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Dagpenge: How Danish unemployment benefit rules are set to change

The Local Denmark
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Dagpenge: How Danish unemployment benefit rules are set to change
If you've left your job in Denmark it's worth knowing about the new changes to unemployment benefit, or "dagpenge" rules. Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

New rules for dagpenge, the uninsurance benefits which you can qualify for through membership of private insurance funds known as A-kasser, take effect on May 1st.

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The new rules mean that the monthly benefit for certain groups is increased during their first three months of unemployment.

However, people who graduate from higher education after May 1st and are looking for work will receive less than they did under the outgoing rules, once they have received dagpenge for three months.

A language requirement will also be introduced for new graduates and the period in which they can claim dagpenge will be reduced from 2 years within a 3-year period, to 1 year within a 2-year period.

The new rules for dagpenge were adopted by a majority in the Danish parliament in January this year. The specifics of the changes are outlined in further detail below.

READ ALSO: A-kasse: Everything foreigners in Denmark need to know about unemployment insurance 

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For employed or self-employed people, the maximum amount of benefits you can receive under dagpenge system goes up on May 1st, from 19,728 kroner to 23,449 kroner per month.

This applies in the first three months of unemployment, after which the rate returns to the regular amount. It should also be noted that these rates are the maximum you can receive, but you may get less. This is because the rate cannot be more than 90 percent of your former income.

Certain conditions must be met for you to be immediately eligible for dagpenge after losing your employment, and to receive the new higher rate. You must have been an A-kasse member for four continuous years at the time you became unemployed, and have been in employment for a total of two of the last three years.

You must also have had an income that would qualify you for a higher rate than the regular 19,728 kroner per month, based on the payouts being 90 percent of your regular income.

Recent graduates see their cover significantly worsened under the new rules, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the changes apply only to people who register as ledig (unemployed) having completed their studies after May 1st 2023, and therefore begin claiming dagpenge after this date.

People who registered into the system before the new rules came into effect are still encompassed by the previous rules.

For those who are ledig nyuddannet (“unemployed, newly graduated”) on May 1st or later, the benefit rate will be reduced after three months of unemployment.

The period of eligibity for dagpenge is now 1 year within a 2-year period. Until now, the eligibility period was 2 years within a 3-year period. A language requirement has also been introduced, which has not been the case up to now. This is explained in more detail below.

The reduction in the monthly rate after three months does not apply if you have children and are a sole provider for them, and the reduction is less if you are over 30 years old.

This means the rates for new graduates (who graduate after May 1st and then register as job seeking) are as follows:

  • First three months: 14,106 kroner, or 16,177 kroner for parents solely providing for children
  • After three months: 9,700 kroner (under 30); 12,253 kroner (over 30), 16,177 (parents solely providing for children)

Once six months have passed since you graduated, your rate can be reassessed, potentially giving you a better rate based on it being 90 percent of your previous income. You must have worked for at least three months for an income assessment to be made.

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Language requirement

The new language requirement, mentioned above, applies to graduates who receive employment benefits from May 1st onwards.

You fulfil the language requirement if you have passed the Dansk 2 language test (or completed 6th grade at a Danish elementary school). Dansk 2 is the final exam in the national Danish language school system, which all foreign nationals who move to the country can attend.

If you did your degree in Danish, you have already met the requirement. You can read a list of degrees and educational programmes which fulfil the criteria here.

If you do not meet this requirement, there are other ways in which you can remain eligible for unemployment benefits.

These are related to the number of working hours you have accrued and the length of time for which you have had full or partial A-kasse insurance cover.

In short, you need to have worked 600 hours (400 if partially insured) spread across 12 different months within the last two years to be considered as having a strong enough connection (tilknytning) to the labour market to qualify for benefits.

Source: Aka.dk

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