Member of Unemployment Insurance Fund (A-kasse) as a graduate
If you do not immediately have a job after finishing your education you may be entitled to receive unemployment benefits.
Have you completed bachelor and not sure about master? Read our article Bachelor and A-kasse.
Conditions for graduate rights
- You had a permanent address in Denmark no later than one day before the start of your education.
- You are in Denmark no later than 14 days (including weekends) after graduation. This correspondents with the 2 weeks deadline for signing up for A-kasse (see more below).
- You must have completed an education of a duration of at least 1½ year duration (90 ECTS points).
- The education must be public recognized. If you are entitled to receive SU it means its public recognized.
- You can meet the language-requirement or the affiliate-requirement.
- You must be able to take any job with one day notice (see below).
How much money will you get?
As a recent graduate, you can become entitled to unemployment benefits ("dagpenge") - either from day 1 after your studies or after one month. You must have been a (free) student member for at least 1 year when you finish your education to avoid the mandatory waiting month.
Since 1 May 2023, the amount you can get in dagpenge has depended on 3 things:
- Whether you have dependent children or not
- Whether you are over or under 30 years of age. If you have no children, your rate depends on whether you are over or under 30 years of age.
- The length of your unemployment. If you have no children (regardless of whether you are over or under 30), you will get a lower rate after the first 3 months of unemployment.
|Rate per month
|(No dependent children) in the first 3 months
|(No dependent children), under 30 years, from 4.-12. month
|(No dependent children), over 30 years, from 4.-12. month
|(Have dependent children), all 12 months
You have dependent children, if you have the obligation to contribute to a child (or children) under 18 years who are staying in Denmark. Are you EU / EEA citizen, you are considered also as a parent if the child resides in an EU / EEA country. Stepchildren do not count in this context.
For how long can graduates receive unemployment benefits?
The graduate rule entitles you to benefits ("dagpenge") for 1 year (1,924 hours) within a period of 2 years (the reference period). The reference period can in some cases be extended (illness, maternity etc.). If you do not use all benefit hours within the 2 years, they are out of date.
Work can be used to extend the 1-year unemployment benefit period in a ratio of 1:2. Each working hour gives 2 hours extra dagpenge, just as the reference period will be extended. In this way, however, you can extend your unemployment benefit period by a maximum of 1 year, which must be consumed within 1.5 years. For graduates, the total maximum benefit period can therefore amount to 2 years (corresponding to 3,848 hours) within a period of 3.5 years.
Short-term employment can provide much better coverage
Since both the unemployment benefit rate and the unemployment benefit period for graduates have deteriorated since 1 May 2023, it may be relevant as a (soon-to-be) recent graduate to consider what options the unemployment benefit system offers to get a higher unemployment benefit rate and/or a longer unemployment benefit period. We have written a special article about that.
Does it matter if you are EEA citizen or a non-EEA citizen?
To get benefits you must have right to work full time in Denmark after graduation. For non-EU citizens this mean that you must have a work permit.
EU citizens can apply for benefits
With an EU residence document you are allowed (without need for work permit) to stay in Denmark and search for job, after you finish your education. In this job-seek period you can apply for unemployment benefits in Denmark if you are unemployed after you have finished your education.
Job seeking permit is not enough for Non-EU citizens
If you have a student residence permit (only non-EU/EAA citizens) in order to participate in and complete higher education in Denmark, you probably also automatically have been granted a residence permit for job seeking after graduation.
The job seeking permit will provide one opportunity to seek work in Denmark after graduation.
The period for the job seeking permit can be 6 months or 3 years. You can get a 3 year job seeking permit, if you have completed a Danish professional bachelor, bachelor, master or PhD programme approved by a state authority.
A job seeking permit is on the condition that you can support yourself and your family during your stay. Therefore, you are not allowed to receive public benefits, e.g. benefits under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act, state study grants, housing benefits or unemployment benefits - and there may be other benefits you are also not allowed to receive.
It is therefore important that you understand that international students (coming from other than EEA countries) will not have the same right to get unemployment benefits as danish or EEA-students.
The 2-week deadline is fixed
If you join an unemployment fund within two weeks of your date of graduation, you will be regarded as a new graduate.
If you do not join an unemployment fund within two weeks, you will only be able to receive benefit once you have been a member of the fund for one year and meet the income requirement (have had an income of at least DKK 263,232 during the last 3 years in total). The 2-week deadline is laid down by the law, and the unemployment funds may not make exceptions to the requirement.
Therefore be aware: this 2-week deadline is extremely important.
It is a good idea to apply to an unemployment fund before you finish your study.
Normally you can apply for membership after the rules for new graduates up to 6 months before ending study.
You will not be charged for membership before you have graduated.
If you do that you will have fulfilled the 2-week rule, but in that case contact your a-kasse when you have graduated and tell them that you are now graduated and want to have the benefits as a new graduate.
How much does it cost?
You can check the prises in our comparison of prices.
How to apply for membership?
Everything is done online. Use links shown below or just click on links/logos around our site, and you will be directed to online application form at the A-kasse's website.
If you are not directed directly to online application form, then at the A-kasse website choose menu often called "Bliv medlem" or "Tilmeld dig her".
If possible choose membership type for new graduates (in danish "medlem som nyuddannet" or "medlem som dimittend"). If not possible to choose, just remember to mention in your application
form that you are applying for membership under the special rules for new graduates.
After have filled out the online application form you will receive mail-confirmation from the A-kasse.
Which A-kasse should you choose?
When deciding where to become member, remember this:
- Your unemployment benefits is paid/secured by the Danish State, and you will get the same amount in unemployment benefits in all A-kasser.
- Regardless of which A-kasse you may have been a member of during your education, you can easily change A-kasse in connection with graduation. You will have your accrued rights, including graduate rights, transferred to the new A-kasse.
- You can always become member of - and keep your membership in one of the interdisciplinary A-kasser, regardless of what job you will get. FTFa is the cheapest interdisciplinary A-kasse.
- If you also want to become member of a Trade Union (together with you A-kasse membership), you can save money by choosing one of the A-kasser which also offers cheap Union membership. Read more about A-kasse+Union membership and see our comparison of the different offers. "Det Faglige Hus" has Denmarks cheapest price for Union together with A-kasse membership.
In the table below you can see the A-kasser/unions we recommend.
|Price per month
2024Price per month 2024
|Has an office
|Members dev. in 2023/
Members as of 01/07/23
|medium-term higher education
|Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, Aalborg, Herning, Kolding and Næstved
|IT graduates and sales / marketing
|Aalborg, Aarhus, Fredericia, Næstved, Copenhagen and Odense.
about Min A-kasse
|A-kasse DKK 527,
Union DKK 74/month. Free Union the first 6 months (seen 05/01).
|Education targeted at the business world
|Copenhagen + meeting places by appointment
|A-kasse DKK 497,
Union DKK 69/month. Free Union the first 6 months (seen 05/01).
|Short-term and medium-term higher edu.
|Esbjerg, Kolding, Herning, Aarhus, Aalborg, Odense, Ringsted, Copenhagen and Hillerød.
Both A-kasse and Trade Union membership
You only need A-kasse membership to get your right to unemployment benefits after graduation.
However, it can also turn out to be a good idea to join a Trade Union. You can e.g. get help with the employment contract and other legal questions about your job. Read more about the difference between A-kasse and Union and what they can do for you.
Similar to when choosing A-kasse membership it can be fine to choose a cheap Union membership. The cheap ones (e.g. "Det Faglige Hus" or ASE) can help you at least as good as the more expensive professional delineated Unions, and for example they get good reviews on Trustpilot, see reviews of ASE and reviews of "Det Faglige Hus".
This means that "Det Faglige Hus" is Denmarks cheapest with Union + A-kasse memberhip.
In addition to A-kasse, ASE offers a trade union for DKK 74 per month. Free Union the first 6 months (seen 05/01).
Finally, it can be mentioned that ASE offers one of the most flexible extra wage insurances (in danish: lønsikring).
Lønsikring means that you can get money paid out on top of your unemployment benefits. You can get this extra insurance in ASE from only DKK 51/month.