In the last two months, the German coalition government has put together two relief packages to ease the financial burden of the cost-of-living crisis on German households.
However, the Macroeconomic Policy Institute (IMK) recently found that pensioners are one of the groups that will benefit the least from these measures. There are now calls for the government to afford special relief to pensioners.
Around 1.2 million pensioners in Germany belong to the German Federation of Trade Unions.
The Federal Senior Citizens’ Representative of the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB), Klaus Beck, recently told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) that the planned energy price lump sum of €300 should not only be paid to those in employment but also to retirees and pensioners.
The fact that pensions are due to increase by more than five percent on July 1st does not count, he said. “Hubertus Heil (Federal Minister of Labour) is kicking the pensioners in Germany hard in the shins with this argument. The pension increase is fixed by law, it is based on the collective wage agreements of the past years.”
Last week, Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister of Economics, Bernd Buchholz, also called for the one-off lump sum to be given to non-taxpaying pensioners.
“Pensioners are also affected by rising costs, but a large proportion of them hardly benefit from the measures in the relief package,” he told the German Press Agency.
The chairwoman of the federal senior management of the Railway and Transport Union (EVG), Annegret Pawlitz, also called for swift action to ease the financial burden on pensioners.
“Many pensioners live in rural areas and are particularly affected by rising fuel and energy prices. The flat-rate relief must come urgently,” she told RND.
Esken: Relief package ‘will benefit pensioners’
The traffic-light coalition has rejected claims that pensioners have been forgotten in its two energy relief packages.
Writing on Twitter a few days after the latest package was announced, Saskia Esken, co-leader of the SPD, said the measures were designed to be “broad-based” and to “reach those who need support as quickly and precisely as possible”.
“Many measures benefit everyone, including pensioners and students/apprentices, and some also benefit businesses,” she wrote. “These include the EEG levy, which permanently reduces electricity prices, while less fuel tax and subsidies for public transport tickets reduce mobility costs for three months.”
According to Esken, pensioners on low incomes will benefit from a €200 heating allowance for people who receive housing benefit or basic income support (Grundsicherung).
They should also see more money in their pocket due to an increase in the annual tax-free allowance and various other tax breaks, she said.