What is the punishment for abusing German social benefits?
Germany is tightening up its benefit system against abusers who use them without trying to get a job. The latest action is a draft bill to be ready by July which will ban fraudsters from returning to the country using fake documents.
In the draft bill, fraudsters who are caught trying to get back into Germany will get imprisoned for three years. It will be approved through a vote in the Parliamentary and the Upper House.
Germany was given the go signal to tighten measures against benefit fraudsters after the EU Court of Justice said it can deny EU citizens unemployment benefits if they are proven to have no job prospects. Welfare benefits should only be given to those who are working or who have job prospects in the country.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is leading the charge on the fight against benefit fraud just days before the EU Parliamentary election in Germany on Sunday. She said ‘We don’t want to pay Hartz IV (welfare benefit) to EU citizens who are just here in Germany to look for work.
‘The EU is not a social union. We are working on the best way to eliminate abuse.’
The Labour Ministry reported that, last year, Germany spent €1.7 billion on benefits to EU citizens living in the country. The statistics office also showed that the country had more net migrants last year (437,000) since 1993.
German President Joachim Gauck meanwhile pled with the public to be more accepting of migrants. ‘Our country needs immigration,’ he said ‘We won’t lose ourselves if we accept variety.’