The ministry, led by conservative Christian Democrat Ursula von der Leyen, told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung that she favoured replacing the old phrase with Basisgeld, or “basis money,” but said a final decision had not yet been reached.
Putting the new term in the code of social law would end the use of Hartz IV to describe welfare benefits in the general parlance so that citizens would have a better idea of what the concept means. It would also end the negative connotation it has come to have, a ministry spokesperson said.
The country's Constitutional Court recently ruled that the terminology for welfare benefits was too confusing and must be changed by the end of the year.
Von der Leyen plans to present the first part of a draft law to change the wording on Monday, the ministry said.
Hartz IV was named after Peter Hartz, the head of a commission that suggested changes to Germany's labour market and welfare system in 2002. It specifically refers to long-term unemployment benefits instituted in 2005, and has become synonymous with former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's highly unpopular Agenda 2010 reforms.