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Court rejects extra welfare to clothe growing children

DPA/The Local · 23 Mar 2010, 14:30

Published: 23 Mar 2010 14:30 GMT+01:00

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A federal court in Kassel knocked back a claim by a couple who wanted a one-time payment of €448 on top of their regular welfare to meet the cost of their fast-growing children's wardrobes.

But the court said it was to be expected that children's clothes needed to be replaced. This was part of the normal requirements already covered by Hartz IV payments, even when kids were going through growth spurts.

The argument made by the complainants – that they were enduring a particular hardship – was therefore rejected by the court as something all children went through.

The decision could have broader ramifications as the parliament prepares this year to review the way in which Hartz IV welfare benefits are calculated. In February, Germany’s constitutional court ruled that the basic method for calculating Hartz IV rates was flawed and that the parliament needed to review it.

In particular, it ruled that children were not merely small adults and therefore the rate of payments given to unemployed parents to cover their children's needs could not be calculated as a fraction of adults' living costs – as they are now.

By rejecting the argument that growing children have a special right to extra payments for replacement clothes, the court appears to be taking the opposite view.

Story continues below…

The plaintiffs were a family from the town of Oer-Erkenschwick in North Rhine-Westphalia who in the summer of 2006 asked welfare authorities for €448 in extra money for their children, then aged three and four-years-old.

The parents, who had been on long-term unemployment benefits since 2005, claimed their three-year-old daughter abruptly grew out of her size 98 clothing and needed size 110. Their four-year-old had outgrown his size 104.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:47 March 23, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
...and you being the recipient of a 448€ wardrobe, regardless of the upper courts(Dad) ruling?
14:58 March 23, 2010 by William Thirteen
remind me to avoid going to Oer-Erkenschwick. The local inhabitants and their children are so terribly dressed that it upsets my delicate sensibilities...
17:17 March 23, 2010 by peschvogel
Exoect this role to only get worse for the welfare folks. In the past welfare was used on anything but the childrens needs by parents. Welfare in the Bismark state is no more. Germany cant afford it. Expect people to work from now on...
18:26 March 23, 2010 by 1FCK_1FCK
"Expect people to work from now on..."

Where the hell are they going to work if there are no jobs? It's easy to call the unemployed lazy & welfare cheats. But you'll have a rash of homelessness in one of the wealthiest countries in the world if you continue to dump on your unfortunates. Have a little heart.
18:26 March 23, 2010 by michael4096
Back when I was growing up clothes were not really important so it wasn't a big deal to wear hand-me-downs from the older siblings other relatives…
Kids have been blackmailing their parents since at least the time of the greeks. But, there is a serious side too. Being cut-off from the mainstream can leave a kid with scars.
19:35 March 23, 2010 by peschvogel

Well, it seems that if there are no jobs in Germany then that is a problem. I am talking about the long term Hartz IV abuser which is a large % of the welfare stadt.

I have a herz but not for a system that promotes abuse like the German welfare system.

Seems like the chicken is finally coming home to roost with this problem...

09:33 March 24, 2010 by moistvelvet
But at the time of this claim these kids were three and four, so they were hardly being pressured into being fashion concious. What on earth were they dressing their kids to claim so much, what is wrong with going to Sunday Troedel markts and picking up a pair of jeans for 5 euro like many others do? If it really has to be new clothes, which for children it doesn't, then even kitting out your two kids at H&M will not cost 448 euros. And finally why didn't they just put the 3 year old into the clothes outgrown by the 4 year old? Some people just feel that they deserve everything, the skip licking parasites!
10:26 March 24, 2010 by michael4096

Don't panic, the birdman is way off as usual. Unemployment in germany is 8.2% compared with over 10% in the us, uk... This is heavily skewed to the former ddr and in the former west unemployment is far lower. In my kreis, unemployment is less than 4% - the economist's zero point. Recently, the government relaxed immigration rules to attract some workers.

Of course, there is unemployment and hardship because statistics are just that, but it isn't the end-of-the-world as some here like to portray it.
11:01 March 24, 2010 by dbert4
"Recently, the government relaxed immigration rules to attract some workers."

And so is the problem with trying to hold wages down to the bare minimum required to survive. When Hartz4 pays barely enough to live why take a job that pays the same?

Rather than establish a minimum wage at a level above Hartz4, they import workers that will accept less. It solves the immediate greed problem for business, but creates long-term economic and social problems.

Germany, America and the UK still haven't learned that "guest workers" don't go home once they've performed whatever menial jobs they were originally hired for.

Their uneducated selves stay, bring over illiterate spouses and give birth to under-educated children with rights to social services the costs of which are borne by the middle class, not the business and their political class flunkies which imported them.
13:04 March 24, 2010 by michael4096
Rather than establish a minimum wage at a level above Hartz4, they import workers that will accept less.
Untrue. The rules were relaxed because there are insufficient people in the country with the skills required by business - at any price. If anything, it is a reflection of the poor performance of the education system and not a wage squeezing tool.

Which makes a bit of a mockery of your racist picture of the "uneducated selves" bleeding the country dry - actually, on average, they are paying more taxes than the "uneducated" germans that could have had the job - if only they'd stayed in school.
13:57 March 24, 2010 by dbert4
Oh yeah, you're a "tool" of the Republican party are you?

When, "globalization" began, I accepted the party line that ONLY the jobs that American WOULDn't do were being sent to China. Then later IT jobs, (my field) were suddenly ending up in India and China....oooops. Wow what a fool, in your case tool I was to accept the party line! Had NOTHING to do with anything but the greed of corporate America, save money the better to pay executive bonus's.

The moral of the story, "michael4096" don't be a "tool" it could cost you your job!
14:17 March 24, 2010 by Beynch
The Court should reject extra welfare! The entire european entitlement culture must have its neck broken. Eveery person should be asked to give something back! Nothing is free.
15:10 March 24, 2010 by dbert4
@Beynch - The court DID reject claim, that is what this thread is all about. There you go, sleeping again! Should your "neck" be broken?
16:01 March 24, 2010 by michael4096

There is no republican party in germany, but if there was I suspect that they would be anti-progress as you seem to be.

The world around us is constantly changing and we must keep up - take your eye off the ball and you lose. As an IT guy, you know what happens to old COBOL programmers - its just the same with business - learn the game, play the game and make sure you master the next game before it bites you.
16:26 March 24, 2010 by dbert4
"michael4098" - It is a ball ball, it's a casino. The dealer has the advantage.

MOST people whose jobs were outsourced lost them through no fault of their own, nor because they "took their eye off the ball" as you would maintain.

It's pure economics at play, but the cost of participation in the economies of the west SHOULD be to pay western wages and play by western rules. Else sell your eastern made junk in the east. It's that simple!
21:23 March 24, 2010 by peschvogel

Its not just "junk" thats being outscourced. Its services like call centers (Germany has poor custimer service and stress haben/burnout problems at theirs) so this is a good target for outsourcing. Also German industrials (Siemens, Audi, BMW) are making their products away from Germany now though outsourcing. Made in Germany used to have weight to its name but its going away. So, not just Christmas crafts, but larger & industrial products are no longer "Made in Germany".
14:06 March 25, 2010 by michael4096
@dbert4 - I don't agree. Germany makes its money by making things that the rest of the world wants to buy at a price it is willing to pay. If it can't do this then it can't soften any blows to anybody in time of need. To stay competitive on the world market, germany must have trained engineers and other professionals. And, if these guys and gals are not available locally then they must find them elsewhere - which is why the government changed the immigration rules.

Yes, it leaves tonnes of questions about why there are no local guys and what about retraining whoever and doing an entire sub-job off-shore. But, the fact is that at the moment german business cannot find the people it needs and this must take priority or we are all screwed.
20:27 March 25, 2010 by peschvogel
@michael4096: According to German law a hinewiess (Sorry for spelling), if a German company is looking for an employee, the must do a countrywide search for hiring an outsider or foreigner. This process can take a long time. Especially in this time when more and more Germans are becoming unemployed, the Landeshaupt or Arbeitsamt might want to hire a German before a foreigner to help the rising levels of unemployment.
21:50 March 25, 2010 by Talonx
Pesch, it's a little less harsh than that. Firstly, any company can sponser whomsoever they like (for a small fee to the tax offices). Another clearly written option is to be deemed specially skilled, this is what happened to me when I first got here (a common scenerio). Further, while doing my post graduate work I'm allowed to work any non-self-employed job I would like to work, independent of the other exception. If I were to get married to my girlfriend, I'm granted a further permit that is essentially everything-but-citizenship.

Finally, any immigrants that have enough money to live in Germany (the amount that you must have varies from State to State, in Berlin it's 500€/m plus insurance) and are enrolled in extremely cheap VHSchule are also allowed to work.

The law you refer to is just the basic law without all the amendments which allow for all the things I've written about above.
21:54 March 25, 2010 by peschvogel
Maybe for an EU citizen its easily like you mention however, for a non-EU application, you must wait until they do this search. Its much more difficult for non-EU foreigners. That was my experience coming from a non-EU nation.
09:25 March 26, 2010 by Talonx
Nope, I'm not an EU citizen, I'm from the States. As I said before, it depends and there a number of ways around it.
11:14 March 26, 2010 by michael4096
That law also covers only people employed from day 1. It does not cover the numerous contracting organizations with full employment offered to those that prove their worth over the first year.

It still doesn't answer the basic question: german companies would employ germans wherever they can - for language reasons if no other - so why are there not enough professionals coming out of education?
12:31 March 26, 2010 by Talonx
Michael, I think that's a good question. I wonder, seeing as Germany's educational system is pretty good, it is somewhat odd. Then again, they don't really teach their children to be nationalist cogs here. Perhaps, it's partly because people don't find certain 'professional' jobs interesting and also because German's aren't necessarily taught national pride (so it's not a big deal to leave). I don't think these things alone are bad, but boy do they need to get the CDU/CSU-FDP alliance out of power if they are to take sensible immigration reform to the next level as a solution to such problems.
04:56 March 27, 2010 by peschvogel
Talanx: Its job satisfaction levels...

Job satisfaction levels in the US are 60%

Job satisfaction levels in Germany are 13%
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