“Education is the way out of Hartz IV,” von der Leyen told the Wednesday edition of the regional paper Passauer Neue Presse.
“Therefore I think it is right that I write to each individual Hartz IV family.”
The education package available to Hartz IV recipients includes financial support for school materials, warm lunches in schools and kindergartens, as well as school help and leisure activities.
Such as package belongs to the minimum existence provision for children just as does food and a roof over their heads, said von der Leyen.
But parents should also do their bit, she added.
“They are capable of applying for their Hartz IV provision and the rent. Why should they not be able to apply for the education package for their children?” she asked.
The education package was put together to help the estimated 2.5 million children living in families so poor and so long out of work that they survive on the Hartz IV minimum social provision.
A recent survey conducted by Der Spiegel suggested only two percent of those entitled to it actually claimed the education package for their children. This was blamed on, among other factors, on the chaotic introduction of the measure, as well as poorly-designed information campaigns and the amount of paperwork necessary to make the application.