According to Labor Minister Hubertus Heil, it should be the biggest labor market reform in decades: Hartz IV will become citizen income. But what are the plans? An overview.

Hartz IV becomes citizen income: The traffic light coalition wants to get away from the old system of basic security. Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) proposes a new regulation that gives benefit recipients more of their previous acquis – and relies on trust between benefit recipients and job centers.

Answers to the most important questions:

How high will the citizen’s income be?

Heil is determined to push through an increase – he has in mind an increase of around 40 to 50 euros. His argument: the current system of calculation lags behind the galloping inflation. So far, however, he has encountered resistance from the FDP. The minister wants to set the exact amount on the basis of calculations that are not yet available.

What will job placement look like and what will happen to the previous sanctions?

Heil’s draft stipulates that job seekers conclude a cooperation plan with the job centers. At the beginning there is a six-month “trust period” during which those affected are not threatened with any cuts in benefits.

That changes after the six months. Then there is a risk of benefit cuts – for example, if the recipient of the citizen’s allowance does not apply for an offered job. However, there will be tight limits: Unlike in the past, the cuts should not be greater for young people than for older people, and cuts in the cost of accommodation are also excluded. Heil follows the guidelines of the Federal Constitutional Court.

What will apply to further training in the future?

The so-called switching priority does not apply. So far, the professional training of an unemployed person has often failed because he primarily has to accept a temporary job. Incentives for further training are also introduced. The existing continuing education bonus will be given an unlimited period of time, and a monthly continuing education allowance of 150 euros will also be paid.

Can citizens’ benefit recipients keep their previous apartment?

In the first two years, the job centers do not check whether an apartment is appropriate. People who are unemployed and have to look for a new job shouldn’t also have to worry about their apartment, Heil explains.

What assets are the beneficiaries allowed to keep?

In the first 24 months, benefits are granted if there is no “significant wealth”. Here the limit of 60,000 euros applies to the actual beneficiary and 30,000 euros for each additional person in the benefit community.

The long-term protective assets are increased to 15,000 euros. In addition, it is no longer checked whether one’s own car or one’s own apartment is appropriate.

What additional income opportunities are planned?

The allowances for income from school and student jobs and for trainees increase to 520 euros.

Can the job centers continue to demand money from benefit recipients in the future?

Yes, but there is a minimum limit of 50 euros. Only when larger amounts are involved do the job centers demand back money that the beneficiary received wrongly.