Germany - Article 28

I - The resources and income of disabled people.

  1. Do laws exist in your country to enable a minimum of resources for people who become disabled during their working lives ?

II - Disability compensation.

I –THE RESOURCES AND INCOME OF DISABLED PEOPLE.

A) An average of 70% of blind and seriously partially-sighted people of working age are unemployed. Are there specific legislative procedures for disabled people in your country to enable them to have a minimum of resources?

NO, there are no legislative procedures specifically on account of disability for those without  work. Those who lose their jobs enjoy the same rights as their nondisabled peers, i.e. they receive unemployment benefits;  special efforts are undertaken to get them back into work. Those who never worked or who have received unemployment benefits for a longer period (between 18 and 24 months, depending on age) are entitled to a benefit which is below welfare payments (ALG II).

While all groups of disabled people  can claim a number of disability-related compensations, such as free transport, exemption from TV and radio licence, support in making the home accessible, tax relief and others, blind people are the only group who are entitled to a disability-related financial aid (for details see further below).   

It is important to add that the disability organizations are campaigning for a disability allowance which is granted to every disabled citizen and which is not related to income and resources the beneficiary may have. The aim of this allowance is to enable disabled people to participate fully in society and all activities of their daily lives (Teilhabegeld = “participation allowance”).  The disability organisations have submitted a draft text for discussion in parliament. There are some important members of parliament who support this plan.

  • If yes: what are these allowances?

n/a

Give specific details of the following aspects:

 

  • 1 Criteria of eligibility
  1. Age.

    - Minimum:
    n/a
    - Maximum:
    n/a

  2. Level of disability.
    n/a
  3. Nationality.
    n/a
  4. Conditions of residence in the country.
    n/a

 

  • 2 Financial conditions.
  1. Ceiling.
    - Is the allowance means-tested?

    No

  2. Calculation of financial conditions.

    - If the allowance is means-tested, state under what conditions.

    n/a

  • 3 Amount of the allowance.
  1. Normal rate.

    - What is the amount of the allowance given to people with no other income, state briefly how the allowance varies according to other income or resources.
     

    n/a

  2. Reduction of the allowance.

    - State briefly under what circumstances the allowance may be reduced.

    n/a

 

  • 4 Minimum wage and “poverty line”.

- In order to compare the situation in different EBU member states, please indicate the minimum wage (if this exists in your country) for a full-time worker, and what is considered to be “the poverty line”.

While there is no generally binding minimum wage in Germany currently, there are minimum wages for different fields of occupation or branches of industry. Please note also that the payment differs between the “old federal states” in the West and the “new federal states” in the East. As a rule, minimum wages in the latter are lower.

 

To give an example:

Nursing:           West: 8,50 Euro per hour

                         East: 7,50 Euro per hour

Electricians:    West: 9,70 Euro per hour 

                        East:  8,40 Euro per hour

Machinists:     West: 13,00 Euro per hour

                        East:   9,75 Euro per hour

Trade Unions are strongly campaigning for introducing a cross-branches minimum wage.

Poverty line: 930 Euro per month.

  • 5 Payment of the allowance.

 - What are the organisations which calculate and attribute the allowance?

n/a

  • 6 Tax treatment of allowances and fringe benefits.
  1. Tax. Is the benefit subject to tax?
    n/a
  2. Fringe benefits. Does this allowance accord any fringe benefits?
    n/a

B) Do laws exist in your country to enable a minimum of resources for people who become disabled during their working lives?

Yes

  • If yes : what is the name of the allowance ?

Reduced Earning Capacity related Disability Pension  
(Rente wegen Erwerbsminderung):

Any person who is unable to work for longer than three hours a day is entitled to claim a disability pension on account of a full reduction in his earning capacity (“EU pension”). The disability pension is designed to support the income to enable the beneficiary to lead an independent life.  
To claim the pension, an applicant ‘s  earning capacity must be fully reduced. Additionally, he must have completed a five year qualifying period and have paid compulsory contributions into the legal pension fund for at least three years before the onset of the disability.

Any person who is unable to work permanently for at least six hours a day can claim a disability pension on account of a partial reduction in his earning capacity.

Pension benefits in both cases depend on the salary received prior to the onset of disability and the length of the insurance periods.
Please also note that in Germany there is a « rehabilitation first » rule. This means that the earning capacity is assessed to see if it can be regained through suitable medical or vocational rehabilitation training. If the result of the assessment is that the applicant is fit for vocational rehabilitation he must do a retraining, with the Labour Office and Integration Office making every efforts to place him back in employment.

Specify by giving details of the following aspects:

 

  • 1 Criteria of eligibility

 

  1. Age.
    Minimum: no minimum age strictly speaking, but a qualifying period of no less than five years / for details see above
    Maximum: retirement age. For disabled people born after 17 November 1950 the retirement age has been raised from 63 to 65 years of age.
  2. Degree of disability.
    100 % or less (depending on which type of pension is claimed).
  3. Nationality.
    irrelevant but applicant must prove that the residence in Germany is legal.
  4. Residency requirements.
    permanent legal residence must be in Germany to ensure full level of pension payments.
  5. Other conditions, please give details.
    n/a

  • 2 Means test.

No, benefits are based on the contributions paid into the pension fund.

 

  • 3 Amount of the allowance.

Payments depend on length of time spent in compulsory insured work and salary received.

 

  • 4 Attribution, payment of the allowance.

- Who attributes the allowance: State, local government, others, give details.

The insurance company, i.e. that body that has received the compulsory contributions during the working life of the applicant.

  • 5 Tax treatment of allowances and fringe benefits.
  1. Tax. Is the benefit subject to tax?
    Yes.
  2. Fringe benefits. Does this allowance accord fringe benefits?
    NO. However, the beneficiary is allowed to work for a limited number of hours per month to supplement his income.

II – DISABILITY COMPENSATION.

A visual disability (blindness or serious loss of sight) entails additional costs which must be met. Is there a specific allowance in your country to compensate for these costs?

Yes

  • If yes, give the name of this allowance and reply to the following questions.

 The allowance is called “Blind person's allowance” and is paid regardless of the income of those who receive it. Therefore it is not considered as income or part of the income.

It is important to see that “blind person's  allowance” (Blindengeld) is not based on Federal Law, but on the respective legislation existing in the different German federal states. The purpose of the allowance is to redress the blindness-related extra costs of living. Amounts paid vary from one federal state to the other.

In addition to this allowance  there is another financial aid which is called “blind person's aid” (Blindenhilfe). Unlike “blind person's allowance” the latter is related to the income and resources of the beneficiary. “Blind person's aid” can be granted in parallel with “blind person's allowance”, though it is subordinate to “blind person's allowance”. This means practically that a beneficiary in the first place, may receive the full amount of  “blind person's allowance” and, secondly, “blind person's aid” payments,  reduced by the amount of “blind person's allowance” he or she is entitled to.

  • 1 Eligibility conditions.
  1. Age.

    - Minimum:

    “blind persons up to the age of 18”. This may be in some federal states five years, in others 16 while in other states there is no minimum age at all.

    - Maximum:

    There is none, generally. Please note, however, that there are two special case. 1.) Northrhine Westfalia has the following three age groups: “up to 18 years”; “adults: 18 to 60 years”; and “seniors: 61 and older”.  2. Lower Saxony has two age groups like most of the other federal states, but the age limits differ: “up to 25 years” and “25 years and older”.

    - Duration of the allowance.

    n/a

  2. Degree of disability.
    100 per cent blindness, i.e. vision must be no better than 2 per cent in the better eye.
  3. Nationality.
    irrelevant
  4. Conditions of residence in the country.
    Applicant must have his /her permanent abode in the federal state where he/she applies for blind person's allowance / aid. This means practically that the entitlement is lost if the beneficiary moves. However, there is a recent European legal decision which challenges this “principle of territory”.
  5. Other conditions, give details.

 

  • 2 Financial conditions.

 

  • 3 Amount of the allowance.

- What is the amount of the allowance?

Amounts paid vary considerably from one federal state to the other. Roughly speaking, rates in the eastern stated are lower than those in the “old West”.

Maximum: Adults: 608 Euro 

Maximum for persons “up to the age of 18”: 518 Euro 

Minimum: Adults: 200 Euro

Minimum for persons “up to the age of 18”: 133 Euro.

 

  • 4 Attribution and payment of the allowance.

- Which organisations attribute and pay the allowance:
State, local authorities, please give details.

According to the respective federal state legislation, different authorities are responsible: In some states it is the department for families and social affairs, in others it is pension office (“Versorgungsamt”) which pays the allowance.

 

  • 5 Payment of the allowance.

There are monthly payments, not in cash, but the money is transferred into the beneficiary's account.

 

  • 6 Reduction of the allowance.

- State briefly under what conditions the allowance can be reduced.

- People under 18 receive reduced rates (see above), though not in all federal states. For instance in the state of Bavaria blind persons up to the age of 18 are entitled to receive a monthly allowance of 518 Euro which is more than double the rate blind adults receive in other states.  

- Home residents receive lower amounts

 

  • 7 Tax system of the allowance and fringe benefits.
  1. Tax system.
    Is the allowance subject to tax?

    No