Fewer Appeals and Complaints in Basic Security Benefits

Number of appeals and complaints fell again in 2020 - Appeal rate in joint institutions at 2.3 percent

11 Jan 2021 | Press Release No. 3

In 2020, 511,400 appeals and 79,000 complaints were filed in the basic benefits system (Job Centre). This amounted to 65,700 fewer appeals or 16,300 fewer complaints, than in 2019, even though the number of people entitled to standard benefits increased last year due to the pandemic.

There are two main reasons for the sharp decline. (1) With the lockdown in spring, the legislature simplified access to basic benefits. Since then, the actual costs of accommodation have been recognised in the first six months of the approval period, even if they are too high. In addition, non-substantial assets are not audited. Both forms of relief have been frequent grounds for appeals and complaints in recent years. The simplified rules reduced the number of appeals and complaints. (2) Due to the impact of the pandemic, face-to-face appointments could rarely take place. This reduced the number of sanctions considerably, since for years about 75 percent of all benefit reductions have been due to missed appointments. If a sanction does not have to be pronounced, there are no grounds for appeal or complaint.

Low Appeal and Complaint Rates in Job Centres with BA Involvement
The rate for appeals and complaints can only be determined for the 302 joint institutions – i.e. Job Centres for which the BA and the district are jointly responsible. In 2020, they sent out 19.1 million benefit notices, against which 433,310 appeals and 64,010 complaints were filed. The appeal rate was calculated as 2.3 percent, the complaint rate 0.3 percent.

Resolved Appeals and Complaints
The Job Centres decided on over 544,300 appeals last year. Almost two thirds of the settled appeals were rejected or withdrawn by customers. The decision was changed in 190,300 appeals, most frequently because missing documents were submitted (74,600). Incorrect application of the law was found in 62,300 appeals.

87,200 lawsuits were concluded by the courts. Of these, slightly more than 60 percent were dismissed or withdrawn by the complainant, and about 39 percent resulted in a new decision. Most complaints are settled without a judgement – often because the beneficiaries submit missing documents in the complaint procedure.

Notes for Editors

  • Job Centres can be operated in two different forms. In 302 Job Centres, the so-called “joint institutions”, the BA and the respective district work together and operate the Job Centre jointly. Legislature has created the possibility for about 100 districts to operate the Job Centres on their own responsibility (so-called “Job Centres under municipal sponsorship”). The BA is not involved with these Job Centres.
  • The figures published in this press release are published for both types of institutions together, as the Job Centres run by municipalities also provide the BA with data on appeals and complaints according to defined criteria. The only exception is the paragraph on the appeal and complaint rate: The BA only knows the number of benefit notices sent out for the joint institutions. For this reason, the calculated quotas only take into account the appeals and complaints received by the jointly operated Job Centres.
  • Statistical information on appeals and complaints on the internet