Hartz 4 removal: so the assumption of costs takes place

The Second Social Code (SGB II) regulates the benefits for recipients of unemployment benefit II (ALG II). Under it also rights and obligations fall, which you must know, if you would like to move as a Hartz IV receiver or must. Moving auction explains which help you receive from the Jobcenter for the Hartz IV move and which guidelines you have to adhere to.

Table of Contents

1. What moving expenses are covered?

With all removal costs to be expected it is important that you apply for the assumption of costs in advance with the job center. Enclose the respective cost estimates with your application. After applying, wait for the written statement of costs before implementing your moving plans.

Moving costs, which are taken over by the job center:

  • Rent for a moving van (including gasoline costs) and other packing materials
  • Helpers’ allowance of a maximum of 30 euros for meals for the removal helpers
  • Initial furnishings/equipment as needed (you will need a detailed list of items needed.)
  • Furnishings/furniture as needed (Create a detailed list of items needed.)
  • In justified individual cases: Costs of housing advertisements, inspections and brokerage fees

Important: Renovation costs are generally not taken over by the benefit agency. You must bear these yourself. Therefore, moving auction recommends to carry out the renovation work with friendly helpers and to compare the prices of materials. This is how you can save some money.

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2. Cost absorption for Hartz IV move with justification

If you move during the receipt of ALG II, important reasons must be present for it according to SGB II, so that you receive support from the job center.

These reasons include:

  • Start work in another city
  • Cheaper new apartment
  • Health restrictions with demonstrable increased stress due to stairs or barriers in the home
  • Mold infestation in your apartment, which the landlord does not remove despite reminders
  • Unacceptable housing situation (z. B. with exceptional noise pollution)
  • Disturbed relationship with the landlord
  • Termination by the landlord
  • Divorce, separation or marriage

You must substantiate your reasons for moving with evidence, for example, with employment contracts, medical certificates or letters from lawyers. If you want to move without one of the above reasons, for example, because you want a different environment or want to live closer to relatives, friends or acquaintances, you will not receive support from the office. In such a case you have to finance your move completely by yourself.

Man packing moving boxes

3. Does the job center pay for moving with moving companies?

As a rule, recipients of Hartz IV are only entitled to a self-directed move. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Reasons that entitle ALG II recipients to a move with a moving company:

  • Illnesses (also anxiety disorders and clinical depression)
  • Physical or mental disability
  • High age

If these reasons apply to you, you can submit an application for cost absorption. For this you present as proof a medical certificate or a certificate of the health insurance company. You will also need to provide at least three estimates from different moving companies. You can request these conveniently by submitting a relocation request on relocation auction.

4. Move with Hartz IV: Without consent no support

After you have applied to the Jobcenter for a Hartz IV move, the Jobcenter will check the so-called appropriateness and necessity of the move. Note that you will not receive any support of any kind from the Office if you move without its consent. Also possible additional costs with the rent or with the heating costs would not be taken over then.

When an apartment is appropriate varies from city to city and depends, among other things, on the respective rent index. As further criteria for the determination of the adequacy of a dwelling the office bases on the number of persons, the rent and the size of the dwelling. Therefore, be sure to have the lease checked and approved by the responsible job center before you sign it.

Couple applies for assumption of relocation costs

5. Rent deposit and moving costs

If the job center has approved your Hartz 4 move, you should then apply for a rent deposit for your new apartment. It is paid directly to your new landlord as an interest-free loan, who must invest the money in a separate account.

After the end of the tenancy, your landlord pays the deposit back to the service provider. If the tenant withholds this due to housing defects, you must pay the deposit back to the office out of your own pocket.

In general, you do not get the loan for the rent deposit as a gift, but have to pay it back to the Jobcenter later, interest-free. You pay back ten percent of your standard rate every month until the loan is paid off. Lower percentages are only recognized in exceptional cases. If you find a new job in the meantime and stop receiving benefits, the last installment is due immediately. Then agree with the job center individually which form of repayment is appropriate to your financial situation.

6. Which apartment size is appropriate?

The Hartz IV apartment size itself is secondary, because primarily the cost absorption depends on whether the costs for the apartment are classified as reasonable. The Jobcenter bases its calculation on the gross cold rent. It is composed of the net rent and the typical operating costs.

Whether the rental costs of an apartment are reasonable depends on the size of the community in need, the size of the apartment and the conditions on the local housing market. In Berlin, for example, a fixed price per square meter applies, which is based on the local rent index. The Job Centers in Berlin consider the following apartment sizes to be appropriate:

  • 50 square meters for one person
  • 60 square meters for two persons
  • 75 square meters for three people
  • 85 square meters for four people
  • Additional 12 square meters for each additional person

If you assume a price per square meter of nine euros, the single apartment may cost a maximum of 450 euros. In rural areas with rents of four euros per square meter, the Jobcenter will only pay 200 euros for a comparable apartment.

In Hamburg, the following gross cold rents (excluding heating costs) are considered reasonable.

Household sizeAdequacy limit as of 06.03.2020
1 person 501,50 €
2 people 609,60 €
3 persons 755,25 €
4 people 909,00 €
5 persons 1.180,20 €
6 persons 1.345,20 €
Each additional person 168,15 €

Other federal states use the rent levels for calculating housing subsidies instead of the rent index.

The ancillary costs for heating and water heating must also be appropriate. They are also based on the costs of the energy source. The job centers in the federal states therefore also apply different amounts to heating costs. In Berlin, for example, they vary between €72 per month for one person and €139.68 per month for a five-person household.

Tip from relocation auction: Be sure to talk to your responsible job center or social welfare office before signing a new lease to avoid disputes later on.

7. What happens if the apartment is too expensive?

If you are a single person in Berlin and live in an apartment with 100 square meters, but only pay a gross cold rent of 450 euros per month, the rent is considered to be adequate. However, if you live in a luxurious 40-square-meter apartment with a rent of €800, this is too expensive. In this case, the job center can ask you to move to a less expensive apartment. If you do not move despite being asked to do so, the office can reduce your unemployment benefit II by the amount above the rent limit. This means that you must pay the difference of 350 euros from your own resources.

In some cases, you can avoid a forced move without financial loss. If the search for a suitable apartment remains unsuccessful within six months, the authority can suspend the removal order. For this, beneficiaries must prove their efforts on the housing market, for example in the form of inspection records.
Other demonstrable reasons against forced relocation:

  • Social contacts of the children at the place of residence
  • Medical reasons such as pregnancies, chronic illnesses or cancers
  • Soon to receive cost-covering income benefits
  • Single parents with at least two children
  • Beneficiary is older than 59

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Hartz 4 removal: so the assumption of costs takes place

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