The Left Party has recalculated the standard rates. According to it recipients:in would get "without tricks" clearly more.
The Hartz IV rate does not include alcohol or cigarettes, nor does it include ice cream outside the home Photo: Jens Buttner/dpa
225 euros more than at present – so much would be entitled to Hartz IV recipients:inside according to calculations of the Left Party actually. "The federal government deliberately lowers the standard rates by all kinds of tricks," states Katja Kipping, the social policy spokeswoman of the party’s parliamentary group in the Bundestag. She has therefore had the standard rates recalculated according to the conventional procedure, but without the "most obvious tricks."
Accordingly, the standard rate for a single adult should be 657.55 euros. Kipping’s parliamentary group wants to introduce a corresponding motion for the increase of Hartz IV in the Bundestag at the end of October.
Currently, single people receive 432 euros a month. This rate is actually set to rise next year, but only by 7 euros. The rates for teenage children are to be increased somewhat more significantly, by 39 euros to 367 euros. SPD Social Affairs Minister Hubertus Heil has already presented his bill. At the end of October, the Bundestag is to discuss it in its first reading.
However, the Left Party, as well as trade unions and social associations, criticize the calculation basis. The basis is the income and consumption sample conducted by the Federal Statistical Office every five years.
A total of 111,000 people take part in this survey of their income and expenditure. For the calculation of the Hartz IV standard rates, the Ministry of Social Affairs bases its calculations on the lowest-income 15 percent of one-person households and the bottom 20 percent of families. Goods not "relevant to needs" are excluded from their expenditures: for example, alcohol and cigarettes, but also expenditures for dry cleaning, food for pets, a meal or ice cream away from home, or the upkeep of a car or motorcycle.
28 billion euros in additional costs
With this calculation method, the federal government is promoting poverty, loneliness and making it more difficult to find a job, says Kipping. For the alternative calculation, she has therefore eliminated all exceptions, except for expenses that are covered by the job center anyway, such as housing and heating costs. She also calculates electricity separately. In addition, the group of the lowest-income single people was increased to 20 percent and hidden poor, i.e. people who could actually apply for Hartz IV but do not, were taken out. This is the basis for the greatly increased standard rate.
If this were implemented, however, the state would have to spend 28 billion euros more. Per year. According to Kipping, this would not be a problem in view of the sums that the state is currently spending in the Corona crisis. In addition, Hartz IV recipients immediately put a good part of their income back into consumption, so an increase in the standard rate would stimulate the economy.
The Left Party is not alone in its demands. The Paritatische Gesamtverband criticizes that Hartz IV recipients have too little money for food and demanded an immediate increase of 100 euros at the beginning of September. In June, the Greens also presented their own and, as they emphasize, "scientifically based" concept for calculating the standard rates. With the new calculation, the Greens would arrive at 557 euros per month for the standard rate without electricity and extra expenses such as a new washing machine.
However, it is unlikely that a substantial increase in the standard rates can be implemented in the current political constellation. The SPD’s Minister of Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil, believes that his draft law fulfills the welfare state’s imperative to "ensure a minimum standard of living for all and to enable people to participate in society.