04 Mar 2018

Welfare sanctions disproportionately affect parents

Germany, Europe's richest economy, has a reputation for having a well-designed welfare state; however, recent government data suggest there is an important flaw with the way welfare sanctions are applied.

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Welfare sanctions disproportionately affect parents - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:

German citizens who receive state assistance can be sanctioned -- with payment cuts or loss of access to specialized services -- for minor transgressions, like a missed appointment at a job center. The latest data finds that it is most often families who are penalized in this manner.

A welfare system that does not take into account the needs of parents cannot be considered a well-functioning welfare system.

Parents, especially single parents, have less free time and mobility than unattached citizens, and cannot be held to the same standards. The fact that this reality was not computed into welfare strategy means that the German system is tailored to single people in urban environments -- an unforgiveable oversight.

family, economy

Details from the story:

  • According to the latest government statistics, a third of all sanctions (meaning welfare payment cuts and loss of access to professional education) imposed on unemployed German citizens affect families with children -- a disproportionate number considering the percentage of unemployed families vs. unemployed singles. 
  • The cuts are most often given for minor violations like a missed appointment at the job center (which are harder to keep for people with children).
  • In 2016, the welfare cuts affected 310,000 households with children, 96,000 of which were single parents.
  • The German Children Help Network is campaigning to exclude the families with children from the sanctions because it makes children pay for the problems of their parents
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