The so-called climate bonus, which is intended to cushion the impact of the new CO2 tax on the population, will be paid out from October. You will receive between 100 and 200 euros per person; children will get half. Applying for this is unnecessary; the money will be transferred directly to the account. If no account data are present, one receives a coupon, which one can redeem in stores or with the bank in cash, as announced by the climatic protection ministry on Thursday.
Like the new CO2 pricing, the climate bonus is part of the eco-social tax reform presented by the government coalition last fall. However, the implementation of the payment to the entire population with primary residence in Austria turned out to be not so easy – it has now taken several months to work out a solution.
“It is important to me that the payment works well. That is why we have invested a lot of time in preparation and made a realistic plan,” Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said in a written statement. “We all get credit with the climate bonus. And the better we protect our climate, the more of it we have left in the end.” Regarding the high inflation, Gewessler stressed that the real bonus would be paid out in the first year, although the CO2 pricing will not start until July.
In principle, everyone who has their primary residence in Austria for at least 183 days in the claim year will receive the climate bonus. This is determined from the registration register of the Ministry of the Interior.
How much you get depends on where you live. The Austrian municipalities were divided into four groups by Statistics Austria based on two criteria – connection to public transport and degree of urbanization (how far away is the nearest pharmacy, for example). Depending on the level, there are 100, 133, 167 or 200 euros, always half for children under 18. The lowest climate bonus of 100 euros per year will go exclusively to the Viennese. For example, if you live in Graz, you will receive 133 euros. The third level (167 euros) will go to many surrounding communities. A good third of the population, mainly in rural areas, is entitled to the highest level (200 euros).
To get to your money, you won’t have to apply. If one has entered a current account number in FinanzOnline or receives benefits through the pension insurance institution, the funds will be automatically transferred to the account. The Ministry of Climate Protection gets the necessary data from the Finance and the Pension Insurance Fund. The climate bonus is transferred to the account to which the family allowance is also paid for children.
If no current account data is available, for example, because someone does not have an account, the climate bonus comes as a voucher. This is sent by RSA letter and can be redeemed at various stores or exchanged for cash at a bank partner. Due to the limited capacity of the postal service to send RSA letters, the voucher variant will take a few weeks, it said.
There should be details on the process in an information letter to all households and on a website in June. Referrals and letter mailings will start in early October. There will also be a dedicated call center for questions from the fall and an arbitration board for complaints.
From July 3, it will be possible for the first time to determine who is entitled to the climate bonus, i.e., who has had a primary residence in Austria for 183 days this year. These people will then be assigned to the relevant regional classification. Whether they are automatically entitled to 200 euros based on a mobility restriction (entry in the disabled person’s passport) will also be checked. This data is then linked to the available account data and reviewed to avoid payment errors. For those who have moved, just moved in, or were born in the first half of the year, it will take longer; for these cases, a data comparison will be carried out again from January 1, and the money will then be paid out.
The ministry assures that all data is handled “very carefully” and that “only the necessary information” is used. According to the Ministry of Climate Protection, the final coordination of the ordinance for the climate bonus is currently underway. In parallel, the contracts with all partners are being finalized.
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