Fee-saving potential: Consumers normally pay 18.36 euros for the broadcasting fee – but for some, only a third GEZ is due.
Update from February 7, 2023: What happens if I can't or don't want to pay my GEZ fees – is GEZ able to block my account in the worst case? What are the consequences of non-payment?
First reported on January 25, 2023: Hamburg – Why do all Germans have to pay the broadcasting fee, even if they don't have a TV or radio at home? The answer to this is simple: on the basis of revenues, the public service broadcaster wants to guarantee independent and diverse reporting – free of economic and political interests – to which every consumer should make his contribution. In fact, however, there are groups of people who are granted a reduction in the (former) GEZ contribution and who "only" have to pay 18.36 euros per month to the contribution service instead of the full 6.12 euros. To which people this applies.
|Community facility:||ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice (formerly GEZ)|
Pay less GEZ: How high is the reduction in the broadcasting fee – and who is entitled to it?
ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio are committed to providing barrier-free access to a large part of their programming. According to its own statements, the contribution service (formerly GEZ) attaches "great importance to barrier-free implementation of the website", the offer is constantly being expanded and in general the information offers and communication possibilities are designed as actively as possible - so that "that every person can perceive and use them without restriction, regardless of his personal or technical possibilities," it says on the website of the contribution service.
Some people can get a reduction in the broadcasting fee (formerly GEZ fee) – who is concerned. © Imago
However, people with disabilities can still apply for a reduction in the broadcasting fee – at least from a certain degree of disability. If the application is approved, they will then only have to pay a third of the contribution, namely 6.12 euros per month.
If people with disabilities also receive certain social benefits, they can apply for a complete exemption from the GEZ fee – this also applies to recipients of citizen's allowance, deafblind people and students who receive BAföG. Pensioners can also be exempted from paying the broadcasting fee under certain circumstances.
Why are we still talking about GEZ fees?
With the conversion of broadcasting financing from the previous fee model to the new contribution model on 1 January 2013, the GEZ (Fee Collection Centre) was renamed "ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice". Actually, the broadcasting fee should therefore no longer be referred to as a GEZ fee. However, since the alternative sounds much more bureaucratic and is less likely to pass the lips, the term GEZ is still used in the vernacular.
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Under what conditions do you get a reduced GEZ fee?
But back to the reduction of the broadcasting fee: This is what people with the mark RF in their severely disabled person's ID card are entitled to. With this mark, holders are entitled to a reduction in broadcasting fees as well as a reduction in telephone charges from Deutsche Telekom. However, certain conditions must be met. The following receive a reduction in GEZ contributions:
- Disabled persons whose degree of disability is at least 80, not only temporarily, and who are permanently unable to participate in public events due to their suffering and who have been awarded the RF mark.
- Blind or significantly visually impaired people with a degree of disability of at least 60 who are not only temporarily visually impaired and who have been awarded the RF mark.
- Hearing-impaired people who are deaf or who are unable to communicate adequately through their hearing, even with hearing aids, and who have been awarded the RF mark.
Apply for a GEZ discount: How does it work and what do I need for the application?
The application for a reduction in the broadcasting fee can be filled out online. To do this, you need to select the application data, enter your personal data, check the summary and then print out the application. You can then sign and send the printout with the required proof to the contribution service in Cologne.
If you do not wish to apply for the discount online, you can also obtain the application from the competent authorities of the cities and municipalities. However, the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice points out that you should not submit the application until the necessary evidence is available. There are also a few things to consider when moving with regard to the GEZ contribution.
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Proof of disability – this is how you get a reduced GEZ fee
But what proof is required at all? In order to apply for the reduction of the GEZ fee, you must send in a "legible copy" of one of the following documents, reports the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice on its own website.
- Certificate of the authority of the award of the mark RF OR
- Severely disabled person's pass (front and back) with RF mark
However, you should avoid sending original documents to Cologne, as a return of the documents cannot be guaranteed. By the way, you can also appeal against the licence fees – but when does that really work?
Broadcasting fee can also be reduced retroactively – up to three years
Good to know: The reduction of the broadcasting fee does not begin with your application, but already with the date of award of the RF mark. As a result, the reduced broadcasting fee can be granted retroactively for a period of up to three years. The future duration of the discount also depends on the validity period of the proof submitted.
In addition, relatives of disabled people can also benefit from a reduction in the broadcasting fee, as the "discount" can also affect other people in the home. The spouse or registered partner, as well as children up to the age of 25, do not pay an additional contribution if they live with a person with RF marks. By the way: Longer child benefit for children with disabilities – it depends on the year of birth.