Berliners can now apply for housing benefit online
Berlin Wohngeld applications now available online
The city of Berlin has announced that residents will now be able to apply for housing benefits via an online application. In a statement released by the dpa, the city’s Senate for Urban Development and Housing said that the new system would allow for a “quick and uncomplicated application process”. Speaking on behalf of the body, Senator Andreas Geisel said that the reform would be implemented as quickly as possible and that it was important that “low-income households are relieved by high and rising rental costs”.
Anyone can apply for housing benefits in Germany, regardless of if they receive other social benefits or not. The benefits offered are means-tested and payments are calculated based on maximum income thresholds, which depend on the number of people in your household and your rent band (Mietstufe).
German housing benefit reforms causing flood in applications
Wohngeld was one of the social security benefits included in the German government’s social reforms which kicked in on January 1, 2023. On average, Wohngeld monthly payments have increased by 180 euros, meaning households in Germany granted Wohngeld receive an average of 370 euros per month to help cover the cost of rent, mortgages and utilities.
Income thresholds for the means-tested scheme have also been expanded; currently, 618.165 households in Germany receive Wohngeld payments every month, with this number expected to increase to 2 million this year.
Back in November, employees of Germany’s local authorities said they were already working overtime. They will now be tasked with millions of further applications to process, meaning new beneficiaries are likely to have their payments delayed. Speaking to Bild newspaper, an employee at the housing office in the Pankow district of Berlin said she expected the workload to triple in 2023. Hopefully, Berlin’s new online application method will be able to reduce the time required to process new applications.
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