People with Disabilities

a women with a guide dog and a person in a wheelchair with an escort

Refugees with disabilities are eligible for the aid and treatments (e.g. physiotherapy) that they need. The central point of contact for advice for people with disabilities is Berliner Zentrum für Selbstbestimmtes Leben e. V. (BZSL e. V.).

What is a severely handicapped pass

If you have a notice of a disability, you can apply for a severely handicapped pass. The authority responsible is Versorgungsamt des Landesamtes für Gesundheit und Soziales (pension department of the state office for health and social welfare).

With this pass, you can claim special rights and compensation for disadvantages. The health consequences of your disability are recorded with identification marks in the disabled pass. There are two different passes:

  • A single-colour green pass is for disabled people with a disability level of at least 50.
  • A green-orange pass is for disabled people for whom eligibility for reduced-price or free use of local public transport has been determined on the basis of their disability.

For the pass, you need a passport photograph. The pass is also available in several languages for foreign travel. The application form can be found on the Berlin service site.

As a foreign national, you must submit a copy of your passport together with your current residence permit on application. The application is checked on the basis of the medical documents. The average processing time is 100 days.

”If the disability requires benefits for participation …
the Additional Independent Participation Consultation Offices (EUTB) advise. Benefits for participation are benefits that are required by someone due to a disability, e.g. to be able to take part in professional life, in education or their social life. More information – also how and where you can reach these consultation offices – is found here.

What are care levels?

For people dependent upon care, there are various care levels in Germany:

  • Care level 0:
    • This is the precursor to care level I
    • Care level 0 is for people with significantly impaired everyday skills, who need help with basic care (i.e. personal hygiene, eating or mobility) and in the home.
  • Care level I:
    • Care level I is for people with significant care dependency, i.e.:
      • They need help at least once per day with at least two activities from one or more areas of basic care
      • They need help in the home several times per week
      • The time requirement must be an average of at least 90 minutes per day
      • Basic care must account for at least 45 minutes of this
  • Care level II:
    • Care level II is for people with high dependency on care, i.e.:
      • They need help with basic care at least three times per day at different times of day
      • They need help in the home several times per week
      • The time requirement must be an average of at least three hours per day
      • Basic care must account for at least two hours of this
  • Care level III:
    • Care level III is for people with high dependency on care
      • They need care around the clock
      • They need help in the home several times per week
      • The time requirement must be an average of at least five hours per day
      • Basic care must account for at least four hours of this

In addition there is the hardship provision. This takes effect if care level III is satisfied and there is an exceptionally high care requirement. Conditions for this are that either help with basic care (personal hygiene, eating and mobility) for six hours per day and at least three times at night or basic care including at night can be provided only by several carers together. Qualified personal and relatives or volunteers can also work together here.

The classification in a specific care level determines which services you receive from the care insurance. Additionally, you can receive support, including in the form of a care allowance, for care by relatives or volunteers of by outpatient care services and non-cash care benefits. The care insurance is connected in the case of the health insurance companies. They are responsible for questions concerning care level and care insurance.

What is “accessibility”?

In order to be able to experience Berlin even as a person with a disability, there are many accessible provisions. Entry to the public transport is accessible almost everywhere by lifts and ramps. There are also very often guidance systems for the blind at U-Bahn stations. To obtain help from train conductors, always go to the front of the train. The buses in Berlin are all accessible (the exception is tourist route 218). Please board in the middle, as a special space for wheelchairs is available here. The trams are almost all accessible; always board at the front. To give you greater confidence in dealing with public transport, BVG offers free mobility training.

The information pillars in U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations connect you to a central office that can answer your questions if you require assistance. Detailed information can be obtained from BVG.

With the “accessible” sign, facilities indicate that they are equipped for people with disabilities. Over 700 facilities in Berlin carry this sign, including U-Bahn lifts, city toilets, businesses and authorities. Entry to most tourist attractions is accessible. However it is recommended to check at short notice in order to avoid possible disruptions or construction work. Information about accessible cultural amenities can be found at mobidat. Further information can be found on the VisitBerlin internet portal.

Information about leisure facilities for people with disabilities can be found on the site of the state commissioner for people with disabilities.
The state commissioner for people with disabilities regularly publishes event information specifically for people with disabilities.
Information for children and young people with disabilities can be found in stage 2.