More and more federal states want a better minimum income.

The social problems are getting bigger and social welfare cannot solve them all. “The inflation crisis shows how important it is now to have a good minimum income instead of poor social assistance that does not support people in difficulties and emergency situations,” says Diakonie social expert Martin Schenk, calling on those in government to make a fresh start.

Due to the lower reference rates for adults and children, the deduction of housing allowance and the lack of support for people with disabilities, there is a massive deterioration in the fight against poverty – amid the price increases. This “social assistance” is a step backwards. Now more than ever, inconsistent and fragmented social assistance exists.

Precarious housing.

In Austria – contrary to all assurances – the provision in the Social Welfare Act, which allows for a flat-rate increase in housing costs of up to 30%, was not implemented. Furthermore, the benefit from the housing subsidy is deducted from the 40% housing share, which means that the person in need of help receives less both for life and housing. In addition, the new staggered birth rates cause parents with more than one child to suffer from cuts.

No maintenance for people with disabilities.

People with disabilities can be forced to sue their parents for financial support – even after they are of legal age. If those affected refuse, the benefit will be severely reduced. So far, this regulation has only applied in some federal states, but the new social welfare system is now pushing this bad practice on a larger scale.

Poor health and cramped apartments.

“A large group of people in the lowest social network has poor health and is vulnerable,” Schenk quotes the most recent data on their living conditions, which date from before the introduction of reduced social assistance. 23% of minimum income recipients are in very poor health, and a disability severely impairs 22%.

Their apartments are not only smaller, but also of worst quality. “Desolate living has a particularly inhibiting effect on educational opportunities and children’s health,” says Schenk. 20% of children live in damp homes, 56% of their homes are overcrowded, and 25% are in noisy environments.

More than half of the families with children (57%) have income from employment. “This points to “working poor” and precarious work. The working poor is the big, undisclosed topic behind the debate about the minimum income,” concludes social expert Schenk.


Minimum income and social assistance.

A good minimum income helps us all live in a socially safe country. It should ensure a minimum level of self-determination and help avert hardship – not make life even more difficult.

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