What changes the citizen money in the district - and what does not
Created: 12/29/2022, 6:30 am
By: Andreas Steppan
Citizens' income will replace Hartz IV from January 1, 2023. For currently almost 1700 communities of need in the district, this means that they will receive a higher monthly amount.
© Karl-Josef Hildenbrand
The Tölzer job center does not see any fundamental upheavals as a result of the social reform on January 1st due to the introduction of citizen income.
– The federal government is talking about a “major social reform” that will come into force on January 1, 2023.
The previous unemployment benefit (ALG) II, popularly known as "Hartz IV", will be replaced by the "citizen's allowance".
The recipients in the currently almost 1700 communities of need in the district will notice a noticeable change at the end of this week when - as always around the 30th for the following month - a higher amount will be transferred this time.
Otherwise, however, Andreas Baumann, head of the Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen job center, sees no revolutionary changes as a result of the reform.
Higher rule rates
"The principle does not change," says Baumann in an interview with our newspaper.
“Every citizen who is needy and able to work will continue to receive benefits.” However, these are higher.
A single person will in future receive EUR 502 per month instead of EUR 449, for the married or non-marital partner in a cohabitation there will be an additional EUR 451 instead of the previous EUR 404, and the rates for children living in the household will also increase.
According to Baumann, other changes do not play a very important role in the practice of the Tölz job center.
A twelve-month "waiting period" is new to the basic income.
The recipients of the social benefit do not need to touch their own assets up to an amount of 40,000 euros in order to make a living.
In addition, 15,000 euros remain “protected” per household member.
But are there actually many Hartz IV recipients who have so much money on the high edge?
“Rather not,” says Baumann.
"At least we know nothing of such fortunes."
Andreas Baumann is the head of the job center in Bad Tölz.
Benefit recipients are also coming under a little less pressure when it comes to housing.
In principle, the district pays the rent up to a certain upper limit, which has been defined as reasonable.
So far, the actual costs have only been covered for the first six months – no matter how high.
This is now valid for twelve months.
Baumann estimates that this rule plays a greater role in a high-priced area like ours than elsewhere.
"There are already recipients who have expensive apartments," he says.
However, according to Baumann, “very few” in the district have already moved to cheaper apartments in the past.
"They often fell out of the cover again within the six-month period," he explains.
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With around 2,100 employable beneficiaries in the district, 1,000 – less than half – are long-term recipients.
These are often single mothers or caring relatives or "top-ups" - i.e. all people whose income situation is difficult to change in the short term for various reasons.
The rest are only temporarily on Hartz IV. And even if someone is in a situation where the office no longer pays for the apartment because it is too expensive: "You have to find something else first." Instead of leaving the apartment , most would rather accept paying the difference out of their own pocket.
Of course, they now have a little more time until that happens.
By the way:
In the meantime, nothing has come of the government parties' plan that all sanctions should be abolished in the case of citizen income.
This passage was deleted when the law was passed by the Federal Council.
Now it stays that way: For the first breach of duty - such as not writing any applications or missing an appointment without an excuse - the job center can reduce the benefits for one month by ten percent, for the second by 20 percent for two months, for the third by 30 percent three months.
Baumann thinks that's a good thing too.
In the past, the Tölzer job center only reduced services for three percent of its customers, according to the managing director.
"It's not our goal to sanction people, but that they take up work, apply, and simply participate."
However: According to Baumann, in the past six months, when a moratorium on sanctions was in force, it became apparent that "there was no longer any liability".
There are some recipients who say without the threat of a reduction in benefits: "Then why should I still come in?"
In Baumann's view, the fact that the reform places a higher priority on the subject of further training changes little in practice.
“We are already promoting further training.
For example, if you want a forklift license, you can get it.”
Financially, however, further training will pay off more for the recipients from July 1, 2023.
You will then get 150 euros a month on top of that.
You can find more current news from the region around Bad Tölz at Merkur.de/Bad Tölz.
Baumann also sees it positively that from July 1, 2023, schoolchildren and students from families with basic income can earn up to 520 euros without anything being deducted from the family.
"It's a signal to young people: it's worth your time working."
Because the Citizens' Income Act "does not change that much", says Baumann, the job center is "relatively relaxed in the new year".
The same apparently applies to the beneficiaries.
According to Baumann, the Tölz job center received only one query about citizen income.
The previous ALG II recipients do not have to become active either: their payments are automatically converted to the citizen's income.
According to Baumann, the number of communities of need has recently decreased.
In June there were still 1,900 communities of need, but in November the number was only 1,670.
The reason is that many Ukrainian benefit recipients in particular have dropped out - either because they moved out of the district or because they found work here.
Citizens' income burdens the district treasury
Will the new citizens' income tear a hole in the district coffers?
The district office expects higher costs in any case, as can be seen from a response from authority spokeswoman Marlis Peischer to our newspaper's request.
In the case of current Hartz IV recipients and those who will receive citizenship benefit in the future, the district will pay for the accommodation costs, i.e. the rent and heating costs.
In future, the beneficiaries will receive their actual rent for twelve months instead of the previous six months – and not just a “reasonable” one (see main text).
This is “at the expense of the district,” explains Peischer.
This would increase the cost per case.
"Effects on the housing market and the development of rents are also conceivable," says Peischer.
In addition, the spokeswoman for the authorities also expects a higher number of benefit recipients.
Because the benefit rate and protective assets are increasing, there will be more beneficiaries - for example "top-ups" who receive additional income from their earnings in order to reach the level of social assistance.
"This increase in the number of cases will also weigh on the district, especially in terms of accommodation costs," says Peischer.
If more cases are to be looked after, this is also accompanied by higher personnel costs.
Quite apart from the Citizens' Income Act, the district will also have to spend more money on the heating costs of the benefit recipients - because of the increased energy prices.
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