Basic child security: A major project with a few unanswered questions

Basic child security: A major project with a few unanswered questions

Basic child security has been discussed for years. Now the government has come to an agreement after a long internal dispute. The project is to be implemented in the year after next. What children and parents can expect specifically is still unclear in the details.

From 2025, basic child security is intended to bring more order and clarity to the system of various state benefits for children and families. Whether payments for children will also be increased and what the whole thing should cost was argued for months in the traffic light. Now there is an agreement.

Why basic child security at all? What is the goal?

Among other things, it is about disentanglement. There are a number of benefits for children, for example monthly child benefit, child tax allowances, child allowance for people on low incomes, citizen allowance for children or financial aid for school supplies, school trips or memberships in sports clubs and music schools. But different authorities are responsible and there are different ways to apply – sometimes families are not even aware of what they are entitled to and how they get their money. The basic child security is intended to bundle services and ensure that those entitled to receive what they are entitled to.

How is this supposed to be implemented?

From 2025 there will be a so-called guaranteed amount for all children. This replaces today’s child benefit (250 euros per month). Children who are adults but are still studying or in training should also receive this guaranteed amount directly – unlike today’s child benefit, which goes to the parents. On top of that, depending on need, there is an additional contribution, graded according to age and depending on the income situation of the parents. The less they earn, the higher it should be.

How is this additional contribution calculated?

From various services: The previous citizen benefit share for children is included, as well as the child allowance of a maximum of 250 euros per month, which families receive who are not in receipt of citizen benefit but have very little income. The difference to today: there should only be one place responsible for everything. According to Paus, the family benefits office of the Federal Employment Agency, which already handles child benefit, will become a “family service point”. In the future, families should be actively informed about the benefits they are entitled to via this office with a revised website. In this way, the previous process of going to different offices for different services should become superfluous.

What has been the argument for so long?

If all eligible families receive benefits to which they are entitled, it will cost more money. That was always largely undisputed. According to estimates by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, the child supplement only reaches around every third eligible child. Above all, it was important to the Greens that not only should access to services be improved, but that the state also increase these services in order to take action against child poverty.

The FDP, on the other hand, insisted on limiting government spending again after the expensive corona and inflation relief packages, and refers to increases in citizen benefits, child benefit and child allowance that have already taken place. Finance Minister Christian Lindner also warned that higher social benefits could make working less attractive. The so-called wage gap requirement must be maintained. The FDP leader also questioned whether more money in families’ accounts would actually help poor children ideally – or whether the funds would not be better invested in daycare centers, schools, language training and work integration.

Where is the compromise now? Will there be more money?

Yes, but that would have been the case anyway: As with child benefit today, there will also be regular upward adjustments to basic child security, depending on how much more expensive life in Germany becomes and how much money people need at least to live against this background. Statistical analyzes are carried out regularly for this purpose. The citizen’s allowance, the children’s part of which is transferred to the basic child security, is also adjusted in the same way. Therefore, there will also be an automatic increase in performance. However, it is disputed whether these are sufficient. Exact figures are not yet available. In addition, the statistical calculations for the so-called socio-cultural subsistence level for children are to be reformed, which according to the coalition will also lead to increases.

What additional costs are estimated?

Initially 2.4 billion euros for the starting year 2025. Government circles also said that with increasing use of basic child security services, the costs could also increase to up to six billion euros in the following years.

Questions and answers: The basic child security: A large-scale project with a few unanswered questions

How many children in Germany are actually affected by poverty?

Poverty is relative and cannot be measured by money alone. In Germany, therefore, the term “risk of poverty” is mostly used. If someone has less than 60 percent of the median income of the general population, they are considered “at risk of poverty”. According to the Federal Statistical Office, this threshold was around 1,250 euros net per month for a person living alone last year. Almost 2.2 million of the approximately 14.3 million children and young people under 18 fall into the category “at risk of poverty” because they live in households with correspondingly low incomes.

What is the schedule for basic child security now?

The plans will now first be sent to associations and federal states for comments. The law could be introduced in the federal cabinet in mid-September. It then has to go through the Bundestag and Bundesrat. Despite months of discussions between the Greens and the FDP, the ministers involved do not expect any further disputes over child protection, as they did over the Building Energy Act (GEG). “We don’t do GEG 2.0, no, we don’t do that,” said Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens). “It is intended here, and I have no doubt that there will be a bill that the cabinet is behind,” said Lindner.

Source: Stern

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