Job centers have to pay for the purchase of school books

Hartz IV recipients receive three euros a month for school books as part of the standard rate – in some cases that is not enough, according to the Federal Social Court. However, this does not apply in all federal states.

School books for economics

KIndians from low-income families who receive unemployment benefit II (“Hartz IV”) can request money from the job centers for learning materials and school books. The Federal Social Court (BSG) in Kassel decided on Wednesday that this applies in particular to cases in federal states in which schoolchildren have to buy their school books themselves due to the lack of freedom from learning materials.

According to the Kassel judges, the standard rate, i.e. the money for monthly living expenses, includes an amount for school books. At three euros, this is “structurally too low for countries in which students have to pay for learning materials themselves”.

Recipients of unemployment benefit II from the district of Celle and Hildesheim had complained. When you entered the eleventh grade you bought school books for 180 and 200 euros. The job centers refused to take over the costs because school books are considered in the standard requirement or the purchase of used books or the saving of the amount are reasonable.

Big differences between countries

The State Social Court of Lower Saxony-Bremen had already agreed with the plaintiff families and saw an additional need for hardship. This regulation takes effect in special situations in which a higher demand occurs and the standard demand is not sufficient. The case from Celle, however, was referred back to the regional social court because the amount of the reimbursement amount is disputed.

According to the Federal Social Court, whether and which learning materials students have to purchase themselves is completely different in the federal states. The GEW education union also has no overview, said a GEW spokeswoman on request. The union wants to commission a study to investigate the situation and the disadvantage of students.

The majority of the federal states provide teaching materials and books to students in public schools free of charge. In Lower Saxony, where the two revisions decided by the BSG originate, a decision was made to borrow learning materials against payment from the 2004 school year.