How fair are the contributions to long-term care insurance distributed ?: Little success for large families in Karlsruhe – policy

Justice is difficult enough, in the complicated system of German social security everything becomes even more difficult. Somewhere someone always gets more and someone else has less. Or one pays more and another gets away cheaper.

The Federal Constitutional Court has now warned that a relatively small part of the population is unnecessarily disadvantaged: the so-called large families. Their descendants are not yet covered by the long-term care insurance contribution system. Instead, there is a supplement for those who are always somewhat derogatory referred to as childless in ordinary use.

Given the current contribution rates of 3.05 percent of gross income for parents versus 3.4 percent for people without children in the wallet, it may hardly be noticeable anyway; no matter how it is calculated in the future. But it is about children and thus about the factor on which social security depends in any variant. And it’s about equal treatment principles, which require that inequalities be treated unequally. The legislature now has until August next year to make a new regulation. How she looks is up to politics. You can adjust the rates or make the necessary differentiation from the tax revenue.

Anyone who raises children makes a “generative contribution”

The Karlsruhe decision testifies to a failure. For even the current supplement is only required because the Constitutional Court in its 2001 care judgment called for greater consideration. It was said that anyone who raises children as a member of the long-term care insurance not only pays their contribution but also makes a human, “generative contribution” to be taken into account.

Whether this should be judged according to the number of children was then discussed intensively after the verdict, but without result. The addendum seemed simple and reasonable as a solution to the problem. Even in the trial now concluded, the federal government argued that the “generative contribution” in long-term care insurance should not be set too high in relation to the monetary contribution; it did not become until decades later, and it was by no means certain whether children would later become contributors.

Couples with many children need more of it all

This is how it can be calculated, but it is not reasonable, especially since about 70 percent of the entire population pays into the long-term care fund. With three or more children, there is an “above-average risk of poverty” for the family, according to the resolution. For it is a success that more and more mothers can participate in working life. But with three kids, things change quickly. In most cases, an income must then be sufficient. Couples with many children need more of everything: more housing, more food, more electricity, more heat and more beds on holiday – but they can spend less on it.

This shows a sense of reality in Karlsruhe that pleasantly contradicts political and media laundering of family relationships. Uniting children and working in such a way that everyone can participate appropriately in everything is a real challenge, even with two children; from three it is an illusion, at least for the time being, and for those not born to wealth. That half of all families in Germany are single-child families may also have a reason for this.

A modest success for the plaintiffs

On the other hand, it is an individual life decision for the couple whose financial burden cannot be shared indefinitely. The Federal Constitutional Court probably sees it this way, which is why it rejected greater consideration of the number of children in the contributions to pensions and health insurance. In both branches of insurance, there are elements of family support that make the respective system appear fair from a gender perspective; in the case of pensions, for example the crediting of childcare periods, in the case of health insurance companies, the compulsory family insurance.

The applicants, who had many children, were therefore only able to achieve modest success in Karlsruhe. They had promised each other more. The real value of their process may therefore lie in having drawn attention to themselves and their situation. Politicians are free to provide more support to large families according to their actual burdens. It can provide more than it costs.

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