Hartz IV for foreigners in Germany

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Hello everybody, my question would be if anyone knows more about the Hartz IV and how possible it is for a non german eu citizen to get it (in berlin). Any tips are welcomed.

 

thank you in advance

 

el

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Any EU citizen can transfer their unemployment claim to another country for up to three months while they look for work. If they haven't found work at the end of that period, they have to move back again.

 

I don't think it's normally possible to transfer a claim from one country to another permanently - in other words, you could claim if you worked in Germany for a while and then lost your job, but you can't move and then make a claim.

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You can only transfer your unemployment benefits for three months if you were paid contribution based allowance rather than income based. At least this is the case with JSA in the UK, I'm not sure about other EU countries but I would think it would be a similar system. The difference between contribution and income based is the same as ALG I and ALG II...z.b. a German who recieved ALG I could get contribution-based JSA in the UK for 3 months. If you have not paid enough insurance in your country to recieve that type of benefit, you won't be able to transfer it to another country.

This is only in reply to the question of transferable benefits, I'm not sure what else could be available to you but it would take some serious looking into and couldn't just be answered on a forum, there are so many factors that need to be considered for something like Hartz IV or other social benefits. You would need to go to the Arbeitsamt and bring enough money to live on for five years while they process your claim ;).

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That last post is right. Best place to start in your home country. They should be the ones giving advice to their citizens about how state benefit entitlements in your home nation might transfer to another one. The UK certainly offers detailed guidance to its citizens.

 

In general though, Hartz IV is nothing to aspire to imho for various reasons (ie. it's not much, it gives you a low status etc). The Germans I know that fall on hard times try desperately to avoid ending up on it. If that's your foundation for moving here, think hard about your capacity to sustain a life here. As an immigrant, you usually simply won't get the same support as nationals.

 

Life as a migrant is hard enough. Without the capacity to fend for oneself, it can quickly become impossible. Even the Germans I know on Hartz IV find life difficult and they are way more privileged than we immigrants.

 

Also remember that, although you have an entitlement to want to live here as an EU citizen, the authorities can ask to prove you can support yourself financially and have healthcare cover (although they don't seem to bother often).

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I have further questions on this topic that I hope the collective TT knowledge can help with.

 

The situation is:

I am an American and I have lived in Germany for 7 years. I have an "unbefristet" residency and work visa through my marriage to a German (from whom I am separated.) I also have a 7 year old dual citizen German/American son, if that has any relevance.

 

I have worked sporadically since I have been in Germany. I worked 1 1/2 years as a freelancer for Berlitz from 2004-2006. I worked for 5 months at a firm as a full-time employee in 2006-2007. Then around one year as a part-time employee with another firm (not a mini-job.) I now work full-time at another firm as an employee - for 8 months now and with no plans to change that. In summary:

 

2004 - 2006: 1.5 years (freelance)

2006 - 2007: 5 months (employed)

2007 - 2008: 1 year (employed part-time)

2008 - present: 8 months (employed and continuing)

 

My questions revolve around the fact that I have a medical condition which may over time worsen to the point where I would be unable to work. I do not qualify for private disability insurance (trust me, I have tried to get this!) I have public (BKK) insurance and private insurance for hospitalizations. At the moment and hopefully for the foreseeable future, I am able to work, but the nature of the condition is unpredictable, and I have been wondering what might happen to me in the future, and what I would qualify for as far as social services are concerned.

 

Before anyone jumps on the "go home to your own country" thing, I would only every go back to the States as an absolute last resort as I would not want to take my son away from his German father, and it would be extremely difficult if not impossible for my son's father to immigrate to the US. And besides that, Munich is my home and is the only place I ever want to live. I don't want to mooch off the system, I just want to know what kind of safety nets exist on the chance that I may need to avail myself to them.

 

My limited understanding of Hartz IV is that, at a minimum, someone would need to have 5 years of paying into the social system before someone would qualify. I don't even know if Hartz IV is available to Americans, or only to other EU citizens.

 

So my questions boil down to:

1. Would I qualify for Hartz IV, and on what conditions?

2. Are there other social services I would qualify for if I were unable to work due to disability?

 

Thanks in advance for any helpful replies. :)

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... 1. Would I qualify for Hartz IV, and on what conditions?

2. Are there other social services I would qualify for if I were unable to work due to disability? ...

1.

 

Yes ...

 

1.5 Wer ist berechtigt zum Bezug von Grundsicherung für Arbeitsuchende?

 

 

Haben Ausländer ihren gewöhnlichen Aufenthalt in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, erhalten Sie nur Leistungen nach dem SGB II, wenn ihnen die Aufnahme einer Beschäftigung erlaubt ist oder erlaubt werden könnte ...

2.

 

You qualify for all social services/benefits available to legal residents of Germany ... regardless of how long you you "paid into the system"

 

Besides:

 

You are entitled to claim German citizenship ... afaik

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1.Yes ...

1.5 Wer ist berechtigt zum Bezug von Grundsicherung für Arbeitsuchende?

2.You qualify for all social services/benefits available to legal residents of Germany ... regardless of how long you you "paid into the system"

Besides:You are entitled to claim German citizenship ... afaik

Thanks for the response... Although I am still left with my questions.

 

Unfortunately, my German is not great so I can't follow what you are referring to above. I will see if I can get a German speaker to outline it for me, or if anyone on here wants to give it a go, I would appreciate it.

 

I realize I may qualify for some social benefits, but I don't have any idea what those are. So if someone could outline them for me, or point me in the direction of a (hopefully English) link, I would be appreciative.

 

Yes, I could apply next year for German citizenship, but I would have to give up my American citizenship to do so, and that is a no-go for me.

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Hi Leeza,

yes, you would qualify for Arbeitslosengeld II (i.e. "Hartz IV") no matter how long you have been in Germany or what jobs you have held in the past. All that matters is that you are a legal resident with a current unrestricted work permit.

 

I don't know the specifics, but essentially the agency responsible for it in you state (it differs depending where you live) will look at your household income (you and your husband and any other household members that might be contributing financially) and any savings that you might have. There is a savings allowance that you won't be expected to touch (don't quote me on it, but I think it is 200 Euros per year of the age of each adult member of the household, but I'm really not sure). After that it is decided on that information how much of your rent, heating and other utilities, health insurance, and some other expenses like public transportation will be covered by the government. Basically, if your husband is taking home a lot money from his job, you probably won't receive much in public assistance, but if you truly depend on your income to cover half of the household cost, it might be a real help. Nothing to get rich with, but it might cover some basic bills.

 

Sorry I couldn't be of more help. There is a ton of information online though. Couldn't you ask your husband to translate/research for you?

 

Good luck.

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@meikerrik - that's really helpful information, thank you. My husband and I are separated and don't live together, so he's not really around to help me with translating and whatnot.

 

I just wanted to get an idea of what would be available to me if, god forbid, things get bad. They are not at a bad point now, but I think I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what might happen because of the unpredictability of my condition, and I was hoping that knowledgeable TTers could share what they know. Because of my limited German, I can't really search for this stuff on the web myself. I don't want anyone to go out of their way excessively, I just wondering if those who knew stuff already could put it forward.

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My husband and I are separated and don't live together

In that case, if you are the only adult living in the household, you would probably receive the full extend of the assistance. Here is what is covered according to Wikipedia:

 

You will receive 351 Euros to live on, a child under 13 will receive 211 Euros, as a single parents you will receive another 126 Euros assistance. rent will be covered up to 444 Euros and 60m2 for two people. Also covered is heating and health insurance, I believe.

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700 isnt so bad if heating, insurance and rent is already covered. Probably takes a bit of getting used to but I reckon one could get by reasonably on that...? I mean, it wouldn't mean much in the way of luxury of course, but that isn't the point with it either. I'm assuming also that the father presumably makes some sort of contribution.

 

If the condition deteriorated and meant that you couldn't work then it could be worth trying for the disability allowance again? Fingers crossed you won't need to do that though :)

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It would mean a lot of significant changes, especially for my son. In any case, I need to not get myself more worried about it and just focus on finding out the facts. I am a worrier by nature, and it doesn't serve me in this situation.

 

@boomtown rat, what is the "disability allowance" you are referring to?

 

And what is the difference between Arbeitslosengeld I and Arbeitslosengeld II (Hartz IV)?

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If you have any investments, pensions, shares, property outside of Germany, these are all taken into account when you claim social security, and in my case, because my wife and I own a house in the uk, I don't get a penny.

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Arbeitslosengeld I is the contributions-based unemployment benefit. It's paid as a percentage of your last salary and is time-limited. Usually the maximum is 60% of the last salary for one year, capped at €1,500 per month or so.

 

If you don't qualify for ALG I, or when it runs out, you will get ALG II.

 

For ALG II the maximum savings or assets you're allowed is €500 per year of your age. So a 40 year old would be allowed a total of €8,000 in cash and assets. Currently cars and motorcycles don't count although that may be changing or have changed recently.

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Currently cars and motorcycles don't count although that may be changing or have changed recently.

I think they have to be "appropriate", so you might have to sell the Porsche and get a second-hand Golf II.

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For ALG II the maximum savings or assets you're allowed is €500 per year of your age. So a 40 year old would be allowed a total of €8,000 in cash and assets. Currently cars and motorcycles don't count although that may be changing or have changed recently.

Far more complicated than that.

 

You're allowed 250 Euro per year of age for in tied-up pension plans, a life insurance worth up to 16,250 Euro, and any state-supported private combination pension plan (Rürup, Riester plans). If you were born before 1948, you are allowed 520 Euro per year of age, maximum 33,000 Euro (since, by that age, the above pension plans and life insurances will likely pay out). If you were born after 1948, you are allowed 150 Euro per year of age, minimum 3,100 Euro and maximum 9,750 Euro; plus 750 Euro for "necessary procurements".

 

A car or motorcycle (max one per work-capable adult in a common ALG2 group, i.e. family) may have an estimated current worth up to 7.500 Euro, recently corrected upwards from 5.000 Euro by the Bundessozialgericht.

A privately owned house or apartment also has to be "appropriate", for an apartment maximum 120m², for a house maximum 130m² - independant of number of inhabitants. And you have to live in it.

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regarding the disability allowance I thought that was what you had written earlier but I misread that you had written insurance. Well, I don't know the details, I'll try and do some searching if time permits, but if one cannot work then there must be some kind of disability allowance or even the option to take an early pension because one can't work. Exactly how disabled one has to be I'm not sure, I guess they could claim if you can take care of a kid then you are not "disabled enough", but some kind of certificate from a doctor might help I suppose in the event of it happening - perhaps depends if you have any of the history of not being able to work recorded in the German health system too.

 

Sorry, all very vague and not very useful really, will try and look something up at some point

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Well, there's Sozialhilfe instead of Hartz IV - which you end up on if you're signed off as disabled or generally not being capable of working 3 hours or more per day (and you're not gonna regain such status within the next 6 months).

 

If you have worked at least 5 years and paid into state pension insurance at least 36 of the last 60 months, you can go into early pension if the above (capable of working less than 3 hours) applies. Of course this pension will be relatively low as one wouldn't have paid as much into it by then.

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Far more complicated than that.

 

You're allowed 250 Euro per year of age for in tied-up pension plans, a life insurance worth up to 16,250 Euro, and any state-supported private combination pension plan (Rürup, Riester plans). If you were born before 1948, you are allowed 520 Euro per year of age, maximum 33,000 Euro (since, by that age, the above pension plans and life insurances will likely pay out). If you were born after 1948, you are allowed 150 Euro per year of age, minimum 3,100 Euro and maximum 9,750 Euro; plus 750 Euro for "necessary procurements".

 

A car or motorcycle (max one per work-capable adult in a common ALG2 group, i.e. family) may have an estimated current worth up to 7.500 Euro, recently corrected upwards from 5.000 Euro by the Bundessozialgericht.

A privately owned house or apartment also has to be "appropriate", for an apartment maximum 120m², for a house maximum 130m² - independant of number of inhabitants. And you have to live in it.

Does this savings limit apply for ALG1? Would a redundancy payout count as savings? If the ALG1 is capped at 1500 Euro for 60% what is the cap for 67%?

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