For about 15 years, Germany offered a social assistance benefit that was widely considered the opposite of basic income.
Any single, adult German resident who could not make ends meet based on their income and personal assets (or with assistance from relatives) was eligible to receive around 424 euros ($470) per month to cover food and basic necessities.
But if someone was unemployed, they had to be actively working to find a job to get those benefits. If they missed an interview or turned down a job offer without a valid excuse, their monthly payments could get docked. If a resident incurred enough of those penalties, their payments and health insurance could be suspended for three months.
Around 710,000 unemployed recipients were penalized at least once under the program, known as Hartz IV, in 2018, according to the German news site DW Akademie.
A basic-income policy, by contrast, would guarantee payments to citizens on a regular basis without any strings attached.
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