Travel & Leisure

What is Hartz IV and do I need it to travel in Germany?

Discover German architecture when travelling to Germany

Hartz IV is the final component of a series of reforms to the German labor market instituted between 2002 and 2005, bringing together unemployment benefits for long-term unemployed (“Arbeitslosenhilfe”) and state welfare benefits (“Sozialhilfe”).

Many older citizens fall through social security network

Not everyone has the security of a permanent job, especially the elderly who are often discriminated against and can no longer find suitable employment on the labor market. Even with retraining and the highest level of motivation, many older citizens, therefore, fall through the social security network.

Hartz IV—also known as unemployment benefit II or ALG II for short—is a form of social security that does not apply to travelers but to German citizens. It is important for those who qualify for the benefits to receive sufficient information and news about it, and the guide on the link below is intended to give tips and tricks concerning support for education, training, employment, financing, and possible procedures under social welfare law.

In Germany, basic security benefits for employable beneficiaries are available so that they can lead a life that corresponds to human dignity. The entire Hartz IV procedure from application to approval is regulated in Book II of the Social Code (SGB II), with the aim of restoring beneficiaries to work that is reasonable according to their level of knowledge. It must be noted that if the beneficiary does not cooperate, sanctions can also be imposed which, for example, may lead to a reduction in benefits of up to 30%.

Not for apprentices, schoolchildren, and students

Apprentices, schoolchildren, and students do not qualify to receive Hartz IV benefits, as they have not yet become available to the labor market. Apprentices who are completing an apprenticeship can apply for BAföG benefits or a vocational training grant. However, this relates only to the standard benefit that can be used to cover the cost of living. In exceptional cases, Hartz VI services can also be granted to cover accommodation costs and potential special needs.

Marginal or part-time employment

Under Hartz IV regulations it is possible to pursue marginal or part-time employment, but any income received as such will diminish the amount of Hartz IV remuneration. According to Section 11 b (3) of the Second Book of the Social Code, a basic amount of up to 100 euros generally remains free of credit.