Member of an unemployment insurance fund (A-kasse)

Understanding whether to join an A-kasse or not

Understanding a-kasse is relatively simple but it’s important to know the primary rules and how they pertain to you as a non-Dane.

Joining an a-kasse ONLY makes sense if you will be able to gain benefit from paying the membership fee, i.e whether you will be eligible for Unemployment benefits.

There can be difference depending on whether you are an EU/EEA or non-EU/EEA citizen, particulary in relation to whether you can meet the requirement of being able to take any work with 1 day notice.

Work permit

Joining an a-kasse ONLY makes sense if you are from an EU/EEA country/Switzerland or your right to reside in Denmark extends beyond your job contract.
If you are EU/EEA citizen you are always allowed to live and work full time in Denmark, this is a right you have according to the EU-legislation.
If you come from a non-EU/EEA country and your residency in Denmark is tied strictly to your work permit, it makes no sense to pay into an a-kasse as you will forfeit any rights to collect unemployment benefits if you have to leave the country right after losing your job.

Please note, that some work permits allow you to stay 3-6 months after losing your job in order to look for another job.
In this "job-search" period your permit does not allow you to work. This requires a new work-permit.
Therefore you will also not be able to collect Unemployment benefits in the job-search period.

If you come from a non-EU/EEA country, you need to be sure what your work permit states before you begin to invest in unemployment insurance. An Establishment Card or other residence permit may also allow you to stay in the country after losing a job – check and make sure!

How to apply?

Everything is done online. Follow these steps to sign up for membership of an A-kasse:
1. At the overview-page find the A-kasse you have chosen
2. Click on the button named "Sign Up online" to be directed to the A-kasse's website, where you can Sign Up online.
3. You will be directed to an online Sign Up form at the A-kasse's website. If you are directed to another page at the A-kasse website, you need to find a menu/button called "Bliv medlem" or similar at the A-kasse's website.
4. After having filled out the form you will receive an email confirmation from the A-kasse.

You should follow the same process regardless of you are a first time member or you want to change from another A-kasse.
If you are currently a member in one A-kasse, and want to change to another, you just have to sign Up with the new one. You should NOT cancel membership in the old A-kasse, before you have got confirmation from the new A-kasse.
Your old A-kasse and the new A-kasse will cooperate to exchange all information about you, including your accrued rights (membership and working periods).
In this way you will not lose your accrued rights when changing A-kasse. And you will not pay double fee. The old A-kasse will return your prepaid fee for the period after you change membership to the new.

The cost of membership varies depending on how much a-kassen have of expenses to administration.
Membership fees per month are from DKK 451 (for the cheapest) to DKK 532 (for the most expensive).

It is important to know that you get exactly the same rights to unemployment benefits if you choose the cheapest A-kasse, as you do when choosing the more expensive.
It is because in Denmark your rights regarding A-kasse membership and unemployment benefits ("dagpenge") are secured and under control by the State.

You can become a member of an unemployment insurance fund if you are between 18 and until 2 years before you reach your old age pension age and reside in Denmark.
You can be full-time or part-time insured.

In addition, you must either:

1. Have paid work.
If you choose to join an "Open for everyone/interdisciplinary" A-kasse, see list here, then your profession is irrelevant as these A-kasser are open for everyone.
If you work within a profession covered by a special A-kasse, you can choose this but you are not obliged to.
We have made a list of the typical members (regarding job/education) in the different A-kasser.

Some of the specialised A-kasser are more expensive (some cheaper) than the interdisciplinary A-kasser.
Remember in Denmark you have exactly the same rights regarding getting unemployment benefits, no matter what A-kasse you choose to join.
As an employee, you cannot become a member of the insurance fund until the day that you commence working.

You can live (have your residence) in another EU/EEA country and still being eligible for membership of a Danish Unemployment Fund. Read more here about being comprised by the Danish social security rules.

2. Be a business-owner or help run your spouse's business.

3. Have completed an education of at least 18 months in duration and applied for membership of the unemployment insurance fund no later than two weeks after completion of your studies.
We provide a special guide for graduates.

4. Is studying in Denmark.
As a student you can have up to 5 years of FREE membership of an A-kasse.
We strongly advice you to join an A-kasse as soon as possible, because you will earn about DKK 14,106 (DKK 16,177 if you have dependent children) and get other benefits, see our special guide for students.

Main topics about A-kasse

Transferring periods of work and insurance from another EEA CountryAs an EU citizen you can transfer acquired rights from Unemployment Insurance between EU contries. Be aware that there are some requirements and deadlines that are important to meet. And you have to use a PD U1 Form. Read more here..
Transferring unemployment benefitsUnder certain conditions you can go to another EU country to look for work and continue to receive your unemployment benefits from the country where you became unemployed. And you have to use a PD U2 Form. Read more here..
Unemployment benefits ("dagpenge")Remember you have to be member of an A-kasse for 1 year before you can claim Unemployment benefits ("dagpenge"). And you must meet the income-requirement. Read more here..
International graduatesGraduates in Denmark can get Unemployment benefits from the first day after graduation, if they have been member as student of an A-kasse for at least 1 year. Read more...
Residence CardIf you are a non-EU citizen you must have a residence Card which allows you to take any job with one day notice. This is because you must be available for the labor market for being eligible for unemployment benefits ("dagpenge").
Membership fee and taxYou will automatically get a deduction in your tax for your fee to the A-kasse and trade union. There is no ceiling on the amount you can get a deduction for when it comes to contributions to A-kasse, whereas you can get a maximum deduction of DKK 6,000 for a trade union.