Kindergrundsicherung bekommt wieder Gegenwind

DTurbulence on the way to child basic security seems to be never-ending. The head of the family policy reform project, Karsten Bunk, who is also the director of the Family Fund of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), has been relieved of his current duties, it was reported over the weekend. The BA indirectly confirmed Bunk’s removal by stating that substitute rules were in place and they continue to work on child basic security.

Weitere Details wollte eine Behördensprecherin nicht nennen. Aus Gründen des Personaldatenschutzes könne man sich nicht zu personellen Angelegenheiten von Mitarbeitern äußern. Nach den Gesetzesplänen von Bundesfamilienministerin Lisa Paus (Grüne) soll die Familienkasse unter dem neuen Namen Familienservice ausführende Behörde sein, um bedürftige Familien durch Bündelung und Verbesserung von Transferleistungen besser zu unterstützen.

Karsten Bunk verlor seine Stelle - womöglich wegen der Kritik am Vorhaben.

Karsten Bunk lost his position – possibly due to criticism of the project. : Bild: Picture Alliance

Bunk had given interviews in August regarding the implementation of child basic security, while political negotiations were in full swing. He provided details and gave positive assessments, which partly deviated significantly from the overall critical statement sent by the BA to the Ministry of Family Affairs last week during the consultation with associations. It remained unclear whether he was dismissed because of this or for other reasons.

The basic requirements are not met according to the authority.

According to the statement provided by the BA to F.A.Z., the necessary legal and technical requirements for the timely implementation of child basic security have not yet been met. The planned start on January 1, 2025 will not be possible at the current stage, mainly due to the required IT adjustments, confirmed a spokesperson for the authorities over the weekend. A minimum lead time of 12 months is needed for this complex legislative project.

„I cannot reword“

According to the authorities‘ statement, the child basic security can come into effect in a first stage no earlier than July 1, 2025. This means that the income-independent child guarantee amount (today’s child benefit) and the needs-based additional amount would be paid out half a year later than planned. Further adjustments may be possible no earlier than July 1, 2026.

Die Behörde mit Andrea Nahles an der Spitze sieht noch Defizite in der Kindergrundsicherung.

Die Behörde mit Andrea Nahles an der Spitze sieht noch Defizite in der Kindergrundsicherung. : Bild: Tobias Schmitt

The presumed delay may seem moderate considering the complexity of the project and compared to delays in other government mega-projects. However, the statement from the BA sheds light on the technical issues apparent in the Ministry of Family Affairs‘ drafting of the preliminary draft. Crucial implementation problems do not seem to be solved even remotely. The statement states that the draft still leaves many organizational and substantive questions unanswered.

Mangelnde Abstimmung mit anderen Regelungen

The current design leads to „new bureaucratic processes that cause enormous additional efforts“, especially for the job centers, which remain the contact point for parents in the citizen’s income. The insufficient coordination with other regulations, especially regarding the citizen’s income, will also lead to unequal treatment of certain beneficiaries and „to a strong injustice in the systems“, criticizes the BA.

The time and costs for implementing the reform have only been partially determined so far. The Ministry of Family Affairs responded evasively over the weekend to the question of what would follow from the criticism of the implementing agency and how the timeline would now be adjusted.

A spokesperson for the Ministry stated that Minister Paus has repeatedly emphasized the challenging nature of implementing the requirements and the need for prompt decisions on the fundamental aspects of child basic security.