How long can I receive benefits?

You can claim benefits for up to 2 years, with a possibility to prolong, if you become unemployed. However, this requires that you meet the basic requirements for receiving benefits – including being available for the labour market.

Two-year benefit rights

If you become unemployed, you are entitled to receive benefits for 3,848 hours in a period of 36 months.

The 3,848 hours are equivalent to 2 years of benefit rights, which must be used within 3 years.

Benefits are calculated in hours and are paid into your account for entire calendar months at a time. If you receive full benefits in your first month of unemployment, you use up 160.33 hours of your benefit rights. This leaves 3,687.67 hours (3,848 minus 160.33).


Earning a new 2-year benefit period

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 126,81 for 2020. Income from your own business is distributed evenly over the accounting year. Note that no more than 160.33 hours per month may be included for full-time insured members. For part-time insured members the number is 130. 

Only unsubsidized employment counts towards earning new benefit rights. That is, jobs with wage subsidy, company internships, ”senior jobs” or job rotation do not count towards the total number of hours.

If you start working and then become unemployed before you have earned the right to a new 2-year period, you continue using the benefit right hours left over from the first time you earned rights.

If your benefit rights expire before you have worked 1,924 hours, you can extend your benefit rights by up to 1 year. For part-time insured members the number is 1,258.


Prolonging benefit rights by working hours

If you run out of benefits before you have earned the right to a new benefit period, you can prolong your benefit period by the hours you worked since you last earned benefit rights.

If you had paid work while you were unemployed, you can exchange the working hours for benefits in a ratio of 1 to 2.

Your benefit rights are thus prolonged by 2 hours for every hour of work while you were out of work. The period that you can spend hours in – your “reference period” – is prolonged in a ratio of 1 to 3, plus 1 month. 


If your combined work came to 300 hours, you can choose to prolong your benefit rights by 600 hours, which must be used within 900 plus 160.33 hours (= 6 plus 1 months).

Up to you

You decide whether you want to prolong your benefit rights, and how many of your saved hours you want to exchange for more benefits. However, you cannot prolong your benefit rights by more than 1,924 hours (= 1 year), which must be used within 18 months. 

Hours can be used only once

Note that working hours used to prolong your benefit period cannot be used to earn a new 2-year benefit period. You must choose either to use the hours for prolonging the benefit period or save them for earning a new 2-year benefit period.

We will write you when your benefit rights are about to run out to tell you how many working hours you can use toprolongyour right to benefits.

No senior job until after extension

If you contribute to the early retirement scheme (efterløn) and run out of benefit rights when your early retirement age is less than 5 years away, you are entitled to a “seniorjob”. But you must first use up all your rights to an prolonged benefit period.


Previous unemployment may shorten benefit rights to less than 2 years

If you have received benefits for a total of 4 years in the last 8 years, your benefit rights are reduced by 1 month.

Example 1: Members who become unemployed from 1 July 2017 generally have 2 years (3,848 hours) with benefit rights. But if you were unemployed before and already received benefits for a total of 4 years since 1 July 2009, your benefit rights are reduced to 1 year and 11 months. 

Example 2: Members who are already unemployed on 1 July 2017 will also have a shorter benefit period. For example, if you have been unemployed for 6 months (962 hours) of your 2-year benefit period, the 4-year limit means that your benefit rights are reduced to 5 months (801.65 hours) rather than 6 months.