Options for a PhD student regarding membership?


My name is M, and I am interested in becoming a member of A-kasse, however, I have a few questions first that I wondered if you might be able to help me with.

I am British Citizen, but in September 2018 I will have lived in Denmark for nearly two years. I moved here in October 2016, when I began my 3 year PhD at Aarhus university.

My PhD work contract will finish in September 2019. So as I understand, I need to have been a member of A-kasse for one full year before I can receive any Unemployment benefits ("dagpenge"). My first question is - if I sign up now, in August 2018, will I be able to receive my dagpenge starting September 2019?

My second question is regarding the new, potential rule starting from January 2019. According to this, since I have only been in Denmark for two years, but have lived in another EU country (Britain) for 10 years, I should still be able to receive dagpenge? However - does this even apply to me if I apply for my membership prior to this new rule? ​

Otherwise, I have read the remaining 'conditions for entitlement to unemployment benefits ("dagpenge")' and fulfil all criteria. In summary i just wanted to know if I can sign up this month to receive dagpenge next year in September, and if the new law will apply to me since I am becoming a member now, before 2019.

My last question is - as a PhD student/ english speaking academic at Aarhus University - which A-Kasse should I apply to?

Many thanks!

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1 Answer


Hi M,

1) It's not quite correct to write, as you do, that you need to have been member of an A-kasse for one year before you can receive Unemployment benefits ("dagpenge").

As an PhD student you have two options regarding membership of an A-kasse:

Membership in A-kasse after graduate rule

You can become free member of an A-kasse as a graduate, according to the special graduate rule. In this case you dont need to have been member before you apply for dagpenge.

It is the education in it self that qualify you to receive dagpenge. However as graduate you are entitled to receive only 71,5% of the normal "dagpenge" amount. If you have dependent children it is 82%.

However if you have not been member for at least 1 year when you graduate, you must accept a 1 month quarantine with dagpenge.

Paid membership in A-kasse, and getting higher amount in dagpenge

Because you as an PhD student also have a "work contract", you can instead decide to have a normal paid membership, like other workers have.

In this case you need to have been member for at least 1 year before you can apply for dagpenge. And furthermore  you must meet an income-requirement.
The income-requirement says that you must have had an income (before tax) of at least DKK 228,348 (in 2018) during the last 3 years (in total).
Only income obtained during membership periods of an A-kasse can be included.
And regardless of what your monthly income is, you can only count a maximum of DKK 19,029 per month.
This means that regardless of how high salary you have, you always need to have been working for at least 1 year for being eligible for Unemployment benefits ("Dagpenge"). 12x19,029=228,348.
If you earn less than DKK 19,029 every month you must have been member for longer than 1 year, maybe 13 or 14 months depending on you income. It has to be 228,348.

2) If you lived in Britain prior to moving to Denmark, the new rule/residense requirement that will come into effect from January 1, 2019, should not be a problem for you. You will have same right as people who have lived in Denmark all their life.
The only insecurity in this relation, is that Britain will leave EU - we dont know exactly when and what consequences will be according the the social security rights. But we must assume that stay in Britain prior to Brexit
still will be regarded as stay in EU, even though it is no longer an EU-country.
The new rule applies for all people that apply for dagpenge after January 1, 2019. When you signed up for A-kasse has no relevance in this regard.

3) I can see that you work with health/medicine related subjects, so regarding choice of A-kasse, I will only recommend two for you to choose between. The first one called "Akademikernes" is the most popular choice among traditional medicine students and doctors. Akademikerne is the second cheapest A-kasse in Denmark,
so it will be a good choice if membership price is an subject of concern for you.
The other option is "MA A-kasse". Like Akademikernes A-kasse, MA A-kasse is only targeted high educated people, but MA covers more broad than Akademikernes. MA A-kasse has members within humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, IT, communication, health, psychology and pedagogy.
I would recommend you to ask your colleagues which A-kasse they are member of, but in any case I would recommend to become member of one of the two mentioned options, because it will be an advantage for you to become member in an A-kasse targeted high educated people.

You can sign up online as new member in the A-kasser recommended by us using these links:

Akademikernes A-kasse

MA A-kasse.

If you need further help, please comment here.

Best regards,
Anders Weber, www.a-kasser.dk

Hi Anders,

Thank you very much for you reply. I would like to sign up for A-kasse membership this week, so as I understand I have two main options:

1. Sign up as a graduate after finishing my PhD. I should be eligible to receive 71,5% of the normal "dagpenge" amount, but will have 1 month quarantine with dagpenge.

I was just wondering, how much is this 71.5% that I would receive, how could I calculate it?

2. Sign up for a paid membership, and the one I will most likely go for will be the Akademikernes. In this case, can I ask how much would I pay each month please?

I have also calculated that I earn over the monthly limit, but like you say, I can only calculate a max. of 12x19,029=228,348. which means that in September, I will be eligible to receive my dagpenge each month, but will have to apply for jobs etc. to fulfil the other criteria. Given the amount above calculated, how much would I receive each month if I go for a paid membership, come next September?

Thank you very much for all your help!

Hi M,

1) the normal "dagpenge" amount, also called "dagpengesats" is in 2018 DKK 18,633 for a normal full-time insured member. However this rate is lower for graduates, and is 71,5% of DKK 18,633 = DKK 13,323 per month before tax.

2) the membership price in "Akademikernes" is DKK 436 per month. However this amount is deductible in your tax, so therefor the actual amount you will have to pay will be less depending on your tax-rate. But tax will normally be around 38%...so the actual payment for membership will be around DKK 270 per month.

3) If you go for the paid membership and earn over DKK 19,029 per month, then you need 1 year of work and 1 year of membership to qualify for the maximum dagpenge amount, which is DKK 18,633 per month.

So yes, if you sign up now, you will be eligible for maximum dagpenge next september.

Hope this helps you.


Anders, www.a-kasser.dk