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Among my family we often joke about "struggle money." It refers to the amount of money that your employer gives you to move somewhere with a higher cost of living. The origin of the word was a translation by my mother in law of a German accounting term, but none of us can remember the original word. What was this word?

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    Employees in public administration receive an Ortszuschlag (location benefit). – tofro Sep 17 '17 at 23:58
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    @tofro That is the polite term for Buschzulage? – TAR86 Sep 18 '17 at 7:10
  • @tofro: not any more, at least not in Germany (don't know for other countries) - The "Ortszuschlag" is now the same for everybody independent of where they live (but depends on number of children). – Takkat Sep 18 '17 at 7:21
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    Buschzulage war, in meiner Erinnerung, nicht eine Ausgleichszahlung fürs Leben an teuren Orten, sondern praktisch das Bestechungsgeld, das man jemandem versprach, damit er an einen unattraktiven Ort zieht. - Das mag eine Zeit lang das Gebiet der DDR gewesen sein, doch ist der Begriff nicht daran gebunden. – Christian Geiselmann Sep 18 '17 at 11:24
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    There was an answer (now deleted) that mentioned "Härtegeld". It was deleted probably because somebody was afraid of being taken for a Nazi, as - as a commenter stated - the word was in use in Nazi times. However, I find it quite plausible that your "struggle money" goes back to that "Härtegeld". When was your mother in law in active employment? – Christian Geiselmann Sep 18 '17 at 11:26
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Based on your additional information that your mother in law was in Berlin during the years of the so called reunification, i.e. around 1990, the original term for her struggle money may quite possibly have been

Härtezuschlag

This term is in use even in current German legislation, see here for example the Auslandsverwendungsverordnung (Regulation for being sent on duty abroad).

Amusingly in another forum (dict.leo.org) somebody is searching for an appropriate English word for it; a suggestion from the US published there is differential cost allowance.

  • "[...] during the years of the so called reunification [...]". Could you please elaborate the bold printed part? In school I learned that Germany long time was divided and then got unified and that long before that it already was unified. That there're larger differences in wealth and culture between two parts of a country dosn't seems that uncommon to me (compare e.g. north and south England, even south Germany (Bavaria, BW) and the rest is a good example). That "so called" really confuses me. – ikadfoanhfda Sep 18 '17 at 14:30
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    Sorry, I did not want to confuse anybody. The German term is Wiedervereinigung. I added so called in an act of - perhaps childish - opposition to mainstream usage just because I sometimes have the impression that people use these terms thoughtlessly. - There was something like a mania in Germany, when the GDR as a state had disappeared, to speak of "die ehemalige DDR" (the former GDR) when speaking of it, to obtusively underline that it has disappeared. However, nobody would say "the former emperor Napoleon". Perhaps my "so called" is just a form of retaliation for this annoying habit. – Christian Geiselmann Sep 18 '17 at 14:56
  • We're pretty sure Auslandsverwendungsverordnung was the right word! Thanks! – bendl Sep 23 '17 at 13:12
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According to the translation »struggle money« I can imaging it's

Aufwandsentschädigung

though this term is usually used for one time costs.

You seem to look for an official accounting term, otherwise I would also propose the rarely used, but existing term

Kampfzulage
(origin: a soldier's extra pay)

as it fits your translation very well.

  • Thanks for the suggestion but it was not a one time payment – bendl Sep 23 '17 at 13:13
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From the word meaning I would translate it to

Erschwerniszuschlag

But this is not related to the place of living.

  • This does not answer the question. – jarnbjo Sep 19 '17 at 16:55
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There was an expression after the re-union of Germany in the 1990ies. People who move to east Germany got additional money that people called "Buschzulage". Busch is here in the meaning of jungle.

The reason for the use of this expression was that salaries in east Germany are lower than in the west part. Although the living costs im the east were lower in the first years there was an additional "Aufwandsentschädigung" for the moving people. There was no obvious reason for it, moving from north to south did not result in additional money. So the joke was "There must be a jungle in the east" and therefore they get a "Buschzulage".

The salaries are still lower but the differences are less. But the living costs are nearly identical, except for some areas around rich cities like Munich and Hamburg.

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