Like almost every month, July 2023 also brings some important changes for people living in Germany. This is because new laws and regulations will come into force which may have an impact on your everyday life.
Here are the major changes that will enter into effect in the new month:
Abolition of the Maestro function on giro cards
From 1 July 2023, the Maestro function will no longer be available on new Girocards (formerly EC card). The payment function will be abolished. However, payment with Maestro will continue to be possible until the end of the card’s validity. These cards could be used to withdraw money from ATMs in Germany and abroad and to pay directly in stores. As a replacement, banks offer so-called debit cards.
Mastercard, the company behind the Maestro system, has decided to phase out Maestro. The US payment service provider ostensibly wants to standardise its international business. In addition, the function is not sufficiently suitable for online trading and is therefore outdated, according to the company.
Long-term care insurance becomes more expensive
If you take a look at your pay slip for July 2023, you will probably find that a little less money will end up in your account. This is because the general contributions to long-term care insurance (Pflegeversicherung) will rise on average from 3.05 to 3.4 percent from 1 July.
The e-prescription is here
The so-called e-prescription is to be officially launched on 1 July 2023. Henceforth, patients will be able to access the electronic prescription via their insurance card.
According to the federal health minister, about 80 percent of pharmacies in the country should be connected to the system and have a reader by the end of July.
Changes to the Citizen’s Income (Bürgergeld)
From July 2023, the second part of the Citizen’s Income Reform (Bürgergeldreform) will come into force. For employed persons who receive a marginal income and supplement their salary with the Citizen’s Income Allowance, this will entail the following changes:
➤ i) Allowances will be increased
– Employed benefit recipients will be able to keep a larger part of their income. If you have an earned income of between 520 and 1,000 euros, you will be allowed to keep 30 per cent of your income. Previously, the tax-free amount was 20 per cent. According to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), this means that up to 48 euros more will remain in your wallet.
– Pupils, trainees and students may keep income up to the mini-job limit of 520 euros without it being counted against their parents’ income. The same applies to the pocket money they receive through the Federal Volunteer Service and the Voluntary Social Year.
– If you are doing voluntary work and receive a citizen’s allowance, then 3,000 euros per year of the allowance are free of charge.
➤ ii) More comprehensive support for further education and retraining
If you receive citizen’s income and start further training, you will receive an additional 150 euros per month. If you pass intermediate and final examinations, the citizens’ income reform provides for further training bonuses. In addition, vocational training that lasts longer than 8 weeks will be supported with a bonus of 75 euros.
➤ iii) Maternity benefit no longer counts as income
Maternity benefit is an income replacement benefit for women in employment. It applies during the statutory protection periods before and after childbirth. From July 2023, maternity benefit will no longer be counted as income.
➤ iv) Inheritances are assets
Inheritances are no longer considered income but assets in the context of the citizen’s income. This means that an inheritance will only lead to a claim for repayment if the inheritors have more money after the inheritance than the fixed tax-free amount for assets allows. For single persons, the tax-free amount for assets is 40,000 euros in the first year of receiving the citizen’s income benefit and 15,000 euros thereafter.
➤ V) Possibility of coaching or support
From July 2023, people receiving the citizen’s income allowance will be able to take advantage of holistic coaching or support. The new offer helps benefit claimants who have particular difficulties in taking up work. Coaching will also be made possible for young people such as trainees.
Pensions will rise
Around 21 million pensioners in Germany will have reason to rejoice in July 2023 because their pensions will rise. While pensioners in eastern Germany will receive a 5.86 per cent increase, pensioners in western Germany will receive 4.39 per cent more money. This was announced by the German Pension Insurance in an official announcement.
The adjustment means that pensions will finally be equalised between East and West from July 2023 – one year earlier than planned (Rentenangleichung zwischen Ost und West).
Nevertheless, critics say the increase has already been eaten up in advance by inflation.
Untouchable basic income of debtors increases
If you have debts and are threatened with garnishment, for example, you should first apply for a garnishment protection account (Pfändungsschutzkonto or P-Konto for short). Otherwise, your account could be blocked.
Up to a certain amount, the money in the P-Konto cannot be seized. On 1 July 2023, this basic monthly amount will increase to 1,402 euros. Previously, it was 1,330 euros.
Rewe abolishes printed brochures
After abolishing plastic bags in 2016, Rewe will also do away with printed paper brochures in future. Instead, the supermarket chain wants to market its weekly offers only as digital brochures from July 2023 – also via WhatsApp.
With this change, the company wants to make a contribution to environmental and climate protection and, above all, save costs. According to Rewe, the digital brochures have also recently met with great customer interest.