Now it’s the students turn
ZFirst it was the workers’ turn: they already collected 300 euros in government “energy price flat rate” in September. In December, after great outrage from the affected associations, pensioners were also given 300 euros. And now it is the turn of young people as the last group for the time being: From this Wednesday, a total of 3.4 million students and vocational school students can apply for money via a state online portal – in their case only 200 euros per person. However, one thing should be particularly pleasing to those who finance their studies with part-time jobs: Those who have received the 300 euro employee bonus can also claim the bonus for students collect.
All students who were enrolled at a university in Germany on December 1, 2022 and are resident in Germany are eligible; the same applies to vocational students. This also applies to students who are only here in Germany for a few semesters, because they too have to pay higher energy costs. The special benefit to cushion the upheavals caused by the Ukraine war is regulated in the “Student Energy Price Flat Rate Law”, which costs the federal government almost 700 million euros.
The law is special not only because it has so far been unusual to distribute lump-sum income subsidies to certain population groups from the state treasury – and this without a means test, but with a demanding application process. With this law, however, it also connects pioneering work: The payment procedure for students is intended to help advance the digitization of public administration. You can already apply for citizenship or parental allowance using this procedure. So far, however, very few are doing it; the one-off payment for students is the first comprehensive use of the digital process.
The safest procedure in the world
The basis for the payment is a digital BundID account. This has been around since 2019, but so far it has led a shadowy existence. Germany’s “Chief Information Officer” Markus Richter praises the BundID as the “most secure procedure in the world”. Anyone wishing to apply for the one-time payment must set up such an account. This is possible on the Internet at the address id.bund.de. This requires an identity card with a digital function, which every citizen in Germany now has – even if they don’t know it. A corresponding PIN has already been handed out to everyone.
If the PIN has been lost, you can now easily order a new one during the registration process. This will then be sent by post – for security reasons. Foreign students can also use their electronic residence permit, their EU identity or their Union citizen card to register with the BundID account. In addition, the Elster digital tax return certificate is a way of digitally identifying yourself to the state. These can be scanned using an identification app on the smartphone, e.g. AusweisApp2.
Many are not registered
Interest in a BundID account has increased noticeably in recent weeks, with over 700,000 users now registered. Compared to the 3.4 million beneficiaries of the one-off student payment, however, this is only a fraction so far. There is no way around the BundID account.
As of Wednesday, students can begin to submit their digital applications – but only if the university or training center has previously reported with their individual access data. But this should happen automatically, without you having to worry about it. With this information, the actual application can then be submitted on the website www.einmalzahlen200.de. To do this, you have to enter the access code, prove your identity using the BundID and fill out the online form. So that the money can be transferred quickly, you should also have the IBAN number of your bank account ready.
The process is so complicated because, in the case of students, many different bodies are involved, including the federal, state and university governments. In addition, until now there has been no established digital way to initiate payments from the state directly to individual citizens. There were easier ways for the state to make payments to employees and pensioners: In September, when it came to 300 euros for employees, the administrative competence of the employer was simply used: They paid the money to the employees and were able to do it in return offset against their income tax payments to the tax authorities. The pension insurance then paid out the premium for pensioners – in principle, they simply transferred 300 euros to each of their pension recipients and got the money back from the state.
There was no comparable administrative organization available for students and pupils that could handle the payout at the touch of a button. So it had to be an application process. Once the new procedure has proven itself, citizens will also use it for other services, it is hoped. So far, however, there are no new lump sum payments from the state treasury in sight.