Did a ‘Muslim migrant’ in Germany get $390,000 a year in benefits? Unfounded

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A story circulating since 2016 claims that a Syrian refugee in Germany with four wives and 23 children got $390,000 a year in government benefits. While the man had multiple wives and children, local authorities denied he received six figures in state support.

An article emerged in late 2016 saying that a Syrian refugee family, including a man, his four wives and their 23 children, were having trouble adapting to life in Germany after fleeing the war in their homeland.

A subsequent online post by a man calling himself a financial expert said a family of that size would get 30,030 euros per month in benefits in Germany.

However, the man offered this caveat with his calculations: “Please note that because of privacy rules some of the details are not to be found, so the facts and costs were partly estimated according to life experience.”

Despite his warning that his estimate was made without certain details, it was picked up online and prompted controversy as Europe struggled with its biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

As the story gained traction, it popped up on multiple online portals calling the man a “Muslim migrant” and claiming that he gets $390,000 a year. Although authorities countered the news was false, reports such as this one continued to be shared on Facebook, including in Canada and the Philippines.

Key aspects of the story are not supported by facts.

Officials have declined to provide the exact amount the family received, including in an October 2016 statement to lawmakers. 

However, the mayor of the town where part of the family was staying categorically denied they were receiving annual benefits that reached into the six figures.

“We find it obvious that these numbers have been used purposefully to fuel prejudice, " Edmund Schaaf, then Montabaur Mayor, was quoted as saying in December 2016.