What does the care reform mean for family caregivers?

The Bundestag passed the care reform on 26.05.2023.

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nursing Care Support andRelief Act(PUEG) has brought about improvements in benefits for people in need of nursing care and their relatives. The goals of the reform include more care benefits and more flexibility.

What are the most important changes in the care reform for family caregivers?

At the end of 2021, just under 5 million people in Germany were in need of care. More than 4 million of them were cared for at home, two-thirds by relatives, while outpatient care services came to the aid of one-third of those in need of care or took over care completely.

Care at home
The care allowance is to increase by 5 percent in 2024, as are contributions to benefits in kind. Depending on the level of care, the care allowance currently amounts to between 316 and 901 euros per month and can be used freely, for example for care costs. In 2025, there is to be a further increase of 4.5 percent, and in 2028 benefits are then to be adjusted to the inflation rate of the three previous years.

Furthermore, a relief budget is to be introduced in 2025 that combines services when the actual caregivers are prevented from attending or when inpatient care is necessary for a shorter period of time. This is intended to reduce bureaucracy.

In addition, family caregivers who are temporarily unable to work at their jobs are to be better supported. Currently, family caregivers can be absent from work for a maximum of 10 days in acute situations and receive up to 90 percent of net wages as a support allowance. In the future, each family caregiver will be entitled to the 10 days per year.

Nursing care in a home
Unlike health insurance, nursing care insurance only covers part of the costs of nursing care. In 2024, the relief surcharges will be increased to reduce the personal contribution for care: 15 percent (previously: 5) in the first year, 30 percent (previously: 25) in the second year, 50 percent (previously: 45) in the third year, and 75 percent (previously: 70) from the fourth year.

Long-term care contribution
As of July 1, 2023, the long-term care contribution will be increased, from 3.4 percent of gross wages to 4 percent for childless persons. For people with children, in the future it will depend on how many children you have and how old they are. For families with many children, the increase is staggered and is lower the more children you have.