In the future, single people living in asylum accommodation can expect higher benefits even if they have not yet lived in Germany for 18 months.
Because although this group is not mentioned in a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court in November, the Federal Government assumes that the reversal of the cut in benefits criticized by the court should also apply to them. This is already being implemented in several federal states, including Bavaria, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, as the respective state governments announced on request.
decision of the court
The federal government replied to a corresponding question from MP Clara Bünger (left) that the Federal Ministry of Labor had informed the federal states in the Working Group on Migration and Refugee Questions on November 24 that, in its opinion, the court's decision also applies to the granting of basic benefits to asylum seekers - i.e. for people who have not yet been in the country for 18 months.
The court had decided that refugees who live in shared accommodation should again receive the same amount of money to live on as other single asylum seekers. Social benefits were reduced by a flat rate of ten percent in 2019 because they could allegedly save money by shopping and cooking together. "The existential needs of those affected are currently not covered," the Federal Constitutional Court ruled.
The specific case concerned a man from Sri Lanka who has been living in shared accommodation near Düsseldorf since 2014. In the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, he falls under a regulation that applies to those seeking protection who have been here for at least 18 months. The decision therefore directly affects only this group.
A spokeswoman for the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior said, however, that the reasoning of the Federal Constitutional Court as to why the corresponding norm is unconstitutional can also be applied to the regulation in the basic benefit receipt – i.e. to those entitled to benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act who have not lived in Germany for 18 months. Therefore, the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior informed the responsible authorities in Bavaria at the beginning of December that single beneficiaries who are entitled to basic benefits should also be treated accordingly.
In Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony it was said that coordination with the federal government was still ongoing. A spokeswoman for Bremen's Social Senator Anja Stahmann (Greens) said that the full benefits should be paid for all from the verdict. It will take a few weeks to sort that out. In addition, asylum seekers who had earlier objected to the reduction are being sought from the files. There is an additional payment for this. That could be a few hundred cases.
"It's good that the federal government has made it clear that unconstitutional cuts in benefits in asylum accommodation are generally inadmissible," said Bünger. She also thinks an "apology" from Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), who was responsible for the law that has now been overturned in Karlsruhe, is appropriate.