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A year of social reforms

More child benefits and above all the new citizen's income: in 2023, key social reforms will come into force.

Sarah Kanning, 02.01.2023
Labour Minister Heil visiting a job centre
Labour Minister Heil visiting a job centre © picture alliance/dpa

In Germany, one of the federal government's major social reforms will come into force in 2023: the introduction of the citizen's income. Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil calls this the "biggest welfare state reform in 20 years". In addition, beginning in January, families will be receiving increased child benefits. Here an overview of important changes in social benefits in Germany.

Child benefits

Child benefits, which have been staggered up to now, will rise to a uniform 250 euros per month and child as of 1 January. This means 31 euros more per month for the first and second child up to the age of 18 and 25 euros more for the third child. Families with three children will thus receive almost 90 euros more per month.

Citizen's Income

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The citizen's income replaces the previous basic income support for job-seekers in January 2023. In Germany, the system was known as Hartz IV. In addition to increased payments of more than 50 euros per month, the main focus is on placement in permanent work instead of simple temporary jobs. Job-seekers are to be better qualified and supported in entering job training. This should allow beneficiaries to concentrate entirely on finding a job at the beginning of their receipt of the citizen's income; the first year is therefore considered a waiting period regarding housing and assets. The standard rates for children will also be increased by up to 44 euros per month. In future, needs are no longer to be adjusted retrospectively, but proactively to inflation rates. After a long struggle, the Bundestag and Bundesrat passed the citizen's income in November 2022.

Training and retraining

Those who want to do training or retraining will be supported even more intensively beginning in July 2023. For example, a job qualification could then be completed in three years instead of two. Those who want to continue their training can receive an additional monthly CET allowance of 75 to 150 euros, depending on whether the CET is linked to a qualification. Completing CET will in future have priority over being placed in a job. There will be bonuses for passing intermediate and final examinations.


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