North Rhine-Westphalia: Housing benefit reform: start in NRW with advance payments

With the start of the housing benefit reform at the beginning of 2023, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to make advance payments possible.

North Rhine-Westphalia: Housing benefit reform: start in NRW with advance payments

With the start of the housing benefit reform at the beginning of 2023, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to make advance payments possible. The program for calculating the actual entitlement to housing benefit will probably not be available until the end of March.

Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) - In order to cope with the expected rush of housing benefit applications, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to make advance payments possible. With the housing benefit reform coming into force at the beginning of the year, the number of households entitled to housing benefit in North Rhine-Westphalia is expected to triple to 480,000, said NRW Building Minister Ina Scharrenbach (CDU) in Düsseldorf on Wednesday.

Therefore, an enormous increase in housing benefit applications and longer waiting times can be expected. The housing benefit offices of the municipalities would be enormously burdened for the foreseeable future. The state government has therefore provided the municipalities with a computer program for advance payments.

For the advance, which is subject to reservation, the rental agreement and a monthly payslip must be submitted in addition to the application for housing benefit, as well as the number of household members. Further evidence could be submitted later. The advance will later be offset against the actual housing benefit entitlement, once the information has been checked again.

The previous recipients of housing benefit will continue to receive the housing benefit at the previous level. A recalculation takes place as soon as the housing benefit program is completed. It is expected to be available by the end of March 2023.

You can already use the housing benefit calculator to check whether you are entitled to housing benefit. According to Scharrenbach, the duration of the approval of the applications depends on the municipalities. "We have municipalities, there are exactly two housing benefit households, but we also have municipalities, it's significantly different there," she said.

From April, the notifications will then be checked retrospectively. This places a greater burden on the municipalities. "Because of the low staffing levels and the shortage of skilled workers, significantly longer waiting times cannot be avoided," said Eckhard Ruthemeyer, President of the Association of Towns and Municipalities and Mayor of the City of Soest.

In order to cope with the rush, staff are now being increased and trained. Minister Schaarenbach reiterated her criticism of the federal government: No consideration was given to the implementation of the reform in the municipalities.

The Federal Council approved a housing benefit reform at the end of November. According to this, next year, in addition to the 600,000 households nationwide, up to 1.4 million more could be entitled to a state subsidy for rent. The housing allowance is also to be increased.

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