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Saturday, April 1, 2023

Energy: Relaxation for the account: First students receive 200 euros

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The heating period is almost over – and students and technical students are still waiting for the energy price flat rate of 200 euros. The first payments should now be made.

Half a year after the announcement of a 200-euro energy price lump sum for students and technical students, the federal government has transferred the money to the first recipients. A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Education in Berlin explained on Friday that these are participants in the pilot phase. “The first applicants will soon have the one-off payment in their account,” said Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) of the dpa.

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The lump sum is intended to partially compensate for the drastically increased energy prices. The inflation rate, which is strongly driven by energy prices, was also 8.7 percent in February, as the Federal Statistical Office announced on Friday.

A test phase of the corresponding application platform on the Internet with universities and technical schools in several federal states was reportedly successful. “The test phase was technically successful,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s Digital Minister Lydia Hüskens (FDP). Around 12,800 applicants received their approval notices.

Application platform should be available from Wednesday

Since Saxony-Anhalt was in charge of setting up the digital student loan, the federal and state governments had also entrusted the state with the technical implementation of the application platform for the energy price flat rate. Since last week, students and technical students from several educational institutions have been able to apply for the money as part of a test.

“The pilot phase shows that the joint application platform works smoothly and that the one-off payment can be applied for quickly and easily,” said Stark-Watzinger. According to the information, the average effort to apply for the 200 euros was around three minutes. Both politicians assume that the application platform will be open to all of the approximately 3.5 million affected people as planned from next Wednesday. They are usually informed about the details of registration and application by their educational institutions.

According to the ministry spokesman, it is not possible to say when the payment will be made to all those entitled to it. That depends largely on how quickly the students and technical students submit their applications. With a view to a possible onslaught of applicants in the coming week, he said: “I think we are well prepared.”

Tax Free Payment

Anyone who was enrolled at a university or in a technical college on December 1, 2022 is entitled to the money. A domicile or “habitual residence” in Germany on this date is a prerequisite. At technical schools, for example, educators, technicians or business economists are trained. Part-time students, participants in dual studies, foreign students and those who are currently taking a semester off should also benefit. The energy price flat rate should neither be taxed nor offset against any social benefits.

The traffic light coalition had already agreed on the special payment last September. The practical implementation turned out to be difficult and dragged on for more than half a year. A quick transfer of the 200 euros was thwarted, among other things, by the fact that the account details of all the students and technical students concerned were not available centrally.

Criticism of technical effort

First of all, an application platform had to be built on which those affected can identify themselves securely and unequivocally and on which, at the same time, personal and account data available at the educational institutions are brought together. The federal and state governments were always at odds with each other. It was about data protection, responsibilities and technical details.

Student representatives and the opposition in the Bundestag had criticized the slow process. Recently there has also been criticism that all those affected have to create a user account with the federal government, a so-called BundID account, in order to clearly identify themselves when applying. It has now been clarified that the online function of the identity card or an “Elster certificate”, as used for online tax returns, are not absolutely necessary. A simple BundID account with a username and password can also be created.

Source: Stern

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