People with Special Needs

What rights are people with disabilities entitled to in Germany?

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In German social law, disability is defined as a non-temporary condition that leads to diminishing physical or cognitive abilities, only if it is induced by an irregular state, rather than old age or a temporary illness. If you have disability (“Behinderung”) or a severe condition (“Schwerbehinderung”), you will receive an ID card which indicates the degree of your disability and enables you – depending on the type and degree of disability - to benefit from special services like discounts on public transport costs, barrier-free parking spaces and more.

German administration is extensively decentralised, so the Commissioner for People with Disabilities (“Behindertenbeauftragter”) in each District Office (“Bezirksamt”) is responsible for the affairs relevant to people with special needs who live in the proximity. The responsible person at the District Office can also provide useful advice on a broad range of financial, educational and professional support available to you in your residential district.

Regulations and aids for people with disability

Recognised degrees of disability

What does the law say?

Support for the people with disability

Children with special needs

Asylum seekers with special needs

Support during the initial months of arrival

Special needs and insurance

Medical assistance for people without papers


Unfortunately, there is still no nationwide barrier-free emergency call centre for people with hearing impairments. In some cities, there are regional emergency numbers which you can also contact via SMS. Private app providers such as Handhelp, Tess and MeinNotruf are alternative options for a voice-free emergency call. Another aid option is InstantHelp. However, this app might not be very useful for people with hearing impairments.