Compromises on citizen income: more sanctions, less grace period

There is movement in the dispute over citizen money. The social association VdK had previously issued a warning.

So is citizen money really coming? Photo: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa

BERLIN dpa/afp/rtr | After days of struggling, the traffic light coalition and the Union have cleared the way for the planned citizens’ allowance. Both sides reached compromises in the disputes over the planned social reform, the learned German press agency on Tuesday from coalition circles in Berlin. Citizens’ income is to replace today’s Hartz IV benefits on January 1, 2023.

The Union had demanded that there be more sanctions for recipients than originally planned. Such reductions in performance should take effect if, for example, the unemployed do not apply for a job, although this was agreed with the job center. The traffic light had provided for a “period of trust” of six months during which these sanctions should not apply.

In addition, the CDU and CSU demanded that those affected be allowed to keep less of their own assets if they receive the state benefit. The traffic light had provided for a saving of 60,000 euros. There should be an agreement on these points, as reported by several parties.

These assets should now amount to 40,000 euros and 15,000 euros for each additional person in the household. The planned waiting period of two years, during which the costs of the apartment will be covered without further examination, will be reduced to one year. The so-called trust period of six months, during which sanctions should be waived due to a lack of cooperation, is omitted entirely.

The FDP had previously asked the Greens and SPD to compromise. “Even more attractive additional income rules” should also be considered. According to the previous draft, those who earn between 520 and 1,000 euros should be able to keep more of their income in the future.

It was already planned that the Mediation Committee of the Bundestag and Bundestag would lash down a compromise this Wednesday. By Friday, the Bundestag and Bundesrat are to adopt the Citizens’ Income Act. On January 1st, the salary of single people should increase by more than 50 euros to 502 euros.

Reminders from the social association VdK

in the Fight The social association VdK had previously warned against delaying the reform between the federal government and the Union about the citizen’s income. Shortly before the decisive meeting of the mediation committee of the Bundesrat and Bundestag this Wednesday, VdK President Verena Bentele told the newspapers of the Funke media group that the citizens’ allowance had to come at the planned time. She also warned: “Despite all the time pressure, compromises still have to be found that ensure a real improvement for those affected and that can be easily implemented in practice.”

Verena Bentele, VdK President at the speaker's desk

Verena Bentele, VdK President, warns against compromises on citizen income that are at the expense of those who urgently need the money Photo: Britta Pedersen/dpa

The Education and Science Union (GEW) also pushed for a quick agreement. The tugging between the traffic light government and the Union is “unworthy”. It will be carried out on the backs of the weakest members of society: children and young people, said the deputy GEW chairman Andreas Keller Stuttgart newspaper.

According to the plans of the red-green-yellow federal government, the social reform should take effect at the beginning of the year. Citizens’ income is intended to replace the current Hartz IV system. Among other things, the reform provides for higher standard rates and more detailed support for the unemployed. It failed in the Bundesrat due to resistance from state governments led or involved by the Union. From the point of view of the CDU and CSU, those affected are granted too much protection. In addition, they would have to fear too few sanctions for breaches of duty.

Union faction leader Friedrich Merz (CDU) had declared on Monday that the basis for the Union’s approval could not be mere commitments from the traffic light coalition, but only a fully formulated draft law. With the so-called special fund for the Bundeswehr of 100 billion euros, the Union had “only had bad experiences” with political commitments made by the traffic lights in the spring, explained the CDU leader. Not a single one of these promises was kept.

Saarland Prime Minister Anke Rehlinger (SPD) appealed to the Union to show that it was willing to compromise. “There can be clever compromises without losing sight of the goal. But then the CDU/CSU will also have to move,” said Rehlinger Editorial Network Germany (RND). The Union must decide whether they want to put the party permanently over the country. “The CDU prime ministers are responsible for millions of people and not just for the CDU presidium,” explained Rehlinger.

Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) said Stuttgart newspaper and the Stuttgart News: “With good will, a good compromise can be reached in terms of citizen income, the topic is unsuitable for mock political debates.” The opposition’s criticism of citizen income resonates with “sometimes a frightening ignorance and social coldness,” he said.

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