Sanktionsfrei (“Sanctions-free”) envisions a society based on solidarity and trust for everybody. To this end we are trying to reform the current German unemployment system “Hartz 4”. A system where punitive sanctions and the heavy stigmatization of benefit recipients are the norm, does not fit the progressive image of Germany’s social security system. Benefit cuts, and the constant threat thereof, are used as a tool to enforce compliance – assuming that greater financial vulnerability will “motivate” people’s economic activity in a meaningful way. We want this truly ancient belief system to stay where it belongs – in the past! Our long-term vision is the introduction of a universal basic income for all. By reforming our benefits provision system first, we believe to be paving the way to a more progressive and equal society.
Our work is three-tiered: financial & legal support, campaigning and scientific research.
We are experimenting with a unique hack into the existing unemployment benefits system. Via our crowdfunded online-platform people can easily object sanctions online, get in touch with our lawyers and, if applicable; receive financial support quickly – thereby we effectively remove the financial impact of sanctions. Within the last three years we have redistributed around 79.295 € to affected families and individuals. Unconditionally and unbureaucratic. Simultaneously the success rate of our legal objections is 90%, raising once again the question of the purpose and justifiability of punitive sanctions.
Our campaigns aim at reducing the heavy stigmatization of Hartz 4-recipients and raising awareness about the disastrous consequences of sanctions. Here we always stay true to our core value: trust over pressure.
Together with the University of Wuppertal we are now conducting an independent scientific experiment, called HartzPlus, to see how our interventions impact 500 participants over the next three years. This marks Germany’s first-ever scientific experiment aimed at testing a more unconditional approach to social welfare. We also hope to gain important insights for the development of a potential UBI scheme in the future.