According to a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court, specifications for Hartz IV recipients regarding the maximum size of residential property are compatible with the Basic Law. The highest German court announced on Thursday in Karlsruhe that public funds to help needy members should only be used in cases of current need.
In concrete terms, this means that if, for example, a family owns a house or a larger apartment and the children move out, the number of square meters that is considered appropriate for receiving state benefits decreases.
The judges decided that those affected would not be denied any services that they needed to secure their livelihood. “Because they own residential property, which they can use and thus secure their needs themselves.” (Az. 1 BvL 12/20)
It is about the so-called protective assets – i.e. certain allowances for assets that, according to social law, do not have to be used to make a living. The Social Security Code (SGB) II regulates which assets are to be taken into account in the basic security for job seekers. This does not include, among other things, “a house plot of appropriate size that you use yourself or a corresponding condominium”.
The social court in Aurich, Lower Saxony, wanted to know from the Federal Constitutional Court whether this regulation is compatible with the Basic Law. For example, families are given special protection in Article 6.
The specific case involved a married couple with six children who lived in a house he had built. The offspring gradually moved out. The plaintiff and her husband have lived there alone since spring 2013.
When the woman wanted Hartz IV in 2018, the application was rejected. The reason: Her husband is the owner of a property and thus owns assets that exceed the tax exemption applicable to the plaintiff and her husband.