Hartz IV: Too little money for electricity

Heidelberg. The Federal Government increases the standard rate for unemployment benefit II recipients by 1 January 2017 by 5 euros per month to 409 euros. For electricity, the legislature provides for a monthly amount of 34.50 euros. Too few, as calculations by the independent consumer portal Verivox show.


Picture: Plug in the wall socket 

Demand exceeds the rule rate by up to 24 percent

 Demand exceeds the rule rate by up to 24 percent

According to the Verivox Consumer Price Index, a single household with an annual consumption of 1,500 kilowatt hours (kWh) currently pays an average of € 472 per year for electricity. This corresponds to a monthly burden of 39.33 euros. As a result, demand already exceeds the future standard rate by 14 percent. In basic care, the electricity costs of a one-person household currently amount to 515 euros per year or 42.91 euros per month. That’s 24 percent more than the standard rate.

Discrepancy in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Thuringia largest

 Discrepancy in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Thuringia largest

The gap between demand and rule set varies greatly by region. For example, a one-person household in Brandenburg pays an average of 553 euros for primary care, which is just under 34 percent more than the standard rate. This is followed by Thuringia and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (each 31 percent). The lowest is the difference in Bremen (15 percent), Lower Saxony (21 percent) and Bavaria (23 percent).


Electric water heating increases costs in addition

If water has to be heated decentrally using a continuous flow heater, for example, power consumption and costs continue to rise. About 750 kWh additionally consumes a one-person household with electric water heating. Although single households can claim an additional requirement of 2.3 percent of the standard rate at the office, that is just under 10 euros. The actual additional costs amount to more than 20 euros. In these cases, state benefits together are more than one third (38 percent) too tight.

Access to cheap electricity difficult

 Access to cheap electricity difficult

Since the introduction of Hartz IV in 2005, the standard rate has been gradually increased by about 19 percent (from 345 euros to 409 euros). Electricity prices rose by an average of 46 percent in the same period, and by as much as 62 percent in basic services.

With a change of provider, Hartz IV recipients could lower their costs. But many electricity providers check the creditworthiness of customers before concluding the contract and reserve the right to reject the delivery. This would block the poorest consumers from a central path to falling electricity costs. They must remain in the universal service and pay the highest electricity prices there.

Hartz IV rate: Electricity costs compared to the federal states (Excel) PM_Hartz IV does not cover electricity costs.pdf (PDF)

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News Financial test checks daily and fixed deposits: Where do savers receive high interest rates?

News Financial test checks daily and fixed deposits: Where do savers receive high interest rates?

Thursday, 14.12.17 , written by Annabell Meyer The choice of investment is often anything but easy for many savers. Because the savings should usually be secure and still bring in return. Due to the low interest rates, however, this hardly seems possible. The Stiftung Warentest has put together a recent comparison, where there are as high as possible fixed or daily money interest rates. >

Finanztest findet im Vergleich Top-Angebote für Fest- und Tagesgeld

Even with the daily and fixed money for savers high interest rates are possible

  • Security and high interest rates are among the most important criteria when investing, which is why many savers rely on a fixed or overnight money.
  • In a recent comparison, the Stiftung Warentest checks which offers promise the highest return.
  • To find the investment that best suits your own wishes, a personal offer is recommended for those interested.

For savers, given the persistently low interest rates, it is difficult to earn a high return on their savings without taking a big risk at the same time. For example, the interest rates for some investments are below the one-percent mark . All the more tempting seemingly highly discounted offers, in which investors invest in corporate bonds, for example. However, security is often lacking, leaving savers in danger of losing all their money.

Stiftung Warentest therefore advises those interested to be cautious and recommends relying on secure investments such as daily or term money. These should be protected by a good deposit guarantee, so that savers retain the invested money if the bank goes bankrupt. For the current financial test (01/2018), the consumer advocates have compared in a comparison of various offers for daily and fixed money and show, among other things, where investors get the best terms.

Stiftung Warentest: Day and time money counts for security

Instead of a savings account, many people use the option of a daily or fixed-term account to get their money back. While customers usually do not receive any interest when they sign up at the local bank branch, higher returns are often possible if they opt for such an investment online.

In a new comparison, the Stiftung Warentest has taken 138 providers of daily and fixed money under the microscope. Above all, the security of the offers was important . This implies that the financial institution has its seat in the European Union and offers a deposit insurance, with which savers are compensated in the case of a bankruptcy of the bank after 21 days at the latest. The upper limit for the compensation should not be less than 100,000 euros.

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Much flexibility: Financial test finds daily money with the best interest rates

The comparison of the Stiftung Warentest shows that for savers both the daily and the time deposit some worthwhile offers . The advantage of a call money account is the high flexibility for investors. They can transfer their savings to their current account at any time and access it within a few days. The highest interest rates for the daily allowance get interested in these providers:

  • Oney Bank – Flexgeld24 (0.65 percent)
  • Hoist Finance – overnight money (0.6 percent)
  • PDS Niederbayern-Oberpfalz – My daily allowance online (0.6 percent)

Tip: For some providers, deposit insurance is limited to individual countries. When choosing a suitable call money account, it is therefore important to pay attention to the fine print and compare different offers. An individual comparison helps you to find a suitable offer.

Time deposit accounts in comparison: Almost two percent interest is possible

Unlike a call money account, a time deposit account is usually associated with a fixed term and a longer notice period. However, according to the test can often achieve a higher return. In comparison, Stiftung Warentest has checked various offers for fixed-term deposits for several terms .

While Yapi Kredi Bank (“Euro-Plus Time Deposit Account”) offers the highest interest rates at 1.15 percent for one-year fixed-income investments, CKV Bank (“time deposits”) is at three and five-year maturities (1.35 and 1.8) Percent).

With the latter, however, the offer can not be concluded directly with the bank, but via so-called interest portals. The same applies to the overnight money offers at Oney Bank and Hoist Finance. The portals serve as brokers, which show savers various offers from mostly foreign banks and make a conclusion possible. However, the service providers are partially critical of this service, as some products do not offer the security they want in the test.

Select investment according to individual requirements

Consumers, who hope for their savings more return and are a bit risk-taking, advises the Stiftung Warentest to a combined investment . For example, savers can close a daily or fixed-term deposit with exchange-traded index funds (ETFs). “The mix of safe-haven and equities ETF is currently the only recommended way to preserve the chance of an attractive return,” states the consumer organization.

When choosing an investment, however, not only the potential return should play a role. Rather, the individual circumstances and wishes must be taken into account. Therefore, it is important for those interested to get personally advised on the different investment forms.

  • Here are tips and more information about the investment. >
  • Annabell Meyer
  • editorial staff

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Steinbrück wants to prohibit usury at dispo interest rates by law

Berlin – SPD candidate for chancellor Peer Steinbrück wants to prohibit excessive dispo interest rates in a red-green election victory by law. “Although the banks at the European Central Bank can currently lend as cheaply as ever for just 0.75 percent, they charge up to 15 percent interest on a simple overdraft.” This is usury, “said Steinbrück told the” Bild “newspaper ,


Image: Euro coins as gears 

The SPD wants to allow only dispo interest rates of a maximum of eight percent. A Federal Council initiative initiated by the Green-Red government in Baden-Württemberg failed in the autumn on the EU-led countries – even the SPD parliamentary group could not enforce such a proposal so far.

“The interest rates for overdrafts in Germany are on average almost 12 percent among the highest in Europe,” the SPD emphasizes in a proposal to limit usurious interest rates. Only in the crisis countries of Greece, Ireland and Portugal are currently even more expensive. According to surveys, almost one third of Germans use the overdraft facility. Many medium-sized companies rely on the use of credit facilities, because more and more often customers did not pay their bills on time.

Maximum 8 percent surcharge on the base rate

“That’s why we are calling for a legal regulation, according to which there may be a maximum of 8 percentage points on the base rate of the Bundesbank, to which the credit institutions can refinance,” says the paper, which is the German Press Agency. The banks in Germany still have not learned. Millions of Germans would still have to pay horrendous interest on their overdrafts.

Federal Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner (CSU) had repeatedly argued against a legal cap. This even carries the risk that it will be more expensive for all customers – for example, if so far cheaper banks exhausted the limit. On the other hand, the consumer centers also demand a fixed upper limit.

Baden-Wuerttemberg Minister of Economic Affairs Nils Schmid (SPD) emphasized: “All previous voluntary measures have not been successful, so the legislator must take action and set a cap”.

The left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht supported the proposal for a legal regulation. “With the push to combat usurious interest Peer Steinbrück makes it clear that a common policy of the SPD and the Left for the benefit of the people in this country is possible.” The left calls for the limitation of discretionary interest to only five instead of eight percentage points above the base rate.

The German banking industry rejected Steinbrück’s proposal against it. “The intense competition among banks and savings banks leads in Germany to market-oriented interest rates,” it said. Thus, the discretionary interest has fallen since mid-2008 by almost 20 percent.


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Tax Tip: Bausparer, watch out!

In the taxation of the savings interest rates savers need to consider a lot.

Since 2009, even those building loan interest rates of the withholding tax, which are financed by Auffüllkredit or loans subject. By an exemption order of savers can save taxes.

B is for 2008, credit interest on savings contracts to purchase an owner-occupied property was not taxable if they were pre-financed by Auffüllkredit or loans. Since 2009, however, such a building loan interest rates on the withholding tax subject. The amount can be taken from the relevant certificates of the building society. To avoid the collection of tax, the savings customers of the building society should provide an exemption order or non-assessment certificate insufficient height. of home savings fails to do so, he can pick up the flat tax back on the scope of the assessment, if necessary by completing the KAP.

Under certain conditions, the savings customers can also reimburse the withholding tax in later years or get credit on their tax: a prerequisite for the withholding tax decree of 22 December 2009, para. 126 that either the savings account was operated with an Auffüllkredit or financed by loans or that the financing business was completed by 30 June 2010 (grandfathering) or that the building society credit is used to purchase an owner-occupied property.

The tax tip: donations for refugees

The home savings should refund or credit of the retained withholding tax and solidarity surcharge under Section 32 para. 4 apply for Income Tax Act. The way to do this, the KAP (as of 2014) as follows: In line 5, the number 1 is entered in the field. 2 This means that the form is used to apply for a review of the Steuereinbehalts for certain capital gains. Then, the registered as certified by the building society capital gains in line 7 in block 10 (middle column). In line 7, box 20 (right column), the appropriate amount of taxable investment income, namely zero entered. The certified capital gains are entered on line 47 and the following lines. The corresponding tax certificates of the building society must be settled.

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