15 Sep. 2021 06:45
Hartz IV recipients can hardly afford the tests, which are soon to be paid for. Nevertheless, the Central Saxony job center invites those affected to prove their status as vaccinated, recovered or (negative) tested. According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, this is only “misunderstood”. Job centers would have to advise people even without proof.
by Susan Bonath
For one and a half years there has been a pandemic in the more than 400 job centers in Germany. The gates of most facilities are tight. People in need are sent away by security services and referred to hotline numbers, which often lead to call centers. Only those who can show an appointment can get in – and should now show a negative antigen or PCR test, which will be charged soon, even if they have not been vaccinated. The so-called 3G rule (vaccinated, recovered or tested) also applies to the poorest. But what happens to unvaccinated people who lack the money for the test and who are therefore not allowed in by a job center? Are you threatened with sanctions for missing an appointment?
At least that is suggested by a letter from the Central Saxony job center that the author has. The authority invites a beneficiary to an appointment “to discuss your current professional situation with you”. Such “invitations” are actually summons, because they are mandatory for those affected. The summoned person should not only have the letter and identity card ready in order to be admitted, but also either the vaccination certificate with the COVID-19 vaccination noted, a “recovered certificate” or a “negative corona test (PCR test, not older than 48 hours or quick test, not older than 24 hours) “. At least the rapid tests for clinically healthy people are still free of charge – from October 11th it will be different.
To put it in a misleading way? Allegedly no sanction if the test is missing
But the budget for Hartz IV recipients is tight. The standard rate for single persons includes exactly 17 euros per month for health care, 15.24 euros each for partners in a community and 13.56 euros for young adults or disabled people who still live at home with their parents. Already the masks prescribed in many places are to finance those affected from this “pot”, from October also the tests. How should people afford that?
The letter of invitation does not indicate how summons should behave if they have no money for such a test. Rather, the usual “legal consequences instruction” follows, which also warns of sanctions if those affected fail to attend the appointment “without important justification”. Lack of money for a test is not mentioned as a possible reason, at least in the present letter.
So can the job center sanction beneficiaries without a test? At least that’s what the letter suggests – but allegedly wrongly. Christian Weinert, spokesman for the Federal Employment Agency (BA) initially responded to inquiries from the responsible authorities. He couldn’t say anything for the job centers because they acted on their own. But the employment agencies would advise recipients of unemployment benefit-I even without a test. “There are special rooms for this with special protective measures,” he explained in an interview with the author. Weinert assumes that the job centers handle this in a similar way.
Special requirements for unvaccinated and untested people
The Central Saxony job center, which does not have a contact person for journalists, initially did not respond to an email request from the author. At the mediation of the BA spokesman Weinert, a senior employee from the authority in the district of central Saxony finally got in touch. He also assured: “If someone has been invited and cannot show a test, he will not be sent away and will not be sanctioned.” Rather, it also applies in central Saxony: Unvaccinated and untested people are advised in special rooms with strict hygiene requirements “so as not to endanger anyone”.
According to the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS), beneficiaries would be “advised of all access options (even without 3G)”. They would only be asked to indicate whether they meet the 3G criteria, said BMAS spokeswoman Maja Winter at the request of the author. Those who do not want or cannot do this will still be advised under special hygiene standards. Allegedly, even the submission of vaccination cards, recovery certificates or test results is voluntary. For central Saxony, the following applies: “If the invitation text was misleading, a revision is necessary,” said Winter.
Elsewhere, however, the BMAS spokeswoman restricts her previous remarks somewhat. Service recipients could attend appointments without a fee-based test, “unless a corresponding regulation under infection protection law provides for something else”. However, the costs for mandatory tests should then not be passed on to those affected, the job center would then have to take over, assured Winter.
Increasing pressure, further repression?
Meanwhile, there is increasing pressure in many places to urge people to vaccinate. Children and adolescents from the age of twelve who are not vaccinated should also dig deep into their pockets for tests from the end of November, for example in order to be able to go to the cinema or swimming pool. Students could be denied access to the university, i.e. to their studies, from October 11th, if they do not get vaccinated and do not have the money for expensive tests. Students from poorer homes would then probably only have the choice between vaccination or dropping out of their studies.
The federal government is noticeably increasingly relying on existential pressure. The effect is already foreseeable: the wealthy will be able to feel free, the poor will not. The question of how far politics will escalate this spiral will probably only be answered in the coming weeks and months.
It is quite conceivable that more and more companies will no longer hire unvaccinated people or give them the notice of termination. Employment agencies and job centers could in the foreseeable future refuse or sanction the unemployed if they cannot get a job or are dismissed because of their vaccination status. And parents could be required to continue to bear high costs for tests so that their unvaccinated children can attend school or secondary school. And the rulers and leading media will probably still claim that there is no compulsory vaccination.
RT DE strives for a wide range of opinions. Guest contributions and opinion articles do not have to reflect the editorial team’s point of view.
more on the subject – Money or travel: Hartz IV recipients had to stay at home before the pandemic