State support for German people

19 posts in this topic

I'm English and live in London with my German girlfriend who is expecting our first child.

 

I've wanted to live in Berlin for a few years now and we both agree its a much better city for bringing up a child o plan to move over next summer.

 

She is only a temp worker here in London (and has no employers maternity benefit/leave) and I'm self employed and earn OK money but it can be sporadic.

 

If we did move to Berlin with our new child she would effectively be unemployed and I'd have to hope I could keep some clients but would need to come back to London regularly to ensure one of us is earning any money. Ideally I;d like to get a job in Berlin but my German is poor and I'm fully aware of the high unemployment rate in the city.

 

So back to my main point.

 

What's kind of state support could my girlfriend expect seeing as she is German? My situation is different as I wouldn't be living in Berlin full time initially but she would be.

 

Does anyone have any experience with this situation?

 

Thanks

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I think your girlfriend would at the very least be eligible for Elterngeld. I don't know if Arbeitslosengeld would be paid alongside that, but as she is German she shouldn't have any problems. In theory any EU citizen can claim state support here as long as they have paid tax for a set period in their previous job in country.

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Moving to Berlin is not a solution to your financial worries. Thinking like that will get you nowhere fast. Good luck though and congratulations.

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I'd assume that your girlfriend would be eligible for the infamous Hartz IV, since she's German. Better double-check that with a reliable source before moving, though!

 

One thing I do know is that in order to get the Hartz IV money (which isn't much, btw) she must not have any savings worth mentioning and (!) if you plan to live with her in Berlin, your income will be taken into consideration. No, you don't have to be married for that, sharing a fridge let alone a bed is often enough.

 

The legislation regarding state benefits has become totally confusing. I strongly advice against entering the world of depending on the German dole unless you either are totally desperate or have a fetish for forms, red tape, and confused petty bureaucrats. Which, some cynics say, is why it was designed to confuse: puts a lot of people off applying for it.

 

To give you an example: A freelancer worked for me a while back and he was on Hartz IV. So he told me there'd be a form to fill where I state that he worked for me and received money (hey, no problem, I'm reasonably good with forms). That very form was returned to me 4 fucking times. It took almost 8 weeks to have it properly processed by the authorities. He received a lot less money per month in those two months because they came up with some stupid estimate about how much he might have earned extra. Yep, they did not just take off the money he earned but decided to go to fairytale land and assume he'd get that much on a regular base. I ended up loaning him money so he could pay his rent. This was a one gig only smallish freelance job in the area of 300 euro.

Turned out that the initial version of the form was filled in correctly, but hey, let's not bear a grudge.

 

Not to sound all negative, if you really do want to go for it, Berlin has the largest Hartz IV community per capita in Germany, so if you were looking for people who've seen it all, know how to deal with it, and have organized themselves to help: you'll probably find them there.

 

Best of luck

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hey london_lad, good question, i am going to be in exactly the same position... would appreciate any advise of someone with similar experiences

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Moving to Berlin is not a solution to your financial worries. Thinking like that will get you nowhere fast.

 

I agree.. Please pay attention to this.. No one is trying to be mean, we are just trying to allow everyone that comes here to be completely "realistic"

If you moved somewhere else in Germany, though expensive - least you might have hopes to not only get a job, but it might actually PAY! that way you are thinking like a responsible adult, who can then look after your family. please don't make the berlin move. not unless you have a year's worth of savings, and a support group here - that means family and friends.

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Sorry to have to tell you this, but your girlfriend is bullshitting you. She really wants to stay in the UK, so she is playing dumb about life in Germany. Maybe she is having an affair behind your back and doesn't want to leave, but more likely she hates the thought of going back to (nazi, not to put too fine a point on it) Germany. That's why most Germans leave the heimat, they hate the place. And they love the UK, although being better than the said nazi Germany is not really much of an achievement. In any case, it's going to cost you a fortune to send the kid to english-speaking schools, fit him/her (or "it" as the Germans put it) out with english country squire-look klammotten, send "it" back to the UK on endless english culture refresher courses as your girlfriend will demand etc etc. I don't like to say it but I don't see your relationship going very far, except in circles. Just my 2 cents.

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we both agree its a much better city for bringing up a child

I'd also like to know how you came to this conclusion.

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Welfare is intended for the mentally ill, sick, and others who are not capable of securing employment. So the reason I think your wife pleads ignorance is because the mere thought of going on Hartz IV is so distressing, she can't even bear mentioning it. She realizes that welfare for an individual such as herself is akin to stealing, and because it would damage her self-esteem to openly consider becoming a thief, she pretends as if going on welfare is not even a possibility. This is also coupled with the fact that she is probably wracked with guilt over the fact that she is pregnant out of wedlock. Two sins is two too many for your wife and she is now completely hysterical (she might even have entered a state of total incoherence and incontinence so that you will effectively be taking caring of two babies when she winds up giving birth). Thus, I think your only option is to stay in London and if you're so keen on moving to Berlin, secure a job before you move (which is nigh near impossible).

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You also might want to think about these -10 c days of cold. It's cold as a mofo out. I know Londoners are not built for this. In fact one Londoner I know had two pairs of pants on here yesterday because he did not own any thermal gear. If you come to Berlin, their is lots to prepare for!

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I agree with the points here wondering why? You wouldn't dream of saying: "ooh, we have no fixed employment, now a baby is on the way and so it's a wonderful idea to become jobless and go and be welfare dependent in Stoke / Middlesbrough / Liverpool because it's dirt cheap, so never mind there's little work, we can just become welfare dependent and rely on the state handouts feeding unemployed parents and their kids". Because that is effectively what you will be doing.

 

(Although, as noted, at least all those places don't go - 15 in winter and at least you would actually speak the local language.)

 

So why on earth is it different for Berlin? I'm always surprised that Brits who would probably be mortified at the idea of having the label "welfare dependent" attached to them when in the UK seem perfectly comfortable with the idea of doing it in Berlin.

 

Might also be a good idea to read the reports on the recent Newsfeed here about how difficult a lot of people on Harz IV find it to get off it. Much as in the UK, the cycle of welfare dependency is often hard to break, whatever your intentions. Once you slip off the ladder (or in your case choose to get off it), it can be hard to get back on. Also, however unfair, the stigma attached to Harz IV, as listed here, does seem to exist (most Germans I know heading that way go out of their way to avoid it). Forget anything you might have heard about supposed "social equality" here, it's the opposite

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So why on earth is it different for Berlin? I'm always surprised that Brits who would probably be mortified at the idea of having the label "welfare dependent" attached to them when in the UK seem perfectly comfortable with the idea of doing it in Berlin.

 

Because if you do it at home, all your friends and family will know/might find out but in Berlin, nobody knows them.

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Two sins is two too many for your wife and she is now completely hysterical

 

There is always the traditional remedy for this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria ...

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I have several points-

 

First of all, all parents (taxpayers?) get kindergeld, which last time I checked amounts to around e160 per month- which should keep you in nappies for a while.

 

Second of all, getting work in Berlin is (like anywhere else) just about your state of mind and the limits which you set yourself. Don't listen to the naysayers- if you want to do it, you can.

 

Thirdly, you (the above posters) must be clinically insane to even question the statement that Berlin is better for kids than London (or practically anywhere in the UK). If you want your kids to grow up surrounded by litter, violence, intolerance and miserable rat-like people who accuse you of being a paedo for even looking at their kids then go ahead and live in the UK... Having lived all over Europe, I have to say that Germany is a paradise for children. Our daughter (12) has learned three languages and is taught a maths and science curriculum the envy of many secondary schools in the UK. What is more, there are much fewer of the commercial and social pressures which so mar childhood at home.

 

sorry to go off on rant...

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[quote name='kasandra' date='21.Dec.2009, 10:29pm' timestamp='1261430997' post='1869682'

Thirdly, you (the above posters) must be clinically insane to even question the statement that Berlin is better for kids than London (or practically anywhere in the UK). If you want your kids to grow up surrounded by litter, violence, intolerance and miserable rat-like people who accuse you of being a paedo for even looking at their kids then go ahead and live in the UK...

 

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If you do move to Berlin, you and your girlfriend are entitled to the same social support as all other EU citizens living in Berlin. So once you register correctly and get all the paperwork in order, you will get normal child benefit, and possible Elternsgeld - but this depends on when you move and your girlfriend's plans (stay at home, freelance work etc) - Elternsgeld us usually for 12 months after the birth.

 

Forget about unemployment money - if you or your girlfriend have not worked in Germany for some years and paid social contributions, you are not entitled to anything. So your entitlement will be only normal social help as mentioned by other posters.

 

I do not see why it would be sensible for you not to be officially living in Berlin with your family. Anything else complicates things, in my opinion, making paperwork more complicated. You can still of course travel to clients outside of Germany, but you would be registered here in Berlin if you are sensible. You will have to register as Selbsstandig (self employed), and this would mean you will have to have private health insurance (no choice, and no your UK health insurance is not relevant, and no you cannot use EU health card - you MUST have proper health insurance, and in particular as you are coming with a child, you would be mad to try to get around this.

 

A couple of other things to note. If you are not married, you may not be officially recognised as the father, and you will have to go through a process to be legally recognised as such - this would in general only be significant if you separate.

 

As has been pointed out, just moving to Berlin will not solve financial and other family related issues. However I can say that in my opinion Berlin is a fantastic place to bring up kids, lots of playgrounds, good health care, education, cosmopolitan culture and many child friendly citizens.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Colin

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First of all, all parents (taxpayers?) get kindergeld, which last time I checked amounts to around e160 per month- which should keep you in nappies for a while.

 

Correct everybody gets kindergeld - not just taxpayers - as long as you are correctly registered (including with the Jungendsamt - i.e the government department looking after Children issues, schools etc).

 

Elternsgeld is different - this is a payment to new mothers that supports them in the first year if staying at home to look after the new baby.

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