Housing benefit reform – who gets a rent subsidy, where and how do you apply for it?


High costs for heating, electricity and groceries are putting pressure on many households in Germany. Therefore, from January 1, housing benefit will increase and help low-income people pay rent. The group of beneficiaries is also being expanded. However, many victims do not even know that they can receive state aid at all. An overview of the most important questions about housing benefit:

Housing benefit – what exactly is it?

It’s like a government subsidy for rent for low-income people. Even those who own an apartment or house and have little money can get support. However, this only applies if you do not receive any other social benefits that are already taken into account in housing costs, ie unemployment benefits II, social benefits or student loans. The federal states or municipalities are responsible for applications and payments.

How much does housing benefit cost?

It depends on the amount of rent and income and where exactly you live. Construction Minister Klara Geywitz has long wanted to significantly increase housing benefit. On Wednesday (22/11/22), the federal and state governments approved housing benefit reform. The government rent subsidy must be reformed from January 1 and will increase by an average of 190 euros per month.

In addition, it is intended to pay 1.4 million. more citizens than before. So far, 600,000 households in Germany have received housing benefit. We are talking about costs of 5.1 billion euros. It remains for the federal and state governments to share the costs of the planned housing benefit reform. In fact, the federal states were no longer willing to financially support housing benefit.

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When calculating the amount of housing benefit, it is recommended to use Housing benefit calculator Federal Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Construction.

Extension of housing allowance: what changes?

In addition to increasing the housing benefit, benefits must also be improved: the housing benefit always includes a part of the heating costs. Everyone who already receives housing benefit should have an additional heating subsidy for the heating period from 2022. September to December 415 euros for one person, 540 euros for two and 100 euros for each additional person. Pupils, apprentices and students who are entitled to a subsidy receive a subsidy of 345 euros for heating costs.

In addition, a climate component will be introduced to reduce housing benefit households from cost increases due to renovation measures to save energy in buildings.

Who is entitled to housing benefit?

Whether you are entitled to housing benefit depends on a complex calculation – there is no easy-to-remember income limit. This is probably one of the reasons why not all households with it applied for housing benefit. Factors in the calculation include income, rent, household size and place of residence. You can use the Ministry’s housing benefit calculator to calculate whether you can get housing benefit online.

How to apply for housing benefit?

An informal application is sufficient to meet any deadlines for housing benefit. However, special application forms with regional differences are generally required. They often include questions about the applicant’s income, sublease agreements and other financial information. Municipalities are responsible for housing allowance. This means that the application must be submitted to the relevant housing allowance department of the municipality, city, institution or district administration – in person, by mail or online.

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