Almost three months after the start of the housing benefit reform, the Saarland has drawn an initial positive balance. "The technical implementation worked almost seamlessly," said Secretary of State Torsten Lang (SPD) on Wednesday in Saarbrücken. Housing benefit authorities in the Saarbrücken regional association and in the districts could have implemented a foreseeable higher number of applications “as quickly as possible” thanks to preparation.
In January, around 2,300 applications were received by the housing benefit authorities, almost twice as many as in the same month last year. In February, this number decreased somewhat, but was still significantly higher than a year ago. The higher housing benefit could already be paid out to all eligible existing households in January, said Lang. The increased numbers led to longer processing times in the short term.
"The housing benefit reform was a correct and important step," said the chairman of the Saarland district council, District Administrator Udo Recktenwald (CDU). But: "We would have wished that the federal government would also pay for the additional personnel costs that we incur."
On January 1, the "Wohngeld-Plus-Gesetz" came into force, which, among other things, increased the number of households entitled to receive housing benefits from around 600,000 nationwide to two million. Households that do not receive social benefits but still have little money can now also apply for housing benefit. In addition, the housing allowance has doubled on average.
The payment of the heating subsidy also worked well in Saarland, said Lang. A total of around 6,000 households received around 3.5 million euros.
Housing Benefit Plus