Germany: Hartz IV recipients to get more money

More than five million adults and children entitled to Hartz IV benefits will soon receive higher welfare payments. The rates will increase by several euros next year. The federal government has approved an increase in the basic rate of social security benefits for people living alone by three euros to 449 euros. The basic rate for young people over the age of 14 will also increase by three euros to 376 euros.

Rising inflation will not allow you to enjoy the benefit increase

Spouses and partners will receive 404 euros in the future, adults under 25 without their own household will receive 360 euros. Again, the increase is three euros per month. This is significantly less than the rate of inflation; with inflation at two percent, the increase should be almost nine euros.

In addition, the basic rate of social benefits for children under five will be 285 euros per month next year instead of 283 euros. For children aged six to 13, the rate will also increase by two euros to 311 euros.

In a draft regulation prepared by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), the additional annual spending on the Hartz IV basic security is estimated at around 190 million euros.

The Left and the Greens criticized the amount of the increases

The Left Party and the Greens criticized the planned amounts of increases as too low. Susanne Ferschl, vice-chair of the Left Party, believes that the rise in consumer prices will make the increase practically imperceptible. According to her, the basic rate of the Hartz IV benefit should increase to 658 euros.

Green Party faction leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt criticized the scale of the increase as “irresponsible, cold and bitter.” Social organizations regularly point out that the monthly payments are too low. This is also reflected in the demands of individual parties ahead of the Bundestag elections: the Left Party is calling for a “tailor-made minimum benefit level of €1,200.” Green Party social policy expert Sven Lehmann has called for at least a €50 increase to start with. The fact that the increase currently set is below the rate of inflation is, in his view, “proof that calculation methods have diverged from reality.”

The basic rate of the Hartz IV allowance is supposed to cover the cost of living. Rent and heating costs are additionally covered by the employment offices. The basic rate of the Hartz IV benefit is set anew each year. The federal government bases its calculation on a fictitious basket of goods and services that it considers necessary to meet the basic needs of life.


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