A lot will change for consumers in January: Some social benefits will increase, as will the minimum wage, parts of the heating law will come into force, and a new deposit requirement will apply. An overview:
Citizens' money increases
The more than five million recipients of citizens' benefit receive an average of around twelve percent more money. For single people, this means an increase of 61 to 563 euros per month. Adults who live with a partner receive 506 euros. For children, the rates are between 357 and 471 euros, depending on age.
Child allowance increases
Low-income families can receive more support from the state. The maximum amount of the child allowance increases from 250 euros to up to 292 euros per month and child.
Higher minimum wage
The minimum wage increases from 12 to 12.41 euros per hour.
Higher mini-job limit
As part of the minimum wage increase, the upper limit for so-called mini-jobs will also be raised. This increases from 520 to 538 euros per month.
The minimum salary for trainees in their first year of training increases by 4.7 percent to 649 euros per month. This affects training courses that began on January 1st. Exceptions via collective agreement are possible.
Heating in new buildings
The first regulations of the Heating Act are taking effect: only heating systems that are based on 65 percent renewable energy may be installed in new buildings within new development areas. In many cases this would probably be a heat pump.
The CO2 price rose to 45 euros per ton on January 1st, making refueling and heating with oil or gas more expensive.
Energy price brakes
The electricity and gas price brakes were abolished on January 1st. However, due to lower market prices, they no longer play a role for most energy consumers.
The so-called environmental bonus to support the purchase of an electric car is no longer available. Applications could be submitted up to and including December 17th.
Contracted doctors are obliged to issue e-prescriptions for prescription medicines. Insured people have three options for redemption: via app, paper printout or with their health insurance card.
Higher tax on restaurant visits
In the catering industry, the regular VAT rate of 19 percent has been in effect again since January 1st, instead of the temporary 7 percent. So eating out could become more expensive.
Deposit on milk in plastic bottles
Since January 1st, a deposit has also been required for milk or mixed milk drinks if they are sold in plastic bottles.
It is very likely that rail customers will have to expect longer strikes by the train drivers' union GDL after the Christmas holidays. According to the GDL, these are possible from January 8th.
Care allowance increases
The care allowance for home care has been increased by five percent - depending on the level of care, this is 16 to 45 euros more per month. In outpatient care, the amount of benefits in kind has also increased by five percent. Anyone who cares for relatives is now entitled to care support allowance for ten working days per person in need of care every year.
Nursing insurance increases surcharges
There is also relief for those in need of care in homes: the nursing care fund has increased the percentage surcharges for people in fully inpatient care facilities. Depending on the length of stay in the nursing home, the increase is between five and ten percent.
Higher social security contributions for high earners
High earners pay higher social security contributions. In statutory pension and unemployment insurance, contributions are due up to an amount of 7,550 euros per month in the west and 7,450 euros in the east. The contribution assessment limit for statutory health and nursing care insurance increases to 5,175 euros per month.
Retirement age limit increases
The normal retirement age increases to 66 years. This applies to pension insured people who were born in 1958. For those born later, the retirement age increases in two-month increments, which means they have to work longer or accept reductions if they want to retire earlier.
End of child passports
Children's passports can no longer be applied for. The document, which was previously available for children under the age of twelve, has been replaced by an electronic passport with a longer period of validity and the possibility of use for worldwide travel.
Supply Chain Act
The supply chain law on compliance with human rights among suppliers applies to other companies: Since the beginning of the year, companies that have at least 1,000 employees in Germany have also been affected. Previously the limit was 3000.