Elderly Welfare Recipient Sanctioned for Gift

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Scrolling through FB today and came across this article, a pensioner was given 1500€ from family and friends to buy an e-bike. Seems he is getting some form of supplementary pension and was penalized for the gift. I had no idea that Germany offered supplementary pension for poor people and that they were so strict on this.

 

To Quote

 

His family collected and transferred the money to his account. He then bought an e-bike with it. But: "Shortly thereafter, the social welfare office credited the money, minus an allowance of €50. This means that these €1,550 are now deducted monthly from his meagre basic security!" An absurdity for Steinhaus. "Why can't a pensioner get a gift? It wouldn't have been deducted if the family had given him the e-bike directly." She criticizes: "Why are poor people even made gifts impossible?"

 

Helena Steinhaus from the "Sanktionsfrei" association reports on Twitter about the case. "Hans is a pensioner and is supplemented by basic security (SGB XII). For his 70th birthday, friends and family wanted to give him a big celebration, but: Corona. Instead, 1600 euros came together for an e-bike that Hans needs to be there car is broken," she writes. His family collected and transferred the money to his account. He then bought an e-bike with it. But: "Shortly thereafter, the social welfare office credited the money, minus an allowance of €50. This means that these €1,550 are now deducted monthly from his meagre basic security!" An absurdity for Steinhaus. "Why can't a pensioner get a gift? It wouldn't have been deducted if the family had given him the e-bike directly." She criticizes: "Why are poor people even made gifts impossible?"

 

Focus article

 

Waz article

 

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I know that in the US people on Welfare can get gifts - clothing, food, etc. - but are penalized if instead they receive the cash value of said gifts. Perhaps it's the same for this poor guy?

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A pension is what a person and/or their employer has contributed to to support them in later life, it is paid regardless of a pensioners financial situation and is subject to income tax but will not be reduced or withdrawn if the pensioner receives a gift etc. Social security is different, basically as far as I know nearly everywhere apply some form of means test so gifts may result in payment being reduced or stopped. If the recipient won millions on the lottery for example you would not expect them to continue to receive social security payments but they would still be entitled to their state pension.

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1 hour ago, keith2011 said:

If the recipient won millions on the lottery for example you would not expect them to continue to receive social security payments but they would still be entitled to their state pension.

The use of terminology varies within the English speaking world.  In the US what we commonly refer to as our „monthly social security payment“ is effectively a state pension, and one can win the lottery and will still receive it, namely because one paid into the system.  Depending on income it may be subject to state/federal tax.  Other social assistance programs are means tested because the recipient is not required to have paid into the fund in order to qualify for the benefit. I have a relative in this category and know to gift an item rather than cash.  

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Surely not €1,550 a month, that is a one-off present. Perhaps it is deducted bit by bit over several/many months.

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From reading the article further it seems that it's a form of Hartz IV and can be clawed back. Unfortunately for him they should have not deposited it into the bank. I do have a single friend living on a very low income, I mention this to her in passing, she might not be aware there is extra money to be had. 

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53 minutes ago, Rushrush said:

... a form of Hartz IV and can be clawed back. Unfortunately for him they should have not deposited it into the bank. 

Out of curiosity, hartz4 recepie ta has to surrender one's  bank access or bank reports the balance to the authority directly? 

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Some years ago, an external freelance consultant who was in our department for 15 years got a stroke in the office and was unable to work afterwards. Since he didn‘t have the relevant insurances, we collected money twice (ca.€4000 in total) and transferred this to his adult daughter. He and his wife were living off Hartz 4. Very sad story.

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3 hours ago, vivanco said:

Out of curiosity, hartz4 recepie ta has to surrender one's  bank access or bank reports the balance to the authority directly? 

 

They are asked to bring bank statements.  I don't know to which degree the authorities can get info directly from the banks but I heard of someone who had a second account at another bank and got caught after someone ratted him out so in that case, the authorities must have been able to at least get the confirmation from the bank that he has an account there.

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It sounds to me that the old chap is in receipt of "Grundsicherung im Alter" , a type of top-up social security payment when one's current old age pension is not enough. Your total assets must not be more than 5000 euros. The payment of 1500 euros probably pushed him over this limit of 5k... and now they will be deducting 50 euros per month from his entitlement until its below the threshold again.This is the way I understand this situation, only trying to read between the lines!. How the govt officials found out about him going over the 5k limit with the 1500 euros, this I wouldn't know. I would love to know how they found out as I will be in the same boat in about a year or so time as I'm also going to have to apply for this Grundsicherung..As far as the government knowing that someone has a 2nd account is by doing a Schufa check which shows all your bank accounts etc etc etc.

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Another reason why pensioners keep cash stuffed in their mattress... sad but true.

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Only unconditional basic income can solve this problem.

 

Unless it is introduced people who worked and paid into a pension will feel unfair when those who did not work receive the same amount unconditionally. 

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1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

Only unconditional basic income can solve this problem.

 

Unless it is introduced people who worked and paid into a pension will feel unfair when those who did not work receive the same amount unconditionally. 

 

Here in Germany the state pension works on the basis that contributions are a % of your salary, the more you pay in the more you get out! As far as I know if you don't contribute you don't get anything, although I believe women who raised children are automatically credited to some extent in their own right.

What's wrong with that? Do you think a unconditional basic income would not be means tested or as in my earlier example would you pay it to someone who won millions on the lotto?

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1 hour ago, keith2011 said:

 

Here in Germany the state pension works on the basis that contributions are a % of your salary, the more you pay in the more you get out! As far as I know if you don't contribute you don't get anything, although I believe women who raised children are automatically credited to some extent in their own right.

What's wrong with that? Do you think a unconditional basic income would not be means tested or as in my earlier example would you pay it to someone who won millions on the lotto?

Not only in Germany, it is everywhere in the capitalist world. 

Grundsicherung is not only for those who lived off Hartz IV. 

 

Single mothers, divorced women who work part-time on crappy jobs, some low-paid blue-collar workers, etc, do not earn enough to get a pension which is enough for living. Or they do earn, but their pension is exactly as Grundsicherung+rent. 

 

A single mother gets 800 euro pension, 400 for the Wohnung, 400 for food. 

A Hartz 4 punk gets 0 pension, Grundsicherung pays for his Wohnung, and gives 400 for food. 

Fair? 

 

Now let's put unconditional basic income. The idea behind it is that we can fire the whole Arbeitsamt which checks if the pensioner does not get a gift. We pay hefty Beamte salaries to these people. Instead, we pay everyone, say 800 euro per month. Without any conditions attached, every citizen and permanent resident gets it.

 

Now, a Hartz 4 punk gets only these 800 euro and continues punking. 

 

A single mom has a choice: work and get a 800 euro pension on top of basic income, or raise a child and get no pension, just unconditional basic income. 

 

Fairer? 

 

 

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1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

Not only in Germany, it is everywhere in the capitalist world. 

Grundsicherung is not only for those who lived off Hartz IV. 

 

Single mothers, divorced women who work part-time on crappy jobs, some low-paid blue-collar workers, etc, do not earn enough to get a pension which is enough for living. Or they do earn, but their pension is exactly as Grundsicherung+rent. 

 

A single mother gets 800 euro pension, 400 for the Wohnung, 400 for food. 

A Hartz 4 punk gets 0 pension, Grundsicherung pays for his Wohnung, and gives 400 for food. 

Fair? 

 

Now let's put unconditional basic income. The idea behind it is that we can fire the whole Arbeitsamt which checks if the pensioner does not get a gift. We pay hefty Beamte salaries to these people. Instead, we pay everyone, say 800 euro per month. Without any conditions attached, every citizen and permanent resident gets it.

 

Now, a Hartz 4 punk gets only these 800 euro and continues punking. 

 

A single mom has a choice: work and get a 800 euro pension on top of basic income, or raise a child and get no pension, just unconditional basic income. 

 

Fairer? 

 

 

 

It makes sense to an extent but if applied across the board, I think it would drive up wages and prices.

 

If the bakery worker now has to work 10 hours a week to get 1000 euro, then he or she might do that; reduced supply of labour means cost of labour goes up so the price of bread goes up.

 

And because everybody has a guaranteed basic income, they can buy more bread or nice cakes anyway ‐ meaning demand goes up, so price also goes up.

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1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

Now let's put unconditional basic income. The idea behind it is that we can fire the whole Arbeitsamt which checks if the pensioner does not get a gift.

 

You can't dismantle the entire department because you'd still need people to verify eligibility. Or do you expect German tax payers to support all German citizens worldwide as well as all EU citizens? Or are you proposing that Germany leaves the EU?

 

All theoretical models I've ever seen don't take into account migration flows. There are enough posts on this site by foreigners who don't really live here and try to scam the system. Just imagine if you were offering them all "free money".

 

Furthermore, I don't really think the middle class is going to be willing to pay even higher taxes (I know I'm not).

 

1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

Fairer? 

 

Only if you live in an ivory tower. It is not a system that works in the real world.

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3 hours ago, yourkeau said:

Fairer? 

 

Yes lets go for it, I can't deny that an extra €800 would be very nice indeed,:) on the other hand I would probably end up paying an extra €798 in income tax!:(

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14 minutes ago, keith2011 said:

 

Yes lets go for it, I can't deny that an extra €800 would be very nice indeed,:) on the other hand I would probably end up paying an extra €798 in income tax!:(

 

That sounds like you don't understand income tax Keith. ;)

 

It's a nice idea in principle but some people get more than €800 a month due to having 8 kids or having a disability.
You're then back to having to process all the claims anyway.
 

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On 07/03/2022, 10:55:27, vivanco said:

Out of curiosity, hartz4 recepie ta has to surrender one's  bank access or bank reports the balance to the authority directly? 

 

With Hartz 4 (and they aren’t all “punks”) you have to submit your bank account info at the end of every 6 months. They look for large sums of money going into your account. However, it has not been mandatory since the beginning of Corona, so I wonder how they found out? 

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11 hours ago, klingklang77 said:

 

With Hartz 4 (and they aren’t all “punks”) you have to submit your bank account info at the end of every 6 months. They look for large sums of money going into your account. However, it has not been mandatory since the beginning of Corona, so I wonder how they found out? 

 

I know a couple of ppl on Hartz iv and they are still being asked for account statements.  Maybe it depends on the area.

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