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Germany strengthens the rights for asylum seekers, an increase in social assistance is expected

Germany strengthens the rights for asylum seekers, an increase in social

Asylum seekers living alone in collective housing currently receive €330 a month – ten percent less than others. Germany's Constitutional Court says this cut is illegal

Asylum seekers without families cannot have their social assistance cut at a flat rate of ten percent just because they live in collective shelters. This decision was taken on Thursday, 24.11.2022, by the Constitutional Court of Germany. The judges said that sharing a room with other asylum seekers does not necessarily lead to cost savings. The "level of special needs" introduced in 2019 is incompatible with the "fundamental right to guarantee a dignified life".

Affected by this court decision are all asylum seekers who live alone, that is, without family, in refugee shelters, and who have been living in Germany for at least 18 months. From now on, their social assistance will be increased by 10 percent. If they previously filed a written complaint, then they can also count on an increase in social assistance for the previous months, starting from September 2019.

The case was brought to the Constitutional Court by the Freedom Rights Association (GFF). To check the regulation in Karlsruhe, she had drawn up a model that a judge in the Düsseldorf Social Court used. There, a Sri Lankan man had applied for an increase in social assistance for several months in 2019 and 2020. The claimant argued that he did not have a friendly relationship with the other asylum seekers in the room and neither cooked nor had a shared economy with them. As a result, cohabitation had no saving effect, the Court's statement says.

An increase in assistance is expected

In 2019, the federal government made up of the CDU/CSU and the SPD was of the opinion that asylum seekers who share rooms with others can save, by cooking together for example, or using shared kitchens together. Therefore, the government also decided to cut their social assistance by ten percent per person, giving them the same social assistance as it gave to people living in a couple. Now the German government must react to the Court's decision and adjust the social assistance for these people, from 330 euros per month, to 367 per month

The German association committed to the rights of refugees welcomed the decision of the Constitutional Court:

"This rule of the Social Assistance Law for Asylum Seekers that was overturned today is not the only rule in violation of the Constitution. We are of the opinion that this entire special discriminatory regulation should be overturned!", the organization declared in a message on Twitter. / DW

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