The ruling was made after a four-person family applied for unemployment benefit known as Hartz IV at a job centre in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia.
They were turned down but took their case to court, telling the judge that they had come to Germany to find work, but been unsuccessful and received little practical support from the job centre.
German law states that EU citizens who arrive in the country hoping to find work but fail do not have the right to unemployment benefits.
But the Gelsenkirchen state social court decided that, upon hearing the case, the family did not fall inside these criteria. They had been in Germany for over a year before applying for financial help – they had not arrived and instantly headed to the job centre.
Because Essen job centre had not put enough effort into finding the father of the family a job, they could not, the court said, deny him social support.
The family – a mother, father and two children – arrived in Germany in 2009 and have been living off child support and selling homeless magazines. The mother recently got a job but it is so low paying it means she is still entitled to state help.
This means now, that the some 130,000 Europeans looking for work in Germany could more easily get Hartz IV, the court said.
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