Until the end of 2016, every public authority at federal, state and local level – and institutions and foundations under public law – were responsible for paying out child benefits to their employees. However, the federal government passed a “Law to End the Special Competence of Family Offices in the Public Service” on 1 January 2017, introducing large-scale structural reforms in Germany to reduce the high administrative workload.
One million child benefit claims: Over 13,800 public authorities have handed over their responsibility to FamKa BA
Not all employers in the public sector are obliged to hand over their child benefit claims to FamKa BA. That is why FamKa BA set up a project to contact all public service authorities after the law came into force. FamKa BA has since approached 17,000 public authorities to inform them of its attractive offers and services.
In the first years of the administrative reform, it was mainly small institutions in the public service that took the opportunity to hand over responsibility for the processing of their child benefit claims. However, child benefit claims for over 200,000 children have since been handed over by large family offices at state level.
Over 13,800 public authorities have already taken this route. The first milestone was reached on 1 July 2020, as FamKa BA had assumed responsibility for over one million child benefit claims from the public service.
The reform is advantageous for emppublic sector and their employees who are entitled to child benefits
“The most effective changes aren’t even noticed by recipients of child benefits when the money is paid out”, says the Head of FamKa BA, Karsten Bunk. “Whenever the responsibility for child benefits has been handed over, we’ve managed to prevent any disruptions to ongoing child benefit payments and avoid burdening the families with additional paperwork. All families can now benefit from our services. And the public authorities are also very happy with the process”, says Bunk.
Following the reform, those entitled to child benefits can now access the wide range of services offered by FamKa BA, including all the online services available at www.familienkasse.de, where customers can submit applications, notify FamKa BA of any changes to their circumstances and upload certificates and documents.
Low-income and single parents can also claim child allowance (KiZ); in addition to child benefits, KiZ is also paid out by FamKa BA. And applications for child allowance can also be made online at www.kinderzuschlag.de. Parents can also carry out a simple check in just a few steps to see whether they might be eligible for child allowance using the KiZ guide.
Last but not least, employers in the public sector are benefitting from the change of responsibilities, as no more costs are incurred by their family offices once the processing of child benefit claims is handed over to FamKa BA.
When will the reform of the family offices be complete?
Public-sector family offices at federal level must hand over the processing of their child benefit claims in a binding manner by the end of 2021. Even the Federal Office of Administration, the largest federal family office, has now indicated that it is prepared to hand over its competences, which could save further enormous structural costs in the federal budget. However, this still needs to be approved by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer. This would make the entire federal system a model for a comprehensive structural reform.
Public-sector employers at the state and local level will also be able to continue handing over their child benefit claims after 2021. The BA has already laid the foundations for this by developing modern technical solutions and IT interfaces. FamKa BA is supporting public institutions and their HR departments to ensure the smooth and uncomplicated handover of their child benefit claims.
More information on the family office reform can be found at www.arbeitsagentur.de/institutionen/familienkassenreform.