Disabled and chronically ill students face many challenges in their studies.
Successful studies of persons with disabilities often require a precise study planning, which has nothing in common with the general requirements of the graduate programme. For not in every course, necessary compensations for disadvantages of the disabled are considered in study/examination rules and the respective spatial situation.
We offer information and advice on the following topics:
- Special compensation arrangement
- Hardship provisions
- Means of support
Beginning a course of study after the upper age limit
It is possible to start studying after the upper age limit if
- a disability or illness makes it necessary to study or
- a disability or illness makes it impossible to start studying before reaching the upper age limit.
Applicants are only eligible for BAföG funding if they start studying immediately after the reasons preventing them from doing so earlier cease to apply or they find themselves in financial need.
Additional hardship allowance on income
An additional hardship allowance may be made in the assessment of parental income or that of the spouse/registered partner if evidence is provided of exceptional additional expenses resulting from a disability.
In this case, the threshold may be shifted in the applicant’s favour. In addition to the disabilities of the student making the application, those of a parent or another dependent family member are taken into account. If that applies to several family members, the allowance increases accordingly.
Additional allowance on assets
In order to avoid undue hardship, it is possible in exceptional cases for students to apply for an additional portion of their assets to be disregarded when calculating their BAföG entitlement. These include:
- A suitable motor vehicle, provided that it would be impossible to study without it.
- Assets that are intended to relieve the consequences of a physical or mental disability or to cover future expenses resulting from a personal injury.
- Assets that are intended to be used to purchase or maintain a property of an appropriate size for disabled persons or those dependent on care to live in, which would be jeopardised by inclusion or use of the assets.
Extension of BAföG funding
Students may be entitled to BAföG beyond the maximum funding period if their period of study is extended on account of disability or for another “serious reason”. In accordance with the General Administrative Regulation on BAföG, a serious illness may constitute a “serious reason” as referred to above.
- Of the disability or serious illness
The BAföG authorities accept certificates issued by other authorities. Examples include the assessment statement from the social security office (Versorgungsamt) or the student’s severely disabled identification card. Other appropriate evidence, for example reports from medical specialists, is permitted. The documents must show the existence of a disability in accordance with the legal definition (2(1) German Social Code, Book IX). Seriously ill students are required to produce reports from medical specialists as appropriate supporting documents.
- Of the disability/illness as the reason for extension of the study period
Individual and concrete proof must be produced that the extension was necessary as a direct result of a disability/serious illness and not because the student fell behind with his or her studies for some other, unrelated reason.
- That it is impossible or unreasonable to avoid this extension.
- Of the actual time lost.
The application for extension must be made before the end of the current funding allocation period.
Additional study-related needs resulting from disability or chronic illness
Students with a disability or chronic illness often rely on technical equipment, student assistants or sign language interpreters during their studies. If students are not able to finance such equipment or services themselves, they may apply to the responsible social welfare organisation for integration support for disabled people pursuant to the Twelfth Book of the German Social Code (SGB XII). Health insurers will finance some assistive equipment.
Care and assistance
If students are dependent on care and assistance, they receive support from the care insurance. If the available support does not cover the costs, students may additionally apply for care assistance pursuant to the Twelfth Book of the German Social Code. State care and state blind person’s benefit are further, supplementary support.
Accommodations for students who are unable to support themselves
Children who became disabled under existing family insurance cover and who are unable to support themselves on account of their disability may remain in the family insurance through their parents beyond the age of 25.
Condition: The disability and the student’s resulting inability to support him/herself must have occurred or existed before the student reaches the age limit. Medical certificates to that effect and the assessment statement from the social security authority may be presented as proof.
Accommodations to extend compulsory student insurance for special personal and family reasons
Compulsory insurance can be extended in justified exceptional cases, but not for an unlimited time. Special family or personal reasons for an extension include an illness lasting at least three months, and disability.
The reasons presented by the student are assessed to establish whether and to what extent they made the extension of study unavoidable. They must be of the kind and severity that they objectively prevent the student from beginning or completing his or her studies or make it appear unreasonable to do so. The health insurer makes an assessment per semester or trimester.
Extension of compulsory insurance on the grounds of disability is generally limited to seven semesters 14 + 7 semesters. The reasons for the extension of the compulsory insurance must be supported by suitable documents. Compulsory inclusion as a student in the statutory health insurance ends, even where so-called impediments apply consistently, at the latest by the age of 37.
The ID card is available by application (usually from the social security authority) for people with a degree of disability (“GdB”) of at least 50. If the degree of disability is 20–40, proof thereof is provided through the assessment statement. The severely disabled ID card can be issued to people who are resident in Germany and therefore does not depend on nationality and residence status.
An application for a severely disabled identification card can be made online. On making the application, it must be indicated whether only the degree or additionally a category of disability is to be considered. Entitlement is usually established based on the evidence. An assessment by a doctor is only made in exceptional cases. A severely disabled ID card is often issued for a limited period of 5 years, unless there is no prospect of improvement.
- Inclusion office of the ABZ
for questions about compensation for disadvantages, support for questions about studies
- Autonomous department of students with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses at the University of Duisburg-Essen (AStA)
Folkwang University of the Arts
Hochschule Ruhr West of Applied Sciences
Thu 11:00 am - 01:00 pm
We also offer arrangements by appointment.
Consultation is also possible in English.