suspension of coverage has fatal consequences for all insured persons, regardless of the tariff, in times of a pandemic, since only emergency treatments are covered.

    If you are currently unable to pay your premiums due to the effects of the pandemic, please contact your health insurance company immediately and request a deferral of your premium payments; this is currently also possible by e-mail. Under certain circumstances, the health insurance company may ask you to provide appropriate proof. If your request for a deferral is rejected, try to arrange payment in installments as an alternative.

    Please note:

    If you already had payment difficulties prior to the COVID 19 pandemic and agreed to pay in installments, for example, be sure to clarify your other options with your health insurance provider. It may be helpful to pay off at least a portion of the older debt so that the current premium payments can be deferred or paid in installments.



    Social counselling and student financing

    Financial hardship

    Due to the pandemic, I have a reduced monthly income / no job income and therefore can no longer cover my living expenses. What options are there for support?

    Interim financial aid - grant from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

    The interim financial aid for students in pandemic-related emergencies will expire on September 30, 2021, as scheduled. Please see the press release dated Aug. 25, 2021
    Applications will not be accepted after 9/30/2021. Students who have submitted an application by 9/30/2021 may continue to view it until at least the end of October 2021. Student and Student Services will process all applications received by 9/30/2021.

    If you are still in a financial emergency or have questions about student financing, please feel free to contact our Counselling Centre for Social & International Affairs – BeSI.


    Hamburger Corona Emergency Loan

    With the resumption of the Interim financial aid for students in emergency situations by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Hamburg Corona Emergency Loan for students has been discontinued.

    If you have questions about repayment or deferment of the Hamburger Corona Emergency Loan, you can find more information here.

    If you are still in a financial emergency or have questions about student financing, please feel free to contact our Counselling Centre for study financing – BeSt.


    What happens if I can't repay the Hamburger Corona emergency loan?

    In justified exceptional cases, students may submit a written request for deferral of the repayment amount. The responsible office in the Studierendenwerk decides on the deferral application (cf. guidelines of the Corona Emergency Loan). The decision is made in analogous application of § 62 of the State Budget Code of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (LHO), which also allows the options of a write-off or waiver of the debt in cases of particular hardship. These are decisions on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the respective individual circumstances. Further information here.




    I have pandemic related questions concerning my BAföG funding. Where can I get answers?

    If you have questions, please contact the Counselling Centre for Study FinancingBeSt.

    Please note that the official language in the BAföG office is German. You can find Corona-FAQs in German on this website.


    KfW Student Loan

    Can I apply for the KfW student loan as a foreign student?

    Unfortunately, foreign students can only receive the KfW Student Loan in some cases. Details see here.The special regulation for international students was valid until 01.03.2021. The interest-free period in the disbursement phase is valid until 31.12.2021, after which the regular interest rate is applied.

    If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.




    I am an international student and want to find out about a possible trip home. Where can I do that?

    The Foreign Office of the German Federal Government provides regular information on current travel and security advice.
    You can also obtain information from the embassy/consulate of your home country in Germany.

    Please note: You should contact your German university before you travel home. If you live in a student dormitory, please also contact the dormitory administration.

    Loneliness, fears

    I am overwhelmed with the current overall situation and am afraid of how to proceed.

    On the one hand, you can contact the psychological counseling service at your university. Students of the HfMT and the HfbK, whose universities do not have their own counseling service, are also advised by the University of Hamburg.

    In addition, there are a number of counseling services that can be reached directly by phone or chat.
    You can find the corresponding contacts here.

    For residents of the Studierendenwerk students residence


    I would like to sign my contract, give notice or similar, but the BeWo is currently closed.

    The Counselling Centre Accommodation – BeWo is currently closed, but by phone Monday and Tuesday and Thursday and Friday each from 9:00 to 16:00 we are available for you at 040 / 41 902 268. We also answer all e-mails promptly: write to: bewo@studierendenwerk-hamburg.de. Rental contracts are always sent to you in advance by email. Please check your email inbox regularly and if necessary also your spam folder. Please scan the printed and signed contract and email it back to us.

    On the day you move in, you will receive the original rental contract on site at the housing complex.

    I am moving into the apartment complex soon, what will the move in look like?

    If you are entering from a risk area, you are required to get tested. Otherwise, you must go into quarantine for 14 days and report to the health office. There must be no contact with other housemates or only under strict hygiene precautions (wearing masks, keeping your distance, using your own sanitary facilities if possible, delivering food, staggering the time of food preparation, frequent ventilation, frequent disinfecting/washing of surfaces). If there are any problems, please contact the house management. We will take care of you. No one need fear being left alone and without supplies!

    Exceptions to quarantine apply to persons who have a medical certificate (this is the test result signed by the laboratory physician) in German or in English stating that there is no evidence of infection with the coronavirus. The certificate must be based on a molecular biological test that is not older than 48 hours at the time of entry.

    The following list of the RKI shows the countries from which quality-assured tests are recognized in Germany: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Tests.html.

    If the country you are entering from is not on this list, you can have the test done in Germany first.

    The quarantine can only be lifted early by a negative test result. We recommend to stay in quarantine for one week despite the test and to do a second test if necessary. Please note: The exemption from quarantine is only valid if you do not show any symptoms indicating illness with COVID-19. If symptoms appear within 14 days after entry, contact the responsible health department immediately.

    I am moving out at the end of the month, what do I need to consider?

    As a general rule, move-outs can be brought forward as far as possible. Your property management will check this possibility by asking all those moving out in writing or by telephone. When you move out, you have the option of leaving the key in an envelope in the property manager's mailbox. In this way, a contactless room handover can be ensured.

    Rent payments

    Can you waive rent payments for me?

    No. However, we can suspend the debiting of the rent and we will arrange an individual installment payment. In this case we will contact you with a separate letter. This will specify the installment payment agreed with you.

    Can I pay my rent later?

    Yes, it is possible. No one should lose their place to stay at this time because of the Corona pandemic! We will therefore allow you a deferral of payment. Please contact your responsible administrator immediately by phone. We will arrange the modalities with you.

    I lost my job because of the Corona pandemic and I can't pay my rent in full. What can I do?

    Please pay in advance the amount you can afford. We will arrange payment in installments for the remaining amount. Please contact your responsible administrator as soon as possible.

    May I remit rent later if I lost my job due to the Corona pandemic?

    Please contact your account manager immediately. We can agree to suspend the bank debit for the coming month. There are no overdue fines. Nevertheless, we will send you an overview of the outstanding amounts every month. This way you and we can keep track of everything.

    Can I pay my rent in smaller installments if I have gotten into trouble due to the Corona pandemic?

    We understand that due to the current exceptional situation caused by the Corona pandemic, payment difficulties may occur. We will gladly try to find a workable solution together with you. Please contact us by e-mail or phone, e.g. to arrange an installment payment. We will find an individual solution for you!

    There are no additional costs for the installment payment.

    Übersetze nach Englisch (US) I can no longer pay my rent in cash, where can I pay my rent?

    Since the Counselling Centre Accommodation – BeWo is currently closed, it is not possible to pay your rent or deposit in cash. Please transfer the rent.

    Financial hardship

    I have lost my job - am I now entitled to housing benefit?

    Please see the answer to this question here.


    I would like to terminate my lease at short notice, is that possible?

    If you want to cancel, our 6-week cancellation period to the end of the month applies. Please contact the Counselling Centre Accommodation – BeWo immediately. Please note that you are obligated to pay the rent and to hand over your room in a contractual condition until the end of your lease.

    I am moving out at the end of the month, what do I need to consider?

    As a general rule, extractions should be made with as little contact as possible. Mouth-to-nose masks must be worn and distance kept during pre- and final move-outs. When you move out, you have the option of leaving the key in an envelope in the property management mailbox. This will ensure a non-contact room handover.

    Can I renew my lease?

    Yes, this is possible, as long as we have not already sublet your room. Please send us your enrollment certificate for the winter semester 2020/21. We will check if your lease can be extended until 31.03.2021. Please send your request to bewo@studierendenwerk-hamburg.de.

    I have given notice to quit my apartment in due time and would now like to stay longer due to the current situation after all

    If your room/apartment is not yet sublet, you can withdraw the notice. If we already have a follow-up rental, it may be possible to move to another room - a move application must be submitted. Please contact the team at the Beratungszentrum Wohnen - BeWo. They will be happy to help you!


    I signed a lease, but now I can't move in after all because of the Corona pandemic.

    Do I have the possibility to cancel at short notice?

    No, it is no longer possible to cancel at short notice, as we assume that everyone has weighed up in advance whether they would like to move into one of our residential facilities - with all the associated uncertainties of the change in the infection situation. If you have any questions, please contact the Counselling Centre Accommodation – BeWo.



    Dealing with Corona in the residence halls of the Studierendenwerk

    Is there a risk that my apartment complex will be closed and I will lose my apartment?

    No, the dormitories are not closed. If there is a case of infection in the dormitory, each case is documented by the local health department. Appropriate quarantine requirements then apply to the person(s) affected or to the entire dormitory.

    What does dorm life currently look like - are meetings or parties allowed in shared rooms or on balconies?

    What is currently allowed and what is prohibited in Hamburg, you can read here.

    Despite the relaxation, we appeal to your common sense: Be considerate of others, even those you don't know! Take responsibility by wearing a mask (correctly) and keeping your distance!

    I suspect that I am infected, what should I do?

    If an infection with the coronavirus is suspected, contact your doctor exclusively by telephone or contact the emergency medical service at 116117.

    Persons who have had contact with a person confirmed to be infected with Covid-19 should contact the public health department responsible for their district directly, even if they have no symptoms! You can find your local health department by zip code here. Please also inform the Studierendenwerk immediately via your house administration.

    What happens if an infection with the Covid19 pathogen has been detected in my shared apartment/hallway?

    The infected person must go into domestic quarantine and may only leave it after 14 days. We keep regular telephone contact with the infected person.

    The care of the sick person is currently organized through solidary neighborly help of the dormitory - no one has to fear not to be cared for because of an illness. We support our house and home self-administrators and all other local volunteers in caring for ill residents.

    What can I do to protect myself?

    The best way to protect yourself is to follow these hygiene rules:

    • Wash your hands regularly and very thoroughly.
    • Cough and sneeze only into the crook of your arm, turning to the side. Use a handkerchief, which you dispose of immediately afterwards.
    • Keep your distance! Not only to sick people! 
    • Wear a mask on buses, trains and while shopping! Please make sure that the mask covers mouth and nose completely.

    You can find the most important hygiene tips here.



    Dealing with the corona virus

    What are you doing at Corona times for my safety in the dining halls and cafes?

    Before we opened our refectories and cafés, we drew up a comprehensive hygiene concept in collaboration with external hygiene experts. All employees have been trained in this regard. We ensure sufficient distance everywhere, have set the tables apart and everything in contact with customers is regularly disinfected.

    What do I need to keep in mind when visiting the dining halls and cafés?

    We are always happy when you come, but please visit us only when you feel healthy. If you want to stay in our cafeteria or café, we need your contact information. You can find the form for the data here. In the serving area, at the cash registers and in the corridors you are required to wear a mask. Please keep a distance of 1.5 meters. Please pay cashless in the establishments where it is possible.

    Is my personal data, which I have to provide when visiting the dining halls and cafés, protected?

    In order to be able to trace a possible chain of infection as comprehensively as possible and at short notice in the context of the fight against the Corona virus, we are obliged under the Infection Protection Act (IfSG) to record the contact details of persons not employed by the Studierendenwerk. For this purpose, we record your data on the forms provided.

    Who is responsible for data processing?

    Responsible office: Studierendenwerk Hamburg AöR, Von-Melle-Park 2, 20146 Hamburg, Tel.: +49 (40) 41902-0, E-Mail: info@Studierendenwerk-hamburg.de, Managing Director: Mr. Jürgen Allemeyer

    Data protection officer (external): Gabriele Paulsen - glp consulting, datenschutz@studierendenwerk-hamburg.de                    

    On what legal basis do we collect the data?

    The legal basis for processing your personal data in this regard is the Infection Protection Act (IfSG) of July 20, 2000 (BGBl. I p. 1045), last amended on March 27, 2020 (BGBl. I p. 587), in conjunction with the Hamburg SARS-CoV-2 Containment Ordinance of April 2, 2020 (HmbGVBl. p. 181), last amended on June 08, 2020.

    To which recipients will the data be passed on?

    Your data will be stored exclusively at our company and will only be forwarded to the responsible health authority upon request in the context of a possible Covid 19 infection.

    How long will the data be stored?

    Your data will be stored by us for the above-mentioned purposes for a maximum of four weeks. After that, the data will be deleted from our system, unless in the case of a Covid 19 infection further data storage is initiated by the responsible health authority.