Provisions governing basic cash benefits provided for in the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act held unconstitutional

Today, the Federal Constitutional Court pronounced its judgment on
submissions of the Higher Social Court of the state of North
Rhine-Westphalia (Landessozialgericht Nordrhein-Westfalen) on the
question whether the cash benefits paid according to the Asylum Seekers
Benefits Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz – AsylbLG) to secure the
recipients’ existence are constitutional.

The First Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court decided that the
provisions governing basic cash benefits according to the Asylum Seekers
Benefits Act are incompatible with the fundamental right to a minimum
existence, protected as human dignity in Article 1 sec. 1 in conjunction
with Article 20 sec. 1 of the Basic Law. The benefits are evidently
insufficient because they have not been changed since 1993 despite
considerable price increases in Germany. Furthermore, the amounts
provided have not been comprehensibly calculated, nor is it apparent
that a realistic, needs-oriented calculation has been made that serves
to presently secure the recipients’ existence.

The legislature is obliged to immediately enact new provisions which serve to
secure a dignified minimum existence. Because of the importance of basic
benefits to secure the recipients’ lives, the Federal Constitutional
Court has ordered a transitional arrangement that will apply until new
provisions enter into force.

Pursuant to this transitional arrangement,
from 1 January 2011 onwards, monthly basic benefits in the area of application of the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act shall be € 336,-. This shall apply retroactively from 2011 onwards to benefits that have been set but are still disputed; furthermore, it shall apply until the legislature has complied with its obligation to enact new provisions.

Urteil vom 18. Juli 2012, Az. 1 BvL 10/10 und  1 BvL 2/11

Click here for the english language press release of the Constitutional Court.