Hartz IV is history, instead there is now citizen money. This is a bit higher – but apparently not high enough to compensate for the inflationary rise in electricity prices, as calculations by a comparison portal show. That is “very challenging,” according to the Federal Employment Agency.

According to calculations by the online portal Check24, the new citizen’s income does not cover the recipient’s electricity costs any more than Hartz IV did before. The social associations VdK and Parit├Ątische share this assessment. In the item for living and energy – without rent – the basic income standard rate for single people is projected to be almost 511 euros for one year. The average electricity costs for a one-person household with an annual consumption of 1500 kilowatt hours amounted to 641 euros despite the electricity price brake, the company said. “This means that the electricity costs are 25 percent higher than the flat rate.”

The calculation was based on the prices of the energy suppliers who sell electricity via the Check24 portal. “The amount estimated for the electricity costs is far too low,” commented VdK President Verena Bentele. “Even with the adjustment of the standard rates, nothing fundamental has changed. The problem has only increased with the sharp rise in electricity prices.”

The standard rate for a single adult has risen by EUR 53 to EUR 502 per month with the switch from Hartz IV to citizen’s income, which corresponds to an increase of almost twelve percent. In addition, the state covers “reasonable” costs for rent and heating, but the electricity bill has to be paid from the standard rate.

“The benefits, which are actually supposed to secure a decent subsistence level, are not enough to get through the month,” criticized Ulrich Schneider, general manager of the joint association. The skyrocketing electricity prices exacerbated the hardship for people who receive basic social security. “For single households, the costs were almost twice as high as what was officially granted,” said Schneider.

The job centers are responsible for the payment of the citizens’ allowance. “The rising heating and electricity costs are very challenging,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Employment Agency. Heating costs would be taken over by the job centers in the appropriate amount. “It’s different with the electricity costs: Household electricity is part of the standard requirement, is determined by the legislature and adjusted annually. The job centers have no leeway to adjust the standard requirement.”

The Federal Agency therefore very much welcomes the fact that the standard rate has risen so significantly on January 1st. “Nevertheless, rising electricity costs can lead to financial burdens. If people get into financial difficulties, the job centers can at least approve a loan.”