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UPDATED Reader question: Why haven’t I received my Klimabonus in Austria yet?

Austria started paying €500 to every resident in the country in early September. But some people entitled to it still haven't received the payment. Here's why and what you can do about it.

UPDATED Reader question: Why haven't I received my Klimabonus in Austria yet?
Payments for the Climate Bonus are now complete, but round two will start in February 2023. (The Local)

With rising inflation, the Austrian government announced several measures to try and cushion the effects of higher cost of living for those who live in the country. One of the most talked about measures is the so-called Klimabonus (officially, the full name would be something like “the climate and anti-inflation bonus”), the €500 one-off payment that every resident in the country is entitled to.

The Klimabonus is supposed to be straightforward: no need to apply for it, no long queues, no different criteria or different amounts depending on income. However, there are two rules: the recipient must live in Austria for six months in 2022, and minors receive half the amount.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I’ve received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

The “easy” payments would be sent directly to the recipient’s bank account registered with FinanzOnline – those who do not have their data up to date would instead get a secure letter with Klimabonus vouchers that can be exchanged for money or used in hundreds of stores and supermarkets.

It hasn’t been that simple, though, as payments started on September 1st and many people still haven’t received their money – despite the government saying the payments were complete by October 19th.

Here are some reasons why you might not have received your €500 payment yet.

READ ALSO: Why is Austria’s €500 climate bonus causing controversy?

You are not entitled to it

The first reason, of course, is if you are not entitled to the payment.

According to the federal government, “Everyone who has their main residence in Austria for at least 183 days in the year of entitlement receives the climate bonus – regardless of age or origin and citizenship.”

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Austria in October 2022

This means you must have your primary residence for around six months in 2022 to receive the climate bonus this year. So if you moved this year and haven’t been here for that long, then you are not entitled to it – yet.

If you moved but are unregistered with the authorities here (in other words, you haven’t got your Meldezettel), then you are also not entitled.

You recently moved to Austria

Those who moved to Austria this year will also only get their payment next year. This is because the government uses the data from July 3rd to assess who has been in Austria for 183 days.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I recently moved to Austria, will I receive the ‘climate bonus’?

This means that if you moved in 2022 and have not been in Austria for 183 days on July 3rd, you’ll end up in the second payout round to be processed at the end of the year and paid in February 2023.

The same is valid for babies born this year in Austria. As these people won’t show up as living in Austria for 183 days as of July 3rd, they should get their payment (the total amount, referring to 2022) only in early 2023.

(© The Local)

You are one of the last people to get it
(UPDATE: by October 19th, the federal government announced it had made all payments. If you are entitled to it already this year, you’re likely one of the unlucky ones (check below))

There is another reason why you might not have gotten your payment: you’re just last in line for this first payment. The transfers are made daily but capped to a – technical – limit and are made randomly.

According to the Linz IT company Programmierfabrik, which programmed the database behind the system, the payments are ongoing. Managing director Wilfried Seyruck said: “We have been making 300,000 transfers every day since September 5th.

“Therefore, it will take us 25 days until all 7.4 million claimants have received the transfer. We should be finished by the end of the first week of October.”

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What is the ‘Vollmacht Klimabonus 2022’ letter everyone in Austria is receiving?

So, if you are getting your payment through a wire transfer to your bank account, it might take a bit longer. However, it might take even longer if you don’t have your updated information with Austria’s FinanzOnline authorities.

As the government stated when they announced the bonus, those who don’t have their bank accounts up to date will receive a voucher instead. There are about 1.2 million people in Austria in that situation.

In these cases, it can take until the end of October to arrive by secure mail – and then people will have to trade the voucher for cash.

You got unlucky

We can’t rule out that there might have been an error in your case. The federal government said that, “in individual special cases, the payment transfer or delivery of the vouchers was not possible”.

“Our team is currently busy following up on these cases”, it added.

The government later in October also updated the information: “For some groups of EU citizens or third-country nationals, there are currently still some problems with the automated entitlement check by the Ministry of the Interior. Every effort is being taken to find a solution, please bear with us.”

READ ALSO: ‘I’m still waiting’: Foreigners in Austria still not been paid Klimabonus handout

They said: “You will receive your payment for 2022 in the second wave of payments starting February 2023.”

You can check your bank information on FinanzOnline to see if the data is up to date and correct. If you haven’t gotten your transfer or a voucher by the end of October, you can reach the Klimabonus service team on the phone.

The service is available in German, from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm on 0800 8000 80.

As of mid-October, The Local has called the service and we were informed that people should still wait until the end of the month for their payments. 

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For members

VIENNA

From rent to bills: How much money do I need to live in Vienna?

Vienna is known for having an affordable cost of living, but how much does it actually cost residents to live there? Here’s how much you need to earn to cover the basics in Vienna.

From rent to bills: How much money do I need to live in Vienna?

Vienna is famous for its high standard of living and has often been named as the world’s most liveable city. 

A big part of this can be put down to the city’s social housing policy – a move described by the Financial Times as “radical”.

Around 60 percent of Vienna’s residents live in subsidised housing and the City of Vienna is Europe’s biggest public owner of social housing. But unlike other cities around the world, social housing in Vienna is typically of high quality and also available for middle class families and professionals. 

FOR MEMBERS: Water, waste collection, parking: How Vienna will get more expensive in 2023

And due to the high level of social housing, rents in the private sector in Vienna have not risen to levels seen in places like London and New York where city centres are now only affordable for wealthy people.

But even though Vienna might be considered as a “cheap” place to live for some, there is still a minimum amount that residents need to earn in order to live in the city and sustain a reasonable lifestyle.

Rent: €13.80 to €17.90 per square metre

A recent report by Immowelt shows the average cost of an apartment in Vienna’s city centre, or 1st District, is €17.90 per sqm. This means the average monthly price to rent a 60 sqm apartment is €1,074.

However, the city centre is the most expensive part of Vienna, so there are more affordable places to live. 

Cheaper districts include Leopoldstadt (€14.70 per sqm), Mariahilf (€15.30) and Favoriten (€14.50). The cheapest district is Rudolphsheim Fünfhaus with an average rental cost of €13.80 per sqm.

But data from Statista shows rent prices in Vienna have already gone up. In January 2023, the average cost per square metre in the city centre was €21.88. The cheapest district was Hernals at €14.43.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

Utilities: €150 to €200 per month

The cost of energy has been rising across Austria for months due to high inflation, so it’s hard to predict how much the average cost of utilities in Vienna will be.

Also, around 440,000 homes in Vienna are warmed by district heating – a huge pipeline heating system that is 50 percent powered by waste heat from power plants, industrial waste and biomass. The rest is generated by natural gas.

But this doesn’t mean Vienna’s residents have been shielded from the effects of inflation. 

In September 2022, Wien Energie – the city’s main energy provider – announced the price of district heating will go up by an average of €45 per month. As a result, the estimated average monthly bill (based on a 70 sqm home) was reported to be around €145 per month.

For those not on district heating, a two-person household can expect to pay around €150 per month for gas and electricity.

Also, from January 1st 2023, the cost of water supply, wastewater and waste disposal has gone up in Vienna.

The fee increase means a monthly adjustment of approximately €2.90 for an average multi-person household. For an average single household, the monthly fee adjustment is approximately €1.30. 

Calculated over the year, this results in an additional burden of approximately €35 or €15.60 – per household and year.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will I get my 2023 Klimabonus payment in Austria?

Transport: €30 per month

Vienna’s transport system is extensive with buses, trains (including underground lines) and trams. It is also very affordable.

In fact, public transport in Vienna can cost as little as €1 per day for people that purchase an annual ticket from Wiener Linien, the city’s public transport operator.

A single ticket for Wiener Linien transport (bus, tram, metro and local trains) costs €2.40.

Groceries: €200

The cost of groceries in Austria varies depending on where you shop.

For people on a budget, shopping at discounters such as Hofer (Austria’s Aldi), as well as at international supermarkets, is a good idea. 

At these cheaper supermarkets, it shouldn’t be too hard to cover monthly food shopping for a single-person household for around €200 per month. Although prices have been going up in all supermarkets due to inflation.

Childcare: €72 per month

Childcare in Austria is heavily subsidised by the government and even more so in the capital. This includes nurseries (for children up to the age of three) and kindergartens (from age three to six).

In Vienna, parents only need to pay €72.33 a month to cover meal costs, with low income families being exempt from that fee. Vienna also subsidises private kindergartens, paying up to €635.44 a month directly to the institution. 

This is in stark contrast to some other European countries, like the UK.

According to charity Coram in their Childcare Survey 2022, the average cost of full-time nursery in the UK is £1,166 (around €1,304 a month), which is even higher in some parts of London. 

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: Is it cheaper to buy or to rent property in Austria?

Total monthly budget for essentials: €1,500 for city centre

If you’re planning to live in the city centre (and you don’t have kids), then you should budget around €1,500 a month to pay for essentials.

Of course, this becomes cheaper if you choose to live in another district, are frugal with food shopping and conscious of how much energy you use.

This cost can also go up if you have a family and need to rent a bigger apartment, so keep these points in mind when negotiating a salary.

Leisure and social time

Life is about more than simply paying for the essentials – especially in a city like Vienna.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for going out and enjoying yourself in the city.

Domestic beer: €4.20

Glass of wine: €3-€5

Cappuccino: €3.57

Cinema ticket: €11

Gym membership: €30 per month

Meal for two at a mid-range restaurant: €50-€90

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