Hartz iv far from any reality of life

SoVD welcomes proposals for the overdue increase in the standard rates for basic benefits.

The unrealistic assessment of the standard rates for unemployment benefit II and the sanctions plunge many people into poverty. Photo: gelmold / Adobe Stock

More and more people are poor in old age. Many of them already, while they are still employed – and this not only since Corona. Long-term unemployment and precarious forms of employment are also on the rise. They are fatally interrelated with impoverishment processes. The alarming development is from view of the SoVD among other things a consequence of the Hartz IV laws. The federation welcomes that with suggestions from the policy now momentum in the debate returns and renews its demands.

The rule rates gradually on well 600 euro monthly to increase, the sanctions without replacement delete. This is the proposal put forward by the Green parliamentary group under the title "Overcome Hartz IV – Introduce guaranteed benefits". The guarantee is to be granted to both unemployed and low-income earners. A simple declaration by the applicant would therefore replace an examination of assets in the future.

Also Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) plans changes in the sense of the concerning. A corresponding bill provides for a permanently facilitated access to basic security, as it is currently made possible due to the pandemic.

Extend the rules that apply in the pandemic

The checks on rental expenses and assets are currently suspended. The job centers do not check how big an apartment is or whether someone has savings of up to 60.000 euros on the account has; in families apply per member further, lower allowances.

The Federal Minister of Labor now wants to achieve by law that the regulations valid because of Corona always apply during the first two years of the ALG II reference. Sanctions for non-cooperating benefit recipients are also to be eased by law.

For a long time already the SoVD criticizes with emphasis the reality-remote assessment of the Hartz IV rule sets and the current sanction practice. "The fact that now finally movement comes into the more than overdue adjustment of the Hartz IV laws, is a good signal to the many humans, who lost the confidence in the welfare state long ago , states SoVD president Adolf farmer. "In particular, older people, the low-skilled and people with disabilities are the sufferers of Hartz IV legislation – groups of people who already have the worst chances on the labor market and thus also have little chance of a fresh start in their careers."

Methodical deficiencies provide for results far from reality

The SoVD criticizes the Hartz IV legislation above all for the fact that the method currently used to determine standard needs does not guarantee socio-cultural subsistence: The procedure exhibits substantial lack and prevents therefore a need-fair organization of the standard rates.

The methodological weakness is that the needs assessment for determining the standard rates is based on the consumption expenditure of the bottom 15 percent of single-person households and the bottom fifth of couple households with one child.

Accordingly, the determination is based on already existing deficiency ratios.

Because moreover also further expenditures are struck out as for example a Christmas tree, domestic animals or house plants as "not rule need-relevant" from the rule set, the level of the needs taken as a basis sinks still further. "The unrealistic assessment of the standard rates promotes millions of those affected into precarious living conditions," notes SoVD Vice President Prof. Dr. Ursula Engelen-Kefer firmly.

The SoVD therefore advocates a commission of experts to develop concrete proposals for determining the socio-cultural subsistence minimum on a more adequate scientific basis.

SoVD welcomes clarification to sanction regulations

From SoVD’s point of view, the current sanction regulations must also be reformed as a matter of urgency. The federation brought that repeatedly into the discussion. It must apply above all to guarantee the subsistence level; extraordinary hardships should not threaten basic security recipients even in the case of duty violations, the SoVD demands. Instead, it proposes: "If a reduction in the standard rate is unavoidable, the amount of the reduction must be offset by benefits in kind, such as food vouchers."

The SoVD welcomes in this respect as a step in the right direction the now discussed clarification to the sanction regulations, according to which a monthly reduction as sanction may not exceed 30 per cent of the relevant standard need.

In addition, SoVD urges that the discrimination of young people under 25 years of age be eliminated. "There is no sensible reason why adolescents and young adults should be placed in a worse position than other benefit recipients," says Bauer. "We must not artificially complicate the start in working life.

Discussion about suspension of asset verification

The goal addressed in Hubertus Heil’s concept of making the basic benefits for jobseekers in SGB II (Hartz IV) more accessible and uncomplicated in the long term is currently the subject of intense debate.

In particular, the plan to dispense with the examination of "non-substantial" assets in the context of temporary benefit receipt is causing controversy in this context.

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