Are ten cents a day enough ?: Federal Council nods off mini Hartz IV increase

Inflation is picking up, and the Hatz IV rate is also rising – albeit at a significantly lower rate: after the federal government, the Federal Council also approves an increase of three euros per month. Social associations regard the mini concession as a violation of the Basic Law.

The Federal Council has approved the slight increase in the Hartz IV standard rates. According to the new regulation, the standard rate for single adults increases by three euros to 449 euros at the turn of the year. The federal cabinet had previously approved the increase. Trade unions and social associations consider the adjustment to be inadequate and the level of the rates to be partly unconstitutional.

According to the new regulation, the standard rate for young people aged 14 and over will also rise by three euros to 376 euros. Spouses and partners will receive 404 euros in future, adults under 25 years of age without a household of their own will receive 360 ​​euros. Here, too, the plus is three euros per month. In addition, the standard rate for children up to five years of age is 285 euros per month instead of the previous 283 euros in the new year. For six to 13 year olds, the rate also increases by two euros to 311 euros.

“Below the subsistence level”

According to a report commissioned by the Paritätischer Gesamtverband the slight increase in Hartz IV rates at the turn of the year violates the Basic Law. According to the report, the constitution obliges the legislature to avert the foreseeable decline in purchasing power for those receiving basic income support.

In the opinion of the legal scholar Anne Lenze, reference is made to previous relevant decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court, according to which the standard requirements are already at the lowest limit of what is constitutionally required. The low rate adjustment for January in connection with the rising inflation it is now heralding a “new level in which the subsistence level is below the decent subsistence level,” it says.

The paritätische pointed out that it had warned early on of the divergence between Hartz IV adjustment and inflation. “The process is not only tough and momentous for the people affected – it also undermines the basic welfare state mandate to ensure the decent subsistence level,” said Ulrich Schneider, the general manager of the Paritätischer Gesamtverband.

The adjustment of the Hartz IV rates is based on the price development in the period from July of the previous year to June of the current year. However, this time there were a number of special effects due to the Corona crisis.

Topic in exploratory talks?

A broad alliance of associations immediately called on the federal government, which was still in office, to make a correction. Popular solidarity, social association VdK and church social associations are also involved.

more on the subject

The correction request is also supported by the German Children’s Fund. This means that “the child poverty rate in Germany cannot be reduced because it does not even compensate for the inflation rate,” said Federal Managing Director Holger Hofmann, criticizing the small adjustment. The increases of just two euros per month for children would “not correspond to the necessary socio-cultural subsistence level,” he said. As a permanent solution, the Children’s Fund and other associations are pushing for a needs-based basic child benefit that would bundle existing child-related benefits.

The Green Social Expert Sven Lehmann spoke out in the editorial network Germany in favor of increasing the rates for Hartz IV recipients on the subject of the Exploratory talks about a traffic light coalition to do with SPD and FDP. FDP social politician Pascal Kober called for higher additional earnings limits for Hartz IV recipients.