Publikationstyp: Arbeits-/Diskussionspapier 45

EU Migrants' Experiences of Claims-making in German Job Centres

AutorInnen: Ratzmann, Nora Publikationsjahr: 2020

The paper describes intra-EU migrants’ experiences with (transnational) social security in Germany, showcasing their sense-making of the claims-making process to basic subsistence benefits in local job centres. The analysis of 48 qualitative interviews with intra- EU migrants and key informants illustrates how they are not merely passive recipients but may actively assert their rights, based on their degree of familiarity with German welfare bureaucracy, their pre-existing welfare expectations, and their available cultural and social capital. Whether EU migrant citizens decide to claim relates to their cost-benefit analyses on the accessibility to benefits and to alternative means of support, as well as their perceived social legitimacy to draw on German public social support. As a general trend, EU citizens first tried to exhaust all other means of generating an income, seeking to remain financially independent from state-provided welfare, before seeking to claim social assistance-type benefits as a last resort. The data also shows how some applicants are less able than others to pay the hidden costs imposed onto them during the claiming process. The paper finally highlights how, in the light of the inequalities of access they face, intra-EU migrants have developed a variety of strategies to satisfy their social protection needs, relying on a mix of formal and informal welfare arrangements.

Ratzmann, Nora (2020): EU Migrants' Experiences of Claims-making in German Job Centres. Working Paper (45), London: London School of Economics.