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Hartz IV

Hartz IV was selected by the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache as the “Wort des Jahres” (Word of the Year) in 2004.

Hartz IV is the name given to the financial support for the long-term unemployed.  The term derives from the name of the person who led the commission to reform, amongst other things, unemployment benefits.

The length of time that someone is unemployed before they stop receiving normal unemployment benefit (Arbeitslosengeld) and receive Hartz IV instead depends on a number of factors such as their age and the length of time that they have paid unemployment insurance (Arbeitslosenversicherung).

The amount of support that someone receives depends on factors such as the size of the flat that is considered to be large enough for them, any savings they may have, how many people are dependent on their income, etc.

For example, the allowance for food is set at 4EUR per person per day, which led to the publication of a so-called “Hartz IV menu” earlier this year.

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