Child allowance extension rarely taken up admits minister

Experts have criticised the offer of extending the Kinderbetreuungsgeld  – the payment made to new parents – for two months in cases of hardship because the process is too complicated.

The reasons for the extension of the child allowance can be violence in a relationship, prison or an extended period of sickness or even the death of one of the parents. During these difficult times there is often a financial burden in particular on single parents which means that the child allowance can be extended. The person making the application also needs to have an income not about 1,200 euros a month.

But the opportunity is rarely taken up, according to family Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner in an answer to a Parliamentary question by the Green party.

In the last two years in fact the have only been 19 single parents that have successfully applied for the extension – he said.

One current case is in Vorarlberg where a single mother has not been receiving any money from the child’s father – and it is in financial difficulties. But this is one of the rare exceptions as the rules are generally too complicated.

Andreas Prenn,  from the Vorarlberg family Association, said that it was true the system is complicated also many people did not realise that the allowance could be extended. He said that on the one hand the rules were made to tough to make sure only genuine cases were admitted but on the other hand it was the genuine cases that really did not have the time or the resources to jump over all the hurdles and meet the requirements.