20 percent of unemployed people in Germany received no benefits in 2019

20 percent of unemployed people in Germany received no benefits in 2019

Just over 20 percent of people who were out of work received no governmental aid in 2019, according to new figures from the Federal Employment Agency (BA).

Falling through the social security net

In response to a request by the Left party, the BA revealed that 20,7 percent of all unemployed people in Germany did not receive benefits in 2019. Last year, an average of 170.978 people were registered as non-benefit recipients, including 96.416 men and 74.563 women without jobs.

Everyone in Germany is entitled to some kind of unemployment benefit in the event of losing their job. Those who have been making regular contributions to the social security system usually receive a benefit known as "unemployment benefit I" in the event of their being made unemployed. On average, 655.980 people received this kind of benefit in 2019. 

Anyone who is not eligible for unemployment benefit I - for instance the long-term unemployed or those who have not made enough contributions - can apply for unemployment benefit II (often colloquially referred to as "Hartz IV"). However, some unemployed people do not even qualify for Hartz IV - for instance, if their partner's income is deemed enough to cover them both - potentially putting thousands of people in a tricky financial situation.  

Non-recipient numbers increase due to coronavirus

In 2010, there were around 280.000 unemployed people who did not receive benefits. This number has decreased over the years but now is gradually beginning to rise again. "In the wake of the Corona crisis, the number of those affected who are not entitled to unemployment benefit or Hartz IV has increased and is continuing to rise," warned left-wing MP and social expert Sabine Zimmermann.

Zimmermann has called for easier access to unemployment benefits: “It must not be that so many people fall through the net and are let down by the federal government, even though most of them also pay contributions to unemployment insurance and taxes. And for older unemployed people and people with disabilities, the entitlement period must be extended in principle."

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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