Relief law: Care should no longer be poor

Anyone who is old or ill and has few assets often has to ask his relatives for help. That should change with the Relatives Relief Law. An overview

The care in Germany is expensive: On average, the own share for a place in a nursing home at around 1,700 euros a month. Many relatives are in financial distress when relatives who are being cared for do not have their own assets and need to take care of them. With the Relatives Relief Act, which was adopted today in the Cabinet, the Federal Government wants to relieve families. Union and SPD had already included it in their coalition agreement. Labor and Social Affairs Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) wants to set a signal for more solidarity in society: "We take the family now the fear of incalculable financial demands," he said. The most important questions at a glance:

What is the Federal Government planning?

The principle remains: If the nurse's money is insufficient to finance a care place, relatives must step in with their own income. The bill stipulates that in the future, however, they will only have to make a contribution to the cost of care from an annual gross income of 100,000 euros. "The use of dependent family members should be significantly limited by this law," it says in the bill. In basic security in old age and reduced earning capacity, this income limit already applies today.

In addition, the federal government also wants to relieve the parents of adults who are already adults. So far, they still have to pay if, for example, the apartment is to be made accessible or a sign language interpreter is needed. Here, too, the annual income limit of € 100,000 gross applies in the future - per child. In the future, the income of the spouse will no longer be taken into account. In addition, the grand coalition wants to expand counseling services for people with disabilities nationwide and better promote grants for people with disabilities who are undergoing regular training.

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What is the current situation?

So far, the income limits were much lower: for single persons with an annual income of 21,600 euros net and for families at 38,800 euros net. These borders brought many children of those in need of care into financial distress. Old or sick people, who urgently needed a place to live in a nursing home, often stayed home because the families simply could not afford a care place. In addition, it has been a long process until the municipal social welfare offices granted support. Relatives had to detail their monthly expenses and income: rent, retirement, child maintenance, loans. This procedure should be simplified with the implementation of the Relatives Relief Act.

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Who benefits from the new law?

According to Federal Social Minister Heil, about 275,000 people affected by the law should be relieved. With around 3.41 million people in need of care in Germany, this would only be a small share of around eight percent. However, there are still few valid numbers on the number of adult children who pay for their dependent parents. The German Association of Cities estimates the number much higher: He believes that in nine out of ten cases relatives will no longer be involved in the care assistance. He also expects demand for homecare places to increase. As a result of the higher income limit, more family members would decide to place persons in need of care in a stationary position.

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How expensive is it and who pays?

The costs must be borne by the municipalities responsible for the social welfare. According to the draft bill, the costs amount to 300 million euros annually. The Federal Government, in turn, points out that the additional costs for the federal states and municipalities are also offset by "non-quantifiable income tax receipts" at the federal, state and local levels, because fewer members could claim tax benefits in their tax return.

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Who criticizes the project and why?

The German Association of Cities demands that the additional burden on the municipalities must be fully compensated. He fears billions in financial burdens. He receives support from the Greens: According to Stefan Schmidt, spokesman for municipal finances, the care costs, which would have to shoulder the municipalities, now add up to 4.1 billion euros annually. "With an increasing number of people in need of care, these costs will continue to rise in the future, and the relieving of the relatives, which is now planned by the Federal Government, must not lead to any further burden for the local authorities."

Gerd Landsberg, chief executive of the city and community federation, criticizes the plans quite fundamentally. He refers to the solidarity principle, which is anchored in the social assistance law. "It is basically reasonable that children and parents are mutually responsible for each other." This should not be shaken, "said Landsberg.

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ref: zeit