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Job centers fear wave of Hartz IV applications

by drbyos
Job centre

Applications for state basic security should be simplified for a limited period.

(Photo: imago images / Schöning)

Berlin The social protection package for cushioning economic corona consequences, which was also adopted by the Federal Council on Friday, raises concerns in the job centers responsible for processing. There are doubts as to whether the human resources are sufficient to process applications for supplementary Hartz IV services quickly.

“We are unable to understand the calculations and forecasts regarding access to initial applications and the duration of their processing,” says a written statement by the Federal Chairman of the Job Center Personnel Council, Uwe Lehmeniek.

The letter, which is in the Handelsblatt, is addressed to the Federal Ministry of Labor, the parliamentary factions, the state chancelleries, the local umbrella organizations and the headquarters of the Federal Employment Agency (BA).

The social protection package provides, among other things, help for the self-employed who have no more jobs due to the corona epidemic. They should be able to apply for Hartz IV benefits – initially for a limited period until the end of June – without having to disclose their assets beforehand. It is also not checked whether your apartment is too expensive.

The simplified procedure should not only make the aid quickly and unbureaucratically accessible, but “above all also support the ability of the job centers to work,” writes the Ministry of Labor in its formulation aid for the draft law of the coalition groups.

It is unclear how many applications are coming

In the justification for the law, the department expects that there may be up to 1.2 million additional Hartz IV recipients from the circle of self-employed, but also from other groups of employees who lose their income.

At the moment, no one can say with certainty how many crisis-related new applications can be expected, according to the letter from the job center staff councils. However, these assume that in addition to the additions of small entrepreneurs and solo self-employed persons, there will also be “substantial” additions from other workers.

It is all the more regrettable that, despite repeated reminders, the job centers do not have the personnel resources they actually need in normal times, Lehmeniek writes. “The access to beneficiaries will be considerable and the rework after the temporary access simplifications have ended will be enormous,” it continues. “We ask you to take this into account appropriately in the 2021 staff budget preparation procedure.”

However, the job center staff councils also point out that “if every actual expenditure on accommodation and heating is temporarily considered appropriate, it could lead to” considerable social discrepancies and consultation efforts “.

In other words, while beneficiaries who were dependent on basic security even before Corona may have to move out of their apartment because the costs are too high, the Corona-injured self-employed can in extreme cases, at least temporarily, have a luxury old building financed by the state.

Clear rules needed

It was therefore necessary to clarify whether existing instructional procedures relating to inadequate accommodation and heating costs would be discontinued. “It would be difficult to convey to those entitled to benefits if some costs were reduced and others were not,” the letter said.

According to the law, assets should only be disregarded if they are not “significant”. The fuzzy legal concept needs to be interpreted. However, the employees in the job centers now need clear regulations.

Overall, however, the staff councils reaffirm the commitment of all job center employees to master the exceptional situation as best as possible. “Given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a great deal of concern and sympathy among the employees of the joint facilities, but also the willingness and willingness to face this crisis and to provide basic security for job seekers in a committed manner.”

More: Detlef Scheele’s authority is in a state of emergency. The head of the employment agency speaks in an interview about the challenges of short-time work and unemployment in Corona times.


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