Low-income citizens, but also all taxpayers and businesses, are receiving state aid due to the drastic increase in energy costs. The federal cabinet on Wednesday launched several relief measures, which the SPD, the Greens and the FDP had already agreed in principle before the Ukraine war. The traffic light factions also decided to double the planned heating subsidy for households.
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Recipients of the housing subsidy who live alone receive 270 euros, two-person households 350 euros. For each additional roommate, another 70 euros are contributed. Students, apprentices and other beneficiaries receive a flat rate of 230 euros. But it is already clear: it should not stop there either. Because since the war, costs have skyrocketed again; can be clearly seen at the gas station.
For days, the coalition has been fighting for more help, especially for drivers. Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has put into play a direct subsidy on the fuel bill, the Greens an energy money. The opposition Union calls for lowering taxes on gasoline and diesel.
There was still no agreement on Wednesday. The SPD is also lobbying for help for families who are not entitled to housing benefit. “We will discuss other aid options with the coalition partners this week,” announced the leader of the FDP parliamentary group, Christian Dürr.
The following countermeasures have been initiated; however, they still need to be approved in the Bundestag and in some cases also in the Bundesrat before they can come into force:
Highest traveler allowance for long-haul travelers
The Council of Ministers decided that the 2024 increase in the flat rate for long-distance travelers -from kilometer 21- would be brought forward due to the rise in fuel prices. 38 cents will now be billed for a limited period and retrospectively starting January 1. Currently the flat rate is 30 cents up to kilometer 20 and 35 cents from kilometer 21.
The move was controversial, especially among the Greens. However, the coalition has agreed to completely rethink commuter allowance during this legislative period and take more into account ecological and social concerns.
Greater discounts in the income statement
All employees who file a tax return benefit from this: the flat rate advertising fee, officially the employee flat rate, will be increased retrospectively at the beginning of the year from EUR 200 to EUR 1,200 after a cabinet decision. In addition, the basic bonus for personal income tax will go from the current 9,984 euros to 10,347 euros. According to Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP), all fiscal measures together cost the state around 4.5 billion euros.
Increased heating cost subsidy for economically weak households
Here the traffic light significantly improves its previous plans: instead of 135 euros, housing benefit recipients living alone should receive a one-time grant of 270 euros for their heating costs. There should be €350 for two-person households and €230 for students with student loans and recipients of promotional student loans and vocational scholarships. The Bundestag should already decide on the aid on Thursday so that the money can be paid when utility bills are due.
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According to previous information, about 2.1 million citizens, such as retirees, single parents or people who earn little, will benefit from it. They must transfer the money directly to your account without a request. “We know that low-income households in particular are suffering from rising energy prices,” said SPD parliamentary group leader Verena Hubertz. “But no one should have to live in a cold apartment, so we’re launching the grant later this week.”
Immediate surcharge for families with children and low income
The cabinet also approved aid for the poorest families. As of July, children and young people from families that depend on social benefits will have to receive 20 euros more per month. Overall, the surcharge will benefit around 2.9 million people, including some 200,000 children of asylum seekers.
Single payment for particularly needy adults
Adults receiving unemployment benefit II, basic security or social assistance should receive the so-called single corona payment of 100 euros in July. The money is also intended to offset additional corona-related charges, such as the purchase of FFP2 masks. “It is clear that the welfare state will continue to support people in difficult times,” Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) said. (dpa)