After days of struggling, the traffic light and the Union have cleared the way for the planned citizens' allowance. Both sides reached compromises on the disputed issues regarding the planned social reform, confirmed Katja Mast, the first parliamentary secretary of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, in a press statement.
Citizens' income is to replace today's Hartz IV benefits on January 1, 2023. However, the law has to be renegotiated in the mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundestag because the federal states led by the CDU/CSU had stopped the reform in the Bundesrat.
Mast confirmed that the planned six-month "grace period" would no longer apply in the compromise. That also makes it easier for the job center employees. Living conditions and assets should also be checked earlier than planned. Instead of the two years originally envisaged by the traffic light, this should now happen after 12 months.
The maximum amount of the planned protective assets will be 40,000 euros instead of 60,000 euros and 15,000 euros for each additional person in the household and should only remain untouched for one year. According to BILD, it should also be possible to sanction anyone who fails to attend an appointment at the employment office without an excuse. The Union would have prevailed on several points. The more generous additional earnings limits during the receipt of the citizen's allowance - for example for affected young people who work part-time - should remain in place. The FDP in particular had insisted on this.
"Democrats must be able to compromise," replied Mast when asked whether the Union had prevailed. However, the core of the reform remains. Johannes Vogel from the FDP emphasized that sanctions were already possible in the original draft law. That was distorted in the public debate.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz said that the traffic light was "to his surprise" very open to his party's compromise proposals. Unlike the SPD, however, he sees a fundamental change in citizen income in the “without replacement” of the grace period. "This means that the core of the citizens' income, as planned by the SPD, has been completely eliminated."
Merz also emphasized that the mediation committee would not meet until Wednesday evening. "Nothing has been decided before everything is decided," said the Union faction leader. However, one can look forward to the evening with “some confidence”.
The CDU and CSU had insisted that there should be more sanctions for recipients than originally planned. Such reductions in performance should take effect if, for example, the unemployed do not apply for a job, although this was agreed with the job center. The traffic light had provided for a “period of confidence” of six months during which these sanctions should not apply.
In addition, the CDU and CSU demanded that those affected be allowed to keep less of their own assets if they receive the state benefit. The traffic light had provided for a saving of 60,000 euros.
The mediation committee meets on Wednesday evening, only then will the compromise be finalized. By Friday, the Bundestag and Bundesrat are to adopt the Citizens' Income Act. On January 1st, the salary of single people should increase by more than 50 euros to 502 euros.