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Hartz-IV-Rate must rise

On 3rd June 2011 (p. 2), "Bild" reported "the Hartz-IV rate must rise by € 10." In the coming year, said the paper, Hartz-IV recipients could reckon on significant increases in state payments. This was provided for in the >8th subsistence level report of the federal government. According to the report, "the taxpayer, after meeting his income tax liability, must be left with enough of his earnings as he needs in order to maintain his livelihood, and taking into account Article 6 Para. 1 Grundgesetz (GG) (Basic law), also that of his family (subsistence level)". The report, which has to be published every other year by the federal government, shows that despite the increases applying from 1st January 2011, the actual needs are not being met. "The revisions made to social law, in particular the calculation of the welfare needs on the basis of EVS 2008, require from 2011 a modification of the previous calculation method. ... Firstly, and in addition to the new updating mechanism for the regular needs, the costs for hot water will no longer form part of the basic rate, but will be taken into account as a requirement in the heating costs. (...). Secondly, for children, the old basic rate level will be maintained for a transitional period, which is slightly above the statistically calculated regular needs, and also includes a component of education and participation payments (...)." The report goes on to say: "These modifications are being made in line with the previous method of the subsistence level reports."

Bild announced that the basic rates increased for single people from € 364 to € 374/month, in addition to which the rate for rent costs went up from € 7.22/m2 of living area to € 7.55 (for dwellings up to 40 m2). Instead of the previous € 50/month, € 57 would be paid in future for heating costs, so that the overall payment would increase from € 703 to € 739 (for dwellings up to 40 m2). The basic rate for couples would increase in future from € 656 to € 672, the rent would now cost € 6.02/month (for 60 to 80 m2). And € 1,105 would be paid in future for heating costs, one hundred more than previously. Child allowance (for children up to the age of six) would now be € 219, instead of the previous € 215.

Although these increases clearly mean more money, it is not clear whether the government was aware of the trend of the 8th subsistence level report during the negotiations on the increase of the rates as required by the Federal Constitutional Court; even if the final figures had not yet been approved by the Federal Finance Ministry, it must have been clear that it can only be a question of an increase in the rates already under discussion. If we assume that this trend was known both to the Federal Finance Ministry and also to the Federal Employment Ministry in charge of the reform – "a matter understood within the government" – the intention can only have been not to implement the necessary payments immediately in monthly amounts, as indicated by the 8th subsistence level report. Thus the government will save around € 350 million from 2012.

Instead, the government fobbed off its Hartz-IV recipients with € 5 more (from 1.1.2011) and another € 3 more (from 1.1.2012), although every recipient should have been entitled during this time to a total of € 15 more per month. This also corresponds to the >minimum calculation, as made by Alliance for Democracy.

Further justification will be submitted immediately to the Jobcenter for supplementary justification of the >objection already made.