Recently, the German Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maiziere declared that “part of the air intake to Germany” was explained by the fact that “the benefits granted to the refugees are relatively high.” What about the facts?
In Germany, the law requires asylum seekers and refugees to take care of themselves unless they are unable to do so. In this case, the state covers their basic needs: housing, food, clothes and others. In detail, this is what it means:
Use your own savings
Before they can claim subsidies, asylum seekers are legally obliged to use their income and savings to cover their expenses. A deductible of € 200 applies to the goods and the sum they need for their work or training. If they live in a foster home and have income or property, the wing applicants must reimburse the cost of housing and food to the municipalities.
As a general rule, asylum seekers have the right to work in Germany three months after their arrival. They then need a work permit and permission from the local authorities. But they often have trouble getting a job and getting a license. They then depend on the help of the State.
To silence criticism that some people may want to abuse the benefits system for asylum seekers, the federal government has accelerated asylum review procedures for “safe countries”, including Ghana, Albania and Kosovo. People from these countries are not allowed to seek employment in Germany.
For those who have been granted asylum or subsidiary protection, the same rules apply as for Germans, namely: if they have a job or savings, they must take care of themselves, pay taxes and contribute to the social security system. If they receive a very low salary and they have no savings, the State supports them financially by paying a part of their rent, their health insurance or other expenses of the same type. If they do not have a job, they receive allowances.
What the state pays to people who have been granted asylum
Many refugees have, at least initially, difficulties finding a job in Germany and therefore depend on welfare benefits. The so-called “Unemployment Allowance II” (AG II) is intended to cover the daily expenses and needs of people who have not recently contributed to an unemployment insurance fund. The amount paid to the beneficiaries of the GA II depends on the family status of the person concerned, his situation and the cost of living of the place where he resides.
Currently, a single adult receives on average € 408 per month for all his needs, except his rent and health insurance that are supported by the State. Beneficiaries of the GA II may also apply for additional assistance, for example for the basic furnishing of their apartment or if their child is on a class trip.
In principle, the State pays enough money to the beneficiary of the GA II so that the latter can live in a reasonably sized apartment. For example: in Bonn, a city in the center-west of Germany where the cost of living is rather high, a single person receives up to 497 € per month plus heating costs.
In Berlin, it’s € 365 a month for a single person and € 437 a month for two people living in a shared apartment, plus expenses. This is not enough to live in a popular area. As a result, most refugees find apartments on the outskirts and in less popular areas. In the end, many refugees therefore have a net income that is 60% lower than the German average wage and below the poverty line.
What the state pays to asylum seekers
According to the German Law on Benefits to Asylum Seekers, the State must provide housing, food, toiletries, clothing, basic household items and “benefits to cover the personal needs of daily life”. These needs include, for example, a phone card so that the asylum seeker can communicate with his / her family who has remained in his / her country of origin.
When an asylum seeker lives in a reception center, the law provides benefits in kind rather than cash to cover his needs, at least as long as it does not require excessive administrative effort. Depending on the region in which the asylum seeker is subsequently assigned, the aid scheme is different.
In Bavaria, for example, he only gets benefits in kind to cover the needs of his daily life. In other regional states he may receive cash. It can go up to 135 € per month for a single person, 122 € per month for an adult living with a partner and between 76 € and 83 € per month for a child, according to his age.
Once asylum seekers leave the reception center, the state takes charge of housing and basic household items. It can also offer more cash assistance so that asylum seekers can, for example, buy and cook their own food. These allowances range from € 216 / month for a single adult to € 133 for a child six years old or younger.
If the processing of the claimant’s file takes more than 15 months and the person himself did not delay the process, he receives allowances similar to those paid to people who have been granted the right to stay.