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Hartz IV welfare benefits considered too low

The Local · 3 Feb 2010, 14:29

Published: 03 Feb 2010 14:29 GMT+01:00

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A poll by weekly magazine Stern found 61 percent considered the German dole known as Hartz IV too meagre at €359 a month per person. Only 30 percent said the amount was appropriate, and four percent considered it too high.

People living on Hartz IV also have their rent and other expenses covered.

Almost three quarters (73 percent) of those surveyed said the needs of children on welfare were equal to or higher than those of an adult. The German Constitutional Court is expected to decide next week whether benefits for children should continue to be scaled according to their age, as is the current practice.

An overwhelming 90 percent of poll participants said Hartz IV should also cover costs such as school field trips for children. Another 74 percent said welfare should pay for sports equipment and club fees. Seventy percent said it should include a monthly visit to the cinema, zoo or museum. But only 49 percent said kids on the dole should have access to music instruments and lessons.

Story continues below…

Stern surveyed 1,000 people between January 5-7 throughout Germany.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:56 February 3, 2010 by jennieerin73
I never fail to be astounded at how different the conventional wisdom is on welfare here. I don't know much about the German system but half the USA seems to believe that poor people deserve nothing and are parasites, their kids included, and must be reminded of that fact 24-7 and made as uncomfortable as possible. Even poor people internalize these beliefs. Then their kids wind up poor and just as uneducated because educational funds in the USA are locally distributed. But hey just as long as my grandfather doesn't have to subsidize "the blacks" -- most Americans think 100 percent of welfare recipients are either Black or Mexican wetbacks, needless to say.. and are further convinced that great sums of their tax dollars are going to these undeserving brown-skinned poor! When in fact the poor barely receive enough to survive, much less get their kids out of that rut.
16:29 February 3, 2010 by romber58
@ jenniereein73

There are these arguments about welfare:in the USA... they are so heartless and unfeeling and in Europe ,especially Germany they are too lax and giving... I would like to hear your answer and solution and/or diagnosis as to why it is so-
20:20 February 3, 2010 by jlmcnamara
I'm sorry, but a survey done by Stern is like a survey done by US Weekly. Who knows how representative the 1000 person sample is of the general population? What if the majority of people polled were already on welfare? Welfare is a dicey issue everywhere and Germany has plenty of chronic unemployed. Sadly many of those able to work choose not to do so as with the infamous "Spargelernte". It's not all black and white as this article assumes.
23:26 February 3, 2010 by jennieerin73
@romber58 -- I wish I knew. I only have experience with the US where I think there's a more ideology embedded in the issue of welfare. Any policy failure is quickly pointed to as the failure of the entire concept. In the 1960s Lyndon Johnson tried to establish a generous welfare state with huge public housing projects constructed and a spate of programs, many of which were considered to have failed -- the housing certainly did. The public housing blocks concentrated and isolated poor people and became dangerous and crime ridden. Now many have been torn down and it's very difficult to find public housing. But the failure as usual was blamed on the recipients. Reagan rode a wave of popular anger about welfare (and racism) to the presidency and the US has never really looked back.

If there was a real interest in getting people educated and employed and breaking a generation out of poverty and pathology, TONS of money would need to be spent, and there isn't the political will in the USA. It seems Germany is willing to spend, and to experiment and see what works and what doesn't, without a big ideological investment (and a citizenship rational enough to go along with it), which would be the key to making decent public policy.
01:26 February 4, 2010 by romber58
Well ,when i think of the German welfare state...Hartz4 and the rest,it always reminds me of the song "Comfortably Numb"..And the German government will always see to it that the level of state aid is high enough to prevent unrest ,coz we dont want that here again do we;i mean look at the last time....

I am English btw and have lived in Berlin since 1985.
03:07 February 4, 2010 by VaterSteuer
Welfare benefits too low..hahaha.. my son's welfare queen/baby's mama has lived 10+ years from welfare and seems to be doing very well. Free apartment, no bills, free spending money and no need to work, she just needs to maintain "my" son, which translates to her doing virtually nothing. Meanwhile, the working people and "real" families (not the typical german single mother family), have lost their house/job/savings/future or struggled to maintain them.

There is no other group of people in dland so well financed (entirely supported) through welfare as single moms. No surprise there as the gov't agency responsible for them is called Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women, Children thus everyone in the country except unmarried men between 18-67, who are not currently serving the nine months of forced labor under the guise of "defense".

Everyone in the country except for males? What the.....

It used to be called the Fatherland. It's really changed, not the discrimination of course, just the group (now men). Anyone who knows dland in 2010 knows it should now be called the Motherland....
16:36 February 4, 2010 by tollermann
Hey jennieerin73,

as an immigrant to America I do not agree with you at all. Since when are the poorest of the poor in western countries forced to live like the poor in Haitia, Inida, Africa, etc. You have it all wrong, I do not feel poor people are parasites, far from it, the do-gooders that give them no-hope, no education, no opportunity are the ones that keep the status quo. Since when is it my responsibility when 85% of the high school students in Detroit public schools fail to graduate? How about a little bit of parental and personal responsibility. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, nor with the graduate dgree I completed! I say opportunity not welfare!
16:58 February 4, 2010 by hkypuck
I agree with tollermann.

I love when people complain about welfare. They say: "Man, how am I supposed to live on 800/month (or whatever)?!"

The answer is: YOU'RE NOT! You're not supposed to LIVE on welfare. It's supposed to be a safety net for tough times in ones life.

You're SUPPOSED to use it as an opportunity to stay afloat for a SHORT TIME while you get your life back in order. Welfare is not supposed to be a lifestyle! It SHOULD suck to be on welfare. You should feel like cr@p if you can't afford to buy your kid a soccer/football or take them to the movies. That's why you look for a part time gig or something - anything to supplement your government handout.

(Thankfully) I don't know much about German welfare but I certainly hope there is room for people who work low income jobs to collect welfare to help build themselves up.

Bottom line: Work hard, educate yourself and take pride and responsibility for your actions. Rely on no one but yourself!
16:18 February 5, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Germany does need to re-discover the Preußische Tugenden. However, a good, strong welfare network is still needed and appropriate. You don't want people to permanently fall in their economic classes just because of downturns, poor luck, or poor health. Compassion must remain.
17:06 February 5, 2010 by tollermann
Der Grenadier aus Aachen who decides what is a strong welfare network? The people or the government? It is obvious that my tendencies have changed since I moved to Amerika. I no longer look for the Government as the one with all of the solutions. A prime example I see is all of the illegals in the U.S. I would suspect there are 20 Million+ and since when is it my responsibility as a citizen to pay for their upkeep? One of the most egregious stories is Barack Hussein Obama's Aunt is enjoying welfare and housing benefits all on the back of the U.S. taxpayer. That is totally wrong! Compassion & class mobility yes, life long dole no!
21:39 February 5, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, those that said that welfare isn't meant for long term living are correct. Such a concept oviously prevents people from being independent. Let's be honest, welfare is for those that need it temporarily. Ten years on welfare is due to a weak an ineffective government. And overall, it's a very negative thing for everyone. Who wants to pay unecessary taxes?

I recommmend that every government take a look at the Danish welfare system. Perhaps it's the best in the world.
23:45 February 5, 2010 by Talonx
So, yeah what proportion of the population is on welfare in the U.S. vs. Germany. Well let's take a quick glance at the unemployment numbers, oh wow, look at that, less are on welfare in Germany. Get this, it seems that if you provide a person with stability, they become more capable in managing their life and that most people actually prefer to manage their own life, wow who would have thought. Listening to the likes of tollerman you might think that it was in a persons nature to be lazy (though, I guess that would account for tollermanns short-sighted formulations).
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