Florida Rolf

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A German (* 1939 ) known as “Florida-Rolf” became known in the media in 2003 in connection with discussions about so-called “ social parasites ”.


The man known as Florida-Rolf moved to the United States in 1979 after a failed marriage and worked there as a real estate agent. The diagnosis of pancreatitis and the associated treatment costs caused his savings to run out to such an extent that he was forced to apply for social assistance for Germans abroad for the first time in 1993.

After he had been awarded benefits until 1995, all further applications were rejected both by the Lower Saxony State Social Office responsible for his place of birth and by the courts. After the Federal Administrative Court referred back the proceedings twice in 1997 and 1999, the Lower Saxony Higher Administrative Court obtained an expert opinion that the plaintiff would be suicidal in the event of a return to Germany, and therefore granted him social assistance benefits for Germans abroad at his place of residence in Miami too.

The basis of the payments was § 119 of the Federal Social Welfare Act , according to which German citizens living abroad are also entitled to social welfare in special emergencies. This law was created to save victims of Nazi rule who had become in need of social assistance from returning to Germany. At the time of the picture article, according to the news magazine Der Spiegel 959 people living abroad were eligible for social assistance.

Florida-Rolf received benefits totaling € 1907.20 in September 2003, made up of a standard rate of € 646, accommodation costs of € 783, an additional need due to his recognized severe disability of € 129 and a further need for necessary medical expenses of € 124.60, additional costs for hygiene items of € 74.60 and finally € 146 for the payment of a domestic help .

Media attention

In August 2003, in the middle of the sour cucumber time , the editorial team of Bild came across a judgment of the Lower Administrative Court of Lower Saxony on August 11, 2003. There, Florida-Rolf argued about higher accommodation costs for his apartment. The court ruled that although the apartment is unreasonably expensive and there is no entitlement to an apartment near the beach, the cost of the accommodation must be paid in full for six months in order to give it the opportunity, like a comparable social welfare recipient in Germany to give to rent an adequate apartment.

Although the verdict only marginally affected the legal dispute, the editorial team of Bild recognized this as a perfect headline and a little later published an article entitled "He laughs at us all!" In which the picture reported, leaving out the background story, of the "social scrover" named "Florida-Rolf", who finances an apartment in Miami Beach close to the beach from German welfare .

Numerous journalists then traveled to the alleged social scrover to ask him about the circumstances. With a few inexperienced remarks, such as the statement that he had moved to Florida because of a "Germany allergy", the case made it to the top ranks of politics. In response to the case becoming known, the Federal Minister of Social Affairs, Ulla Schmidt , said that there would no longer be any “social assistance under palm trees” in the future, and within a few days brought a change in the law through the otherwise cumbersome legislative process to justify a right to social assistance payments abroad to be allowed under very tight conditions.

Critics of the change in the law claimed that the amendment actually placed an additional burden on German taxpayers. On the one hand, the state has to pay for the return travel and relocation costs. In addition, those affected would generally have higher funding entitlements in Germany. According to the critics, the majority of those who were induced to return by the change in the law had not previously lived in the USA, but in countries like Thailand, where the cost of living and thus also the support costs were lower than in the Federal Republic .

In September 2003 Florida-Rolf tried to justify himself in the show Menschen bei Maischberger , for which he was connected live from Miami. With ratings of over 20 percent, he explained his long struggle in court, his psychiatric report and his complete alienation from Germany. After the benefits were discontinued on April 1, 2004 due to the amendment to the law, Florida-Rolf returned to Germany, initially lived on the street and received the standard rate of social assistance, which the Bild-Zeitung celebrated as a victory. Shortly thereafter, he went into hiding and could no longer be tracked by the media, which led to the media interest waning and he was forgotten.

Since then, Section 24 of the Twelfth Book of the Social Security Code, which regulates social assistance for Germans abroad, has only allowed social assistance payments abroad for the care and upbringing of a child who remains abroad for legal reasons, for long-term inpatient care in an institution, for heavy care needs and for sovereign powers. The endangerment of life and limb in the event of a return to Germany is no longer a reason for granting benefits to Germans living abroad.

According to the Bild newspaper, Florida-Rolf lived in Berlin in 2010 and received a basic social security pension at ALG II level. In 2013 he was still living in a backyard apartment in Berlin. He is divorced and has a son.

Web links


Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Berliner Zeitung: Backyard apartment instead of Miami Beach (August 7, 2013)
  2. BVerwG, June 5, 1997, AZ 5 C 3.97
  3. BVerwG, June 6, 1999, AZ 5 B 93/99
  4. ^ A b Thomas Hirschboeck: Abuse of social welfare in Germany from a legal point of view . Tenea Verlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-86504-055-1
  5. ^ OVG Lower Saxony, August 11, 2003, AZ 4 ME 310/03
  6. ^ Court: Social Welfare Office Has To Pay Overpriced Rent In Florida - RP-Online
  7. “Florida-Rolf” and Bohlen's life confession: on the agenda setting of “Bild”. Federal Agency for Civic Education.
  8. What is actually doing now ... Hartz-IV-Schmarotzer Florida-Rolf, Bildzeitung from March 19, 2010
  9. ^ Photo campaign against "Florida-Rolf": Backyard apartment instead of Miami Beach , Berliner Zeitung , August 7, 2013