Housing: Federal Council approves housing benefit reform

Hundreds of thousands of additional households in Germany will be able to receive housing benefit for the first time from next January.

Housing: Federal Council approves housing benefit reform

Hundreds of thousands of additional households in Germany will be able to receive housing benefit for the first time from next January. The Federal Council approved the reform - despite clear criticism of the high additional workload for the administration and the short changeover time.

So far, 600,000 households have received this state subsidy for their rent. With the housing benefit reform, up to 1.4 million more will be entitled to do so.

The housing allowance is also to be increased by an average of 190 euros per month. This means that in future the subscribers will receive an average of around 370 euros per month.

Federal Building Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD) spoke of the "biggest housing benefit reform in the history of the Federal Republic". In the future, 2 million households with 4.5 million people would receive housing benefit. "This is good news for many single parents, pensioners, low-income families, trainees and people in old people's and nursing homes in all federal states." Geywitz thanked the federal states, which would have to shoulder half of the costs. She knows that this is a "big effort" for her.

"Foreseeable that there will be trouble among citizens at first"

The reform came at the right time, said Berlin's Senator for Building and Housing, Andreas Geisel (SPD). "Because now the citizens of our country are under considerable cost pressure." However, at the start of January 1st, the federal states were not in a position to fully approve the applications or to pay out the money.

Bavaria's Minister for Federal Affairs, Florian Herrmann (CSU), also said: "With the best will in the world, processing and payment cannot be achieved with the existing staff if the recipient households triple." That applies to all countries. New staff first had to be found and trained, and the EDP had to be adapted to the innovations. It is foreseeable that there will be anger among the citizens at first.

"It's the same pattern as always: the federal government writes a half-baked draft law and the states should then somehow manage to implement it," criticized Herrmann. Suggestions by the federal states for simplifications have largely remained unconsidered. On the other hand, the Federal Building Minister pointed out that a number of simplifications had been included in the course of the legislative process.

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