German Unemployment Rate 6.7%

The German unemployment rate is 6.9% versus the Irish rate of 13.3% … mployment/

How do the two unemployment benefits systems compare?

The German System of Benefit
Employees pay 1.5% (previously 3.25%) of their gross salary below the social security threshold and employers pay 1.5% (previously 3.25%) contribution on top of the salary paid to the employee. Contributions are paid only on earnings up to the social security ceiling (2012: 5,600 EUR).

Unemployed workers are entitled to:
Living allowance known as unemployment benefit
Help in finding work

Unemployed benefit is paid to workers who have contributed at least during 12 months preceding their loss of a job. The allowance is paid for half of the period that the worker has contributed. Claimants get 60% of their previous net salary (capped at the social security ceiling), or 67% for claimants with children. The maximum benefit is therefore 2964 Euros (in 2012).

If a worker is not eligible for the full unemployment benefits or after receiving the full unemployment benefit for the maximum of 12 months, he is able to apply for benefits from the so-called Arbeitslosengeld II (Hartz IV) programme, an open-ended food-stamp/welfare programme which, unlike the US system, ensures people do not fall into penury. A person receiving Hartz IV benefits is paid 382 EUR (2013) a month for living expenses (benefit/year €4582) plus the cost of adequate housing (including heating) and health care.

The Irish System
People aged 18 and over and who are unemployed in Ireland can apply for either the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Liúntas do Lucht Cuardaigh Fostaíochta) or the Jobseeker’s Benefit (Sochar do Lucht Cuardaigh Fostaíochta). Both are paid by the Department of Social Protection and are nicknamed “the dole”.

The standard payment is €188 per week. (benefit/year €9776) Payments can be increased if the unemployed has dependants. For each adult dependent, another €124.80 is added; and for each child dependent, another €29.80 is added.

There are more benefits available to unemployed people, usually on a special or specific basis. Benefits include the Rent Supplement, the Mortgage Interest Supplement, Fuel Allowance and the Smokeless Fuel Allowance, among others. People on a low income (which includes those on JA/JB) are entitled to a Medical Card (although this must be applied for separately from the Health Service Executive) which provides free health care, optical care, limited dental care, aural care and subsidised prescription drugs carrying a €1.50 per item charge to a maximum monthly contribution of just under €20 per household (as opposed to subsidised services like non medical-card holders).

Another big difference I hear of from continentals that become familiar with the Irish welfare system and theirs is that single parents are sent back to their own family for support instead of the state intervening.

Unfortunately welfare seems to be like a drug, its very hard to break away from, unless you really want to.