Debate about benefits: Heil warns against quitting because of citizens’ money

As of: November 14, 2023 7:26 a.m

Don’t be “stupid”: Labor Minister Heil has warned against giving up your job for the citizen’s benefit – there is a risk of being blocked from receiving benefits. The CDU had previously called for citizens’ money to be abolished in its current form.

In the debate about the citizens’ benefit introduced at the beginning of the year, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil warned employees not to give up their jobs to receive the benefits. “Someone who is stupid enough to quit because of the citizen’s benefit will not get any citizen’s benefit, they will first have their unemployment benefit blocked,” said the SPD politician in the ARD broadcast “hard but fair”.

Citizens’ money is not an unconditional basic income. You have to be needy. The minister explained that anyone who does not cooperate could have their benefits reduced by up to 30 percent. Citizens’ money is expected to increase by more than twelve percent next year. Heil pointed to the mechanism that the sharp increase had to do with the high inflation this year.

Linnemann for “system change” for citizens’ money

In view of the increased costs for social benefits, the CDU called for citizens’ money to be abolished in its current form. CDU General Secretary Carsten Linnemann advocated for a different model. The welfare state must be “there for those who are really in need and cannot work,” said Linnenmann in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. That’s why there needs to be a “system change” in citizen’s money with “more incentives for taking up jobs”. The party wants to anchor the demand in the new basic program, as Linnemann emphasized.

In the “Bild” interview he demanded: “Everyone who can work and receives social benefits must take a job after six months at the latest, otherwise work for a non-profit organization.” If you don’t want to work, you don’t have to – “but then you can’t expect the general public to pay for your living expenses.” The traffic light coalition has “unfortunately largely abolished this principle”. For example, “the cooperation agreements between citizens’ benefit recipients and the state are not binding.”

The FDP parliamentary group leader, Christian Dürr, called for billions in savings in citizens’ money. This should be achieved by not only integrating Ukrainian refugees, but all asylum seekers into the labor market more quickly, Dürr told the “Bild” newspaper.

Billions more needed for social benefits

On Sunday it became known that Labor Minister Heil will have to spend 3.25 billion euros more on social benefits this year than previously planned. Of this, around 2.1 billion euros are additionally attributable to monthly citizen’s benefit payments and 1.15 billion euros in additional costs for rent and heating costs, most of which are covered by the federal government. So far, the federal government had budgeted 23.76 billion euros for citizens’ money this year, around five percent of the entire federal budget. The main reason given for the higher costs is price increases for food and energy costs.

Since the beginning of the year, citizen’s benefit has replaced the previous basic security for job seekers in unemployment benefit II and social benefit (formerly “Hartz IV”). Around 5.5 million people currently receive citizen’s benefit, including around 1.7 million who are unemployed.

“Making regular jobs more attractive”

The director of the German Economic Institute (IW), Michael Hüther, considers the demand for compulsory work for citizens’ benefit recipients to be “correct in theory”. “However, there will be numerous problems with the implementation, including the displacement of regular jobs by charitable work,” he told “Bild”.

Instead, Hüther suggests taking up regular full-time jobs to make it more attractive through higher allowances: Currently, the hourly wage difference when switching from a part-time job to a full-time job is just under two euros: “That’s of course far too little. In addition, the trust time must be six “It will be overturned again in months. Pressure to take up a job and sanctions are necessary.”

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