How to apply for Germany’s €1,200 a month basic income experiment

How to apply for Germany's €1,200 a month basic income experiment
Free money? Count us in. Photo: DPA
Fancy getting more than €1,000 a month without really doing anything? Here's what you need to know about Germany's new basic income project.

Germany is launching the Pilotprojekt Grundeinkommen (Basic Income Pilot Project) to find out how giving a group of people €1,200 each month for three years affects their lives.

The study creators are looking for 120 people to receive the money. But they want around a million people to apply by November. A total of 20,000 people will be randomly selected and extensively interviewed about their life situation.

From that group, 1,500 people will be selected for the three-year income experiment. A total of 120 will receive the basic income and 1,380, who won't get money, will form the comparison group.

The project announced on Friday that one million had already applied by Friday less than 72 hours after the application opened.

However, people can still apply up until the original deadline of November 10th. The researchers hope they can attract more funding to create extra spaces in the study for people to receive the basic income.

It will start in spring 2021.

READ ALSO: Germany set to launch new universal basic income trial

How do you apply?

Anyone over 18 years-old and whose primary residence is in Germany can apply for the study by filling out this online application form.

Students and benefit recipients can also apply. However, the basic income is offset against corresponding benefits (meaning it could lead to the reduction or cancellation of some benefits).

However, on the website of the site, researchers point out that in most cases the basic income is higher than the social benefits paid out by the government.

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Any catches?

This study has one condition: participants must fill out a total of seven questionnaires during the three years, each of which takes about 25 minutes to complete. If the questionnaires are not filled in, the payments will be stopped. 

According to researchers, the questionnaires are crucial for scientific knowledge. They will contain questions on topics such as consumer behaviour and how people are spending their time.

“Otherwise, the basic income is absolutely unconditional: you can earn as much extra money as you want – or none at all,” the team behind it say on the website.

Participants can spend the money “on whatever they want”.

“There are no guidelines, no checks and no deductions,” say the researchers.

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What does the small print say?

The basic income is not taxable. It's seen as a gift from lots of individual donors, the researchers say. There is no gift tax because the amounts given per donor and participant are below the tax-free limit.

It is not subject to income tax. The money does not have to be paid back.

Meanwhile, researchers point out there is no legal claim to payment. Since it is a gift, “we cannot legally guarantee the payment of the basic income,” say the team behind it.

“However, as a pilot project for basic income, we are legally obliged to the donors to use all their payments to pay out basic income.”

The team say they plan to pay out all the money reliably but have to point out there is no legal claim to it.

For more information check out the website's FAQ page.

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