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Unemployment Benefits (Arbeitslosengeld)

Validity Period

Its all about your visa valid date. For example if some body lost the job from 01.09.2009 and his visa is valid till 01.01.2010. That means you are eligible to stay legally in Germany and get unemployment money till 01.01.2010.
They will not extend your visa further if you didn't find the job before your visa expires.
Its all your luck, when you loose the job how long you have a valid visa matters.

There is no issues for people who is holding unlimited visa - permanent residence visa.  This is a problem for people how is holding limited visa like for 1 year or 2 years.

Eligibility

You are entitled to unemployment benefit if you fulfil all of the following requirements (Ref):
  1. One must be unemployed
  2. One must have completed the qualifying period : minimum 2 years
  3. One must have registered as unemployed in person. Register with the Arbeitsamt three months before the contract ends or the day you are layed off.
  4. One need to have a valid visa when one is unemployed . (Please crosscheck)
  5. Not always but many have faced this too, that to get unemployment benefit our visa should not be company dependent. (Please crosscheck)
NOTES:
  1. visa does not become company independent before a person works minimum 24 months and it has to be applied for.
  2. You are classed as unemployed if you have no work at all or if you work for less than 15 hours a week for an employer or on a self-employed basis.

Register in the Arbeitsamt as seeking employment so that they would let you know if any suitable vacancies comes up.
 
Prior to 2005, between 12 and 36 months (depending upon the claimant's age and work history) of their full unemployment pay (60 to 67% of the previous net salary) were followed by Arbeitslosenhilfe (unemployment benefits, 53 to 57% of the last net salary). Since 2005, reception of full unemployment pay (renamed Arbeitslosengeld I), has been restricted to 12 months in general and 18 months for over 55 year-olds. This is now followed by (usually much lower) Arbeitslosengeld II if the claimant fits the requirements

How much amount?

The amount of unemployment benefit you receive is based on your average weekly pay on which statutory insurance contributions were levied in the last year before becoming eligible to claim (the assessment period).

The resulting gross earnings figure (gross assessed earnings) is then subject to deductions at a fixed rate. These deductions take the form of social insurance contributions in an amount of 21 per cent of your gross assessed earnings, income tax
and solidarity tax.

Your unemployment benefit is 67 per cent of your net assessed earnings (gross assessed earnings after deductions) if you have at least one child who you can claim tax relief for, and 60 per cent if you do not.


Procedure

You have to register yourself in Arbeitsamt (Job Center) where your living (stadtteil). Once after registration and screening, they will let you know whether your are eligible to get financial support or not.
 
References:
  1. Office address near to your location: http://www.arbeitsagentur.de/Navigation/Dienststellen/Dienststellen-Nav.html
  2. Hartz concept : Rule related to Arbeitslosengeld I and Arbeitslosengeld II
  3. Various Forms
  4. Information from Govt Website in English
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