Status: 27.09.2023, 16:00 p.m.
By: Anne Hund
The basic child benefit is to bundle benefits for families from 2025. The reform is intended to give more families their money.
The Federal Government has decided on the hard-fought basic child benefit. The German Press Agency (dpa) learned on Wednesday (27 September) from government circles. The project from the coalition agreement envisages bundling various state benefits for children from 2025: the current child benefit, the child allowance for families with low incomes, the children's share of the citizen's allowance and support for school supplies.
The basic child benefit is intended to bundle various benefits for families in the future. © Marcel Kusch/dpa
Federal government adopts basic child benefit
One of the aims of the basic child benefit is to reach more families who are entitled to benefits through a better overview and simpler application processes. "In the future, there will finally be better, faster and more direct services for all families," said Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) following the cabinet decision. The basic child benefit creates "a system change – away from the debt of citizens to a debt of the state". After all, families would be informed directly by the Family Service about possible entitlements in the future, and the calculation and payment of benefits would become easier. How many children are affected by poverty in Germany.
How does the government intend to implement the project in concrete terms?
Specifically, according to the draft law, the following is planned: A so-called guaranteed amount will be paid out for all children. It replaces today's child benefit (currently 250 euros per month). Children who are adults, but still studying or in training, should receive this guaranteed amount directly – unlike the child benefit today, which usually goes to the parents. In addition to this guaranteed amount, there is an additional contribution depending on need, staggered according to age and according to the income situation of the parents. The less they earn, the higher it should be.
The current family benefits offices of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), which are already responsible for child benefit, are to be responsible as central contact points. In the future, they will be called "family services" and in the future they will also actively inform parents of the benefits to which they are entitled. It should be possible to apply completely online.
How high should the basic child benefit be?
As with the citizen's allowance, there will be regular automatic upward adjustments in line with price developments in the country. Therefore, the additional expenditure and the exact amount of the basic child benefit cannot yet be precisely quantified. In August, Paus had mentioned sums between 530 euros (for children up to six years of age) and 636 euros (for the oldest children). But these were only estimates. The exact amounts depend on the development of prices until the introduction of the benefit and on the individual case, depending on the income situation of the family.
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Are there any performance improvements planned for individual groups so far?
The point of performance improvements was controversial in advance. The traffic light had agreed on the recalculation of the subsistence minimum by the Federal Statistical Office. "According to the draft law, which is available to the ARD capital studio, this leads to individual increases," said a report on Tagesschau.de on Wednesday morning (27 September) before the cabinet decision. The report also gave some examples: "For example, a five-year-old child who has so far received citizen's allowance will receive at least 28 euros more per month. A 14-year-old, who has so far received child allowance, is to receive around 60 euros more per month. In addition, single parents are to benefit by only 45 percent of child support payments in the future instead of being fully credited as before." However, Finance Minister Lindner had advocated that there would be no general increases in benefits. According to the report, it was important for the FDP politician not to create "false incentives". "That's why, according to the bill, those who work will end up with more money," it said on Tagesschau.de.
When will the basic child benefit come now?
The bill talks about a start on January 1, 2025. It remains to be seen whether the ambitious timetable of Family Minister Lisa Paus can be adhered to. The Federal Employment Agency (BA) had previously doubted that this start date was realistic. A lead time of at least 12 months for the complex legislative project is required to successfully implement it. The revised draft law now states that the project is particularly urgent. "The OAG needs sufficient time (up to one year) from the promulgation of the law to prepare the administrative processes and IT procedures for the introduction of the basic child benefit. The legislative process must therefore be completed as soon as possible."
Why can the project fail now?
The bill must now be passed by the Bundestag and the states must also agree. It remains questionable whether the CDU/CSU-led federal states will agree to the current draft. (With material from dpa)
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