20.07.2022, Berlin: Hubertus Heil (SPD), Bundesminister für Arbeit und Soziales, gibt ein Pressestatement zum Bürgergeld im Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales ab. Foto: Christoph Soeder/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Hartz IV becomes citizen income: The traffic light coalition wants to get away from the old system of basic security. Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) is proposing a new regulation that will leave benefit recipients more of their previous acquis – and rely on trust between benefit recipients and job centers.

How high will the citizen’s income be?

Heil is determined to push through an increase – he has in mind an increase of around 40 to 50 euros. His argument: the current system of calculation lags behind the galloping inflation. So far, however, he has encountered resistance from the FDP. The minister wants to set the exact amount on the basis of calculations that are not yet available.

What will the job placement look like and what will happen to the previous sanctions?

Heil’s draft stipulates that job seekers conclude a cooperation plan with the job centers. At the beginning there is a six-month “trust period” during which those affected are not threatened with any cuts in benefits.

That changes after the six months. Then there is a risk of cuts in benefits – for example if the recipient of the citizen’s allowance does not apply for an offered position. However, there will be strict limits: unlike in the past, the cuts should not be higher for young people than for older people, and cuts in the cost of accommodation are also excluded. Heil follows the guidelines of the Federal Constitutional Court.

What will apply to further education in the future?

The so-called switching priority does not apply. So far, the vocational training of an unemployed person has often failed because he primarily has to accept a temporary job. Incentives for further training are also introduced. The existing further training bonus will be given an unlimited period of time, and a monthly further training allowance of 150 euros will also be paid.

Can citizens’ benefit recipients keep their previous apartment?

In the first two years, the job centers do not check whether an apartment is appropriate. People who are unemployed and have to look for a new job shouldn’t also have to worry about their apartment, is Heil’s reasoning.

What assets may beneficiaries keep?

In the first 24 months, benefits are granted if there is no “significant wealth”. Here the limit of 60,000 euros applies to the actual beneficiary and 30,000 euros for each additional person in the benefit community.

The long-term savings are increased to 15,000 euros. In addition, it is no longer checked whether one’s own car or one’s own apartment is appropriate.

What additional income opportunities are planned?

The allowances for income from school and student jobs and for trainees increase to 520 euros.

Can the job centers continue to demand money back from benefit recipients in the future?

Yes, but there is a minimum limit of 50 euros. Only when higher amounts are involved do the job centers demand back money that the beneficiary received wrongly.