Social: Heil advertises citizen money - the end point after a long struggle

In a heated exchange of blows on the planned citizens' allowance, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) called on the Bundestag to approve the final vote.

Social: Heil advertises citizen money - the end point after a long struggle

In a heated exchange of blows on the planned citizens' allowance, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) called on the Bundestag to approve the final vote. According to the parliamentarians, the federal states in the Bundesrat are to vote on the social reform this Friday.

The votes are intended to put an end to weeks of negotiations on the traffic light coalition's prestige project, which is intended to replace the previous Hartz IV basic security scheme. The Mediation Committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat approved a compromise negotiated by Union and traffic lights on Wednesday evening.

The reform is intended to increase monthly state aid for more than seven million people in Germany on January 1 - more than it has since the introduction of Hartz IV in 2005.

positions in Parliament

Heil named the government's motto in the budget deliberations in the Bundestag: "Opportunities and protection". More important than leitmotifs, however, is the view of the reality of people's lives. "And we're improving that step by step with our labor market and social policy, and now we're taking a big step with citizen income, and tomorrow you all have the chance to agree." Heil said: "Those who want to work should be supported, those who can work must be given the opportunity in Germany."

The CSU social expert Stephan Stracke announced the approval of the Union faction - and referred to changes to Heil's draft. "The free shot for breaches of duty is off the table," said Stracke. The Greens took up allegations against the Union that they had underpinned their criticism of Salvation's plans with exaggerations and false details. The Greens social expert Frank Bsirske spoke with a view to CDU leader Friedrich Merz and CSU leader Markus Söder of a "shabby competition steeped in ignorance and lies, in which Messrs Merz and Söder have overthrown us with the AfD in the past few weeks".

AfD and Left criticized the plans from opposite directions. "The citizen money invites abuse and is a slap in the face to those who get up every day and earn their own income," said AfD MP Ulrike Schielke-Ziesing. Gesine Lötzsch from the left said: "The conciliation process didn't make the law better, it made it worse." In accordance with the Paritätischer Sozialverband, she campaigned for a standard rate increase to 725 euros - instead of 502 euros, which should actually go to single people in need from the New Year.

Prehistory with Mediation

At first the Union had resisted Heil's plans. Nevertheless, they found a majority of the traffic lights in the Bundestag. The Federal Council, however, stopped the draft. As a result, politicians from the CDU/CSU and the traffic light coalition negotiated a compromise over several days. The Mediation Committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat met on Wednesday to bring the dispute to a constitutional conclusion. The 16 representatives of both houses sat together for an hour and a half. The provided soups, chicken skewers and salad bowls were only partially used before the members announced the agreement.

Minister of Labor Heil emphasized in the evening: "Today it is clear: Citizens' income will come on January 1 - Hartz IV will go." The CDU labor market expert Hermann Gröhe said: "It was important for us to restore the balance between support and demands."

sanctions and assets

The Union enforced tougher sanctions. A "trust period" planned by Heil was canceled: In the first six months, benefit recipients should not originally be able to have their payments reduced if they refrain from applying for a job, for example. Such sanctions should now be possible from the start. The reductions should be 10 percent the first time, 20 percent the second time and then 30 percent.

In addition, according to Heil's original draft, appropriate costs for rent and heating should be covered for a "waiting period" of two years. Savings of up to 60,000 euros should not have to be used up. This threshold has been lowered to 40,000 euros. For each additional person in so-called communities of need, an additional 15,000 euros should be allowed. This "waiting period" should now last only one year.

Core goals of the reform

The parts of the reform that are intended to make the job centers more concerned have remained largely untouched. They are scheduled to start on July 1st. In the future, it should be individually explored which qualifications or retraining those affected need to do so that they can get back on their own two feet. The priority of placement in work is to be abolished - the "revolving door effect" from the job center to the helper job and back is to be ended.

The chairwoman of the Federal Employment Agency, Andrea Nahles, Heil's predecessor in the ministerial office, said she hoped that the "customers" of the job centers would get involved in new partnerships. "The new tasks will not be feasible with the existing staff," admitted Green politician Bsirske in the Bundestag. That is why more money from the federal government is planned for the federal agency.

Not just the unemployed affected

If the green light is given on Friday as planned, then more money will flow to various groups: around 5.4 million people on basic security for job seekers, including a good 3.8 million employable and a good 1.5 million non-employable beneficiaries. The same rates will also be given to the approximately 215,000 people with help to make a living and the approximately 1.1 million people with basic security in old age and with reduced earning capacity.

Even if the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act is not directly included in the Citizens Benefits Act, the rates of the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act will also be adjusted as a result, according to the Ministry of Labor. According to an estimate at the end of 2021, around 410,000 people received such benefits.

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