Nearly 400,000 people were receiving assistance under Germany's Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act at the end of 2021. Assistance included money for food, shelter, clothing, healthcare and household items.
The number of asylum seekers receiving benefits from the German government has risen for the first time since 2015, according to figures released by Germany's Federal Statistical Office on Wednesday (December 21).
At least 399,000 people were receiving aid under the country's Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act at the end of 2021, new data show. The figure marks a 4.3% increase from the previous year (or 17,000 more people).
In accordance with the act, people who have successfully applied for asylum in Germany or who meet another requirement stipulated by the law can receive government aid.
Beneficiaries receive help to cover daily necessities including food expenses, shelter, clothing, health care and household items. Special assistance can also be granted, for example in the event of pregnancy or illness. In 2021, 171,050 migrants received special assistance.
Who are the beneficiaries?
Of the migrants who were supported by the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act in 2021 – 61% were male and over a third of all beneficiaries were minors. The majority of the migrants originally came from Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria.
People fleeing crises in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Iraq are also reported to receive less in benefits than Ukrainians fleeing war.
Read more: Fact check: Does the EU prioritize Ukrainian refugees?
In Germany, Ukrainian refugees have been incorporated into the welfare system since June 1, and may receive public health insurance, permission to seek gainful employment, unemployment benefits, child benefits, financial assistance for students of higher education (BAföG) and retirement benefits. Ukrainian refugees are permitted to travel to Germany by train free of charge, and Germany’s national railway company DB even offers numerous concessions for local transport.
Non-Ukrainian asylum seekers in Germany can only hope for a residence permit after months or even years of proceedings. Then, after being recognized as refugees, they, too, have access to the welfare system.
Also read: The myth that asylum seekers get more money