Special needs level violates the Basic Law: Reduced benefit for refugees overturned

Single people in collective homes
“Special needs level” for refugees tilted

The grand coalition has reduced the benefits for certain single refugees with reference to savings through co-economy. The Federal Constitutional Court sees it differently and declares the regulation null and void. A man who had lived in such a facility for eight years had complained.

Single asylum seekers can no longer have their social benefits cut by a flat rate of ten percent because they live in a refugee home. According to the Federal Constitutional Court, there is no indication that savings would or could actually be achieved there through joint management. The “special needs level” introduced on September 1, 2019 violates the fundamental right to guarantee a decent subsistence level. (Az. 1 BvL 3/21)

The CDU/CSU and SPD federal government at the time was of the opinion that communal management could “be expected” in the collective accommodation. Savings effects exist, for example, when eating, “by buying groceries or at least the basic kitchen needs together in larger quantities and using them together in the communal kitchens,” as the explanatory statement states. The sentence has therefore been shortened – in line with that for people who are married or living with a partner.

367 instead of 330 euros

The specific case involved a man from Sri Lanka, born in 1982, who has been living in shared accommodation near Düsseldorf since 2014. For him, there is a provision in the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act that applies to all people who have been legally resident in Germany for at least 18 months. The Karlsruhe decision therefore directly affects only this group.

According to the Constitutional Court, all those affected whose decisions are not yet final at this time will receive more money retrospectively from September 2019. This is the case if someone has lodged an objection or complained. In all other cases, the decision for future benefits must be taken into account.

The procedure was initiated by the Society for Freedom Rights (GFF). In order to have the regulation checked in Karlsruhe, she had drawn up a template, which a judge at the Düsseldorf Social Court had used here. There, the Sri Lankan man is suing for higher benefits for several months in 2019 and 2020.

People in collective accommodation currently receive 330 euros a month. Other single asylum seekers are entitled to 367 euros.