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Germans question value of working after new welfare increases


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BERLIN (Reuters) – More than half of Germans believe work is not worthwhile after the government’s planned increase in welfare payments and child benefits, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The government said it was raising benefits, first introduced in 2005, to fight child poverty and help citizens cope with inflation, but added it did not want to deter people from work altogether.

Welfare payments, dubbed “citizens’ money”, for more than 5.5 million jobless in Germany will rise to 563 euros ($605.06)from 502 euros per month for single people from next year.

Rent and health insurance costs are also covered by the government for those receiving the benefits.

The increase coincides with a large rise in support for parents on a low income from 2025. They will receive up to 636 euros per month for their first child and another 530 euros for every other child. The sum is currently fixed at 250 euros per month per child.

With a minimum wage of around 12.4 euros per hour or 1,450 euros net income per month, some 52% of Germans have the impression that it’s not worth working as those in fulltime employment on a minimum wage don’t earn significantly more than those living off welfare, a survey by pollster INSA published by Bild newspaper showed.

Germans are divided whether the increase in welfare payments is justified with 45% in favour and 44% against it, the survey of 1005 respondents showed.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner said last week in a presentation on the basic child allowance that benefits should not discourage people from working.

“Our concern is to maintain work incentives,” Lindner said, adding that employment would be a prerequisite to access some allowances as parental unemployment was a key driver of childhood poverty.

“The best way to overcome poverty is to work,” he said.

($1 = 0.9305 euros)

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