The Bild tabloid newspaper reported on Monday that the Federal Labour Agency (BA) was preparing to actively find people who were abusing the sick leave system. Those found to be not as ill as they claimed would see their €382-a-month Hartz IV payment reduced.
The seven-page agency document the newspaper said it had seen laid out a number of suspicious signs that BA workers administering Hartz IV payments should watch out for.
These included unemployed people registering themselves too sick to search for work either "conspicuously often, or conspicuously often for just a short time" as well as those who often register sick at "the start or the end of a week".
The paper said other signs that should be perceived as suspicious include missing an appointment to register at the BA due to illness, or signing on sick after losing an argument with a case manager over missing appointments or registering for a holiday.
Case managers were also instructed to examine doctors' notes carefully, and to mistrust those which are back-dated by more than two days, as well as the follow-on sick notes written on the same date as the initial one.
When suspicions are raised the BA case managers are told to involve the medical service of the statutory health service and order a home visit and health check.
Those who are thought to be faking or exaggerating their illness will see their monthly payments reduced.