Expatica news

Berlin cuts welfare to Miami expat

10 March 2004

BERLIN – Welfare authorities in Germany are curtailing monthly payments to nearly 1,000 recipients who live abroad – including one German who made headlines for living off welfare while residing comfortably in a beach-front apartment in Miami Beach.

Rolf John, 65, and 958 other expatriate Germans will receive their last German federal welfare payments effective 31 March, a government official confirmed.

John, infamous in Germany as “Florida Rolf”, reportedly has filed an appeal in hope of having his monthly welfare payments continue past 1 April.

After a divorce and being laid off from a job in Germany, John rented an apartment in Miami Beach and got a psychiatrist to sign an affidavit stating that returning to Germany might constitute “an insupportable trauma” to his fragile state of mind.

In a headline-making ruling, a court in Germany last year ruled that he was entitled to receive about EUR 1,000 a month in welfare payments to help cover the rental of his ocean-front apartment in sunny Florida.

Public outrage over the case prompted lawmakers to introduce legislation that took effect in January which closes loopholes for German welfare recipients seeking payments abroad.

Because he has received payments at a foreign address for more than two years, John and 958 others in a similar situation were slapped with a three-month grace period, ending this month.


Subject: German news