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Earning benefit rights

In order to be entitled to benefits, you must have been a member of an unemployment fund for a least a year (unless you have just graduated).

You also have to:

  • Have had a certain income or a certain number of worked hours, depending on your situation.
  • Have had residence in Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland or in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland for a total of 7 years within the last 12 years. This is called the Residence requirement

If you haven't received benefits before

Unemployed after work

To gain benefit rights, you must fulfil an income requirement on the basis of earned income over the last 3 years. This is found as the sum of all A-income (income taxed at source) and B-income (income not taxable at source) plus profits from an own business.

You can claim benefits if you have had a total earned income of at least DKK 238.512 (2020 figure) within the last 3 years. Your income is assessed on a monthly basis, and you can include no more than DKK 19.876,- per month (2020 figures). Your monthly income from running your own business is assessed by distributing the year’s profits over the months of the accounting year.

Even if you cannot fulfil this requirement, you may still be able to gain benefit rights if your total income over the last 5 years was at least DKK 238.512 (2020 figure). However, only income from running your own business is included.
The period for which we assess your work income over either 3 or 5 years may be extended by up to 2 years for periods in which you received sickness or parental benefits, etc. Only income earned while you were a member of an unemployment fund is included.

Income amounts are regulated every year, see per-year amounts on

These types of income can be included:

  • A-income from paid work, provided it was reported to the tax authorities’ income register by your employer(s). Normal terms of employment and pay must have applied
  • B-income for which the labour market contribution (AMB) was paid, and which is not part of business profits
  • Income from running your own business:
    • From a personally owned business: taxable profits before interest and other financial items, as they appear from Field 111 in the tax authorities’ annual tax statement (årsopgørelse)
    • From a business operated in corporate form (an ApS, A/S or similar), over which you have controlling influence.* You can include profits in relation to your ownership share of the company’s taxable result plus A-income paid by the company
    • Income from running your own business, evenly distributed over the accounting year. Note that such income cannot be stated for this purpose before it appears from the annual tax statement. For an owner-managed company, this happens on July 1 in the year following the accounting year 

*You are considered as having controlling influence if you, individually or with your close family, own at least 50% of the company.

Unemployed after having been self-employed

If you were self-employed, you must have run your business for at least 12 month in the last three years. Only periods in which the company was your main job and with a certain turnover can be included. We must be convinced that your work corresponded to full-time paid employment.

Unemployed after graduation

You are entitled to benefits when you have completed an education of 18 months or longer. You should always contact CA within 14 days of your graduation.

You can claim benefits the day after graduation if you have been a member of an unemployment fund for at least 1 year before completing your education.

You can claim benefits after a month if you have been a member of an unemployment fund for less than 1 year before you completed your education. 

You must join within 14 days of completing your education to be entitled to benefits if you are not an unemployment fund member.

Residence Requirement

The new rules apply from 1 January 2019 but if you already receive unemployment benefits you will not lose your current right.

The residence requirement is gradually phased in until 2021, so that if you become unemployed in

  • 2019, you must have resided in the realm or the EU/the EEA/Switzerland for at least 5 out of 12 years.
  • 2020, you must have resided in the realm or the EU/the EEA/Switzerland for at least 6 out of 12 years.
  • 2021 or later, you must have resided in the realm or the EU/the EEA/Switzerland for at least 7 out of 12 years.

This means, that when the law is fully phased in, unemployment fund members must have stayed in the realm (Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland) or in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland for a total of 7 years within the last 12 years to be entitled to unemployment benefits.

Exceptions from the residence requirement

All periods with residence in another EEA-country, Greenland, Faroe Island or Switzerland are comparable with periods with residence in Denmark

Periods in other countries are only comparable with residence in Denmark if one of the following conditions apply:

  1. Work on a Danish ship or offshore drilling rig.
  2. Residence abroad as the emissary of a Danish public authority.
  3. Residence abroad otherwise employed in the interest of Denmark.
  4. Residence abroad in the employment of a branch or subsidiary company of a Danish firm.
  5. Residence abroad with a view to training or education for a profession (that is, as a part of a substantive qualifying education)
  6. Residence abroad as a scholar at a foreign university, a foreign research institution or a foreign company.
  7. Periods during which your partner, spouse or registered partner fulfilled one or more of the conditions described in items 1-6, subject to the condition that you were cohabiting during the period, and that you had established joint residence in Denmark before leaving.
  8. Periods in which as a minor (under 18 years of age) you lived with a parent who fulfilled one or more of the conditions described in items 1-6.
  9. Periods abroad before you turned 18, if as a minor you resided in this realm/the EEA/Switzerland for a total of at least 7 years regardless whether or not your parents fulfilled on or more of the conditions described in items 1-6.

Click here to learn more about the residence requirement - and the exceptions.


If you have received benefits before

You are entitled to a new 2-year benefit right when you have had a certain number of working hours, either as a wage earner, a freelancer or a self-employed person since you last claimed benefits.

If you were in an employed position, you must have had at least 1,924 paid hours over the last 3 years, reported by your employer. This is equal to 1 year’s full-time work. For part-time insured, the requirement is for 1,258 wage hours.

Income from work as a self-employed person or as a freelancer is comparable to wage hours after conversion into hours. Your income is converted into hours, using a conversion factor of 123,96 for 2019. Income from your own business is distributed evenly over the accounting year; however, no more than 160.33 hours per month can be included for full-time insured members, 130 hours for members on part time. 

Residence Requirement

Please note, that you must be able to meet residence requirement at the time, when you waive the conditions for a new 2 year right for unemployment benefits.

Click here to learn more about the residence requirement

If you run your own business

If you have been self-employed there are certain rules to be aware of when earning benefit rights and regarding the calculation of benefit rates. 

Learn more >