In addition to mourning, deaths also mean some administrative work for the relatives. In order to be able to cope with this, an official death certificate is often required. However, people in some Berlin districts have to wait a long time for one. When asked by dpa, the district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf gave the longest processing time as 29 working days. According to undertakers, it can take even longer: In some cases, you have to be patient for up to two months, said Hans-Joachim Möller from the Association of Independent Undertakers of the dpa. The "Tagesspiegel" first reported on long waiting times for death certificates.
In addition to Marzahn-Hellersdorf, the districts of Steglitz-Zehlendorf and Mitte also reported waiting times of several weeks. It takes one to two weeks to issue a death certificate in the districts of Treptow-Köpenick, Pankow, Lichtenberg and Reinickendorf, according to the registry offices there. According to the responsible authorities in the districts of Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Spandau and Neukölln, citizens have to wait less than a week.
The reason for the long processing times is mostly the personnel situation in the offices, said Möller. "They can't keep up. And that pulls a whole rat's tail behind it," explained the undertaker. Because in order to deregister the deceased from energy suppliers, banks or insurers, death certificates are usually required.
It can also be heard from some districts that a shortage of staff can be a reason for long waiting times. Due to changes in the law, registry offices have had to carry out additional tasks since the end of 2022, reports the Tempelhof-Schöneberger CDU district councilor Matthias Steuckardt. In addition, there are sometimes hardly any suitable applicants for vacancies in registry offices, as it is said from two districts.
According to some registry offices, long waiting times could also be due to a recent high number of deaths. However, increased mortality is not unusual in the months of December and January, says Berlin undertaker Robert Hahn. He also sees the reason in the scarce staffing. This leads to a "backlog in many areas".