As of June, war refugees from Ukraine are subject to HARZ 4 – our newspaper spoke to the head of the Employment Center, Andreas Baumann.
Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen – At the beginning of April, Chancellor Olaf Schulz reached an agreement with the prime ministers of the federal states that refugees from Ukraine would receive Hartz IV and associated job support from 1 June. Thus, you will get more money than you get under your current situation. So far, Ukrainians have been supported under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. What does regime change mean for people struck by war, but also for the Job Center in Bad Tolz-Wlfratshausen, our newspaper spoke to the head of the Job Center, Andreas Baumann.
A new situation for war refugees: a lot of work awaits the employment center in the region
Mr. Bowman, when did you learn that the Jobcentre would have to take care of refugees from Ukraine in the future?
On April 7th, I fell asleep in front of the TV (laughs). When I woke up around 11pm, the message was broadcast on n-tv below, starting in June we will be in charge of people from Ukraine. To be honest, I was a little concerned about it.
You are a senior, having been in this field for about 30 years. Are you still feeling stressed?
Yes, it does for some people. There are now 1,500 refugees in the area. This is the challenge.
What happened after the first surprise?
The first considerations weren’t easy. There is still no law as a basis. It will not be decided until the end of May in the Bundestag. If we waited, we would be too late. So we started letting people know. We make it clear to people that they have to place orders so that we can pay the money on time.
What exactly should a refugee do?
First, he needs a certificate from the municipality in which he is registered, regardless of whether he is actually staying in a gym or in an apartment. With this certificate of registration and his passport, he goes to the immigration office. There he gets what is called a fictional certificate. Confirms that the refugee has applied for residence in Germany. The government agreed that no one would get Harz IV without a safe stay here. He can only apply for a Hartz IV if he shows us the fictional certificate, some kind of ID.
All information about the Ukraine war on our topic page
Does every Ukrainian get a certificate of imagination?
Almost yes. The identification service verifies in advance whether he really came from Ukraine.
War refugees: German bank account required
What do applicants need?
If available, a lease or residency contract so we can transfer the lease. Membership certificate from a health insurance company is necessary. This is now very easy to do online on the respective website. But please not everyone is in AOK, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to finish their job there. Any health insurance is possible. Tried it at the cash register and was called back an hour later.
How about a bank account?
Very good question. An account with a German bank is required. We cannot pay the money in cash, as was the case at the Asylum Office. Only if there is no other way, we issue cash checks. But this is the absolute exception, because on the one hand it is very expensive due to the fees and on the other hand it is possible only in Postbank. This is only available in Bad Tools. A refugee who lives in Wolfratshausen or Geretsried must go to Tölz or Starnberg. This means that we transfer.
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Can Ukrainians open an account in this way?
This shouldn’t be a problem. As far as I know, Postbank has already made a similar arrangement, as have Deutsche Bank and Sparkas. However, a document, registration certificate or passport is required in any case, since the name can be read in Latin, and not in Cyrillic characters.
That’s a lot of bureaucracy. Doesn’t that tire the people, some of whom arrive shocked and perhaps unaccustomed to a lot of paperwork back home?
A very simple answer: why is the bureaucracy perhaps less in Ukraine, Poland or Bulgaria, where they usually submit their applications? Because they don’t get any money there. We’re not talking about peanuts here.
We have work to do. Here at the duty station we have incredibly good and highly motivated employees. They all know what they are doing. We are, so to speak, personal crisis management.
Can you give us an order of magnitude?
Let’s take a mother of two children, 13 and 14 years old. The woman receives 449 euros per month, for 311 euros per child. In addition, there is an additional cost of €161 for single parents if the father remains in Ukraine and the rent. In Wolfratshausen 1,100 euros for a family of three. In a hotel or pension there will be more. This is a total of 2332 euros. If mom has to earn that, she will need a gross salary of about 3200 euros. And that’s not all: there is also money for health insurance, education, a flat rate for scholarships, leisure activities, furniture if the person in question has his own apartment …
…So maybe we’ve already crossed 3000 euros per month?
You see, that’s why we have a bureaucracy.
How are things going from here?
The applicant submits the complete package mentioned in person at the Job Centre. In person, so we can see if he’s really the one making the request. It is enough to go without an appointment. Then each applicant gets a writer looking after the benefits and a mediator looking for a job. Very important: only when all the documents are completed, there will be a notification and the money will be transferred.
Isn’t the language barrier a problem?
We have put all the information on posters and flyers in German and Ukrainian, but now we have our own translator for that. But all messages from the office come in German only. Visit the job center also in German. It wouldn’t be bad if an assistant or translator attended.
The information is very complex. How do you bring it to a woman or a man?
About 1,500 Ukrainians are scattered in the area across about 600 families or communities in need, as we call it. All 600 were written in both German and Ukrainian. 100 applications had been submitted by May 5th. Came back around 100 without unlocking.
There are bilingual flyers and posters for help groups
100 is a lot of return. What reason do you see?
Either the family has already moved to another region or another federal state. Or their names are not on the mailboxes. People should definitely catch up. Also in case your applications are not complete and we have to message you back or find a job for you. In addition, we have created bilingual posters and flyers that we distribute to city halls and auxiliary groups.
Not many applicants are required only. You and your co-workers at the duty station may have spent a few hours working overtime in the past three or four weeks.
We have work to do. Here at the duty station we have incredibly good and highly motivated employees. They all know what they are doing. We are, so to speak, embodied in crisis management (laughs). We had Corona, and we received refugees in 2015. Everything was there. I have absolutely no qualms that this won’t work after June 1st – as long as everyone has submitted their applications. (beep)
informations: The duty station organizes an information evening so that assistance groups and interested parties can optimally prepare the refugees for the new legal situation. It will take place on Monday, May 16, from 6 pm in the large meeting room of the Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen district office.
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