Due to the rapidly increasing energy prices, the Bundestag has approved further state financial aid. Pensioners receive a lump sum of 300 euros before Christmas. The deputies passed a law on Thursday that provides for a corresponding one-off payment until December 15th. Housing benefit recipients, students and trainees also receive an additional heating cost subsidy. "This is important support for the people who can make good use of this subsidy," said Federal Building Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD).
Despite broad approval of both projects, there was plenty of criticism of the traffic light coalition in the preceding debate. The CSU social expert Max Straubinger welcomed the energy flat rate for pensioners in principle, but accused the government of lacking accuracy. Victims of accidents and acts of violence who are entitled to victim's pensions, for example, came away empty-handed. AfD MP Ulrike Schielke-Ziesing also complained that certain groups - such as the disabled or caring relatives - were not considered again.
Susanne Ferschl from the left said it was a government secret why it took her three months to understand that pensioners also had to heat. "The fact is, the energy price flat rate is not enough to get through the winter," she also complained. Criticism also came from the social association VdK: "The way the energy price flat rate is designed, a patchwork quilt with many holes has emerged," said VdK President Verena Bentele of the German Press Agency. She called for the inclusion of other groups of people such as caring relatives and recipients of transitional allowance and sick pay.
20 million people benefit from financial injection
All households that are entitled to housing benefit for at least one month in the period from September 1 to December 31, 2022 should benefit from the heating subsidy. A one-off fee of 415 euros is provided for single households. A two-person household gets 540 euros, for each additional person there is an additional 100 euros. A flat rate of 345 euros is paid to students and trainees who receive student loans or other state support.
Earning cap increase for midi jobs
The traffic light coalition agreed on this subsidy at the beginning of September as part of its third relief package. At that time, this also included the energy flat rate for pensioners, since no separate payments were provided for this group of people in the previous relief packages. Employed people were already paid an energy price lump sum of 300 euros in September.
Furthermore, the Bundestag decided on Thursday to raise the upper earnings limit for so-called midi jobs from 1,600 euros to a maximum of 2,000 euros per month. Up to this limit, in future employees will only have to pay reduced social security contributions. This should save them 1.3 billion euros a year. This was also part of the third relief package.
Draft law on the energy price flat rate Questions and answers from the Ministry of Social Affairs on the flat rate bill on the heating cost subsidy Recommendation with changes