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Failure to attend appointments accounts for three out of four sanctions

11 Apr 2018 | Press Release No. 11
  • There was a slight increase in the number of sanctions last year
  • Three-quarters of all sanctions result from missed appointments - despite SMS reminders
  • Scheele is open to changes in sanctions regulations

You can find an original sound file by Detlef Scheele with further classifications, a service text on the subject of sanctions and comprehensive figures in the BA Media Service at For this only a short registration is necessary.

Majority of beneficiaries are not affected

Last year, the job centres had to impose 952,840 sanctions on those entitled to benefits (so-called "Hartz IV recipients"). The number of benefit cuts thus increased slightly by 13,700 compared to the previous year. The sanction rate - i.e. the ratio of sanctions imposed to all those entitled to working-age benefits - remained unchanged at 3.1 per cent last year. "The vast majority of those entitled to benefits play by the legal rules of the game; only a very small proportion are sanctioned at all," says Detlef Scheele, chairman of the board of the BA.

Three out of four sanctions are attributable to "failure to report"

At 77 percent, a large proportion of the sanctions is attributable to failure to report. Last year, the job centres had to impose a sanction on 733,800 beneficiaries for this reason and reduce the regular standard benefit by ten per cent each. "Three out of four sanctions are imposed simply because claimants in the job centre do not even realise they have an agreed appointment. The job centres also offer a reminder service via SMS", says Scheele.

The Job Centres have set up the SMS reminder service to reduce the number of missed appointments. If customers have registered for the service, a reminder will be sent to their mobile phone 24 hours before an agreed date. Around 400,000 of these messages are transmitted each month.

98,860 sanctions were imposed for refusing to take up a job or measure - or giving it up- and breaches of duty imposed by the integration agreement led to a reduction in benefits in 83,380 cases.

Young people are particularly affected by sanctions - Scheele: "Threatening homelessness does not help us"

Young people under 25 years of age are more affected by sanctions. For young people, for example, the law provides for a one hundred percent sanction of the standard benefit from the very first violation of the rules that goes beyond a failure to report. If another breach of duty is added within one year, the housing benefit can also be reduced. "This worries us because the strict special regulations for young people lead to particularly drastic cuts in benefits," says Scheele indicating openness to change.

Scheele also sees the reduction in housing benefit, which affects both young people and adults in the event of repeated violations, as problematic: "Threatening homelessness helps us with the mediation but does not otherwise help us either."