EXPLAINED: What is the 'Vollmacht Klimabonus 2022' letter everyone in Austria is receiving?
As a part of the €500 climate bonus and anti-inflation payment, every person in Austria is receiving a letter to fill in certain information. What is that letter and what should you write?
Everyone who lives in Austria is expecting to receive a €500 payment meant to compensate for rising inflation in the country from September, as The Local reported.
The one-off payment is actually two bonuses together. One, totalling €250, is the “climate bonus”(Klimabonus). The other, also €250, is the “anti-inflation bonus” (Anti-Teuerungsbonus). You can read more about it here.
Not everyone is entitled to it, though millions of people in Austria are. Everyone who has had their primary residence in the country for at least 183 days in the respective year is entitled to receive the payment. It doesn’t matter how old you are (though underage people receive less money), whether or not you are employed or your citizenship.
Children and teens up to 18 years old qualify for a €250 payment under the same conditions (having lived in Austria for at least 183 days in the year).
The payment will be made automatically, so what is this letter and what are you supposed to do with it?
Austria is sending out the "Vollmacht Klimabonus 2022" to every household looking to simplify the process for those who will not receive the payment automatically on their bank account. This is the case for everyone with no up-to-date bank information with the Austrian financial authority, the Finanzamt.
You can check on FinanzOnline whether your account details are up to date and change them for next year if not – since the climate bonus, unlike the anti-inflation bonus, will be paid out yearly.
If you don’t have an account registered with the financial authorities, you get a voucher via secure mail, the so-called “RSa-Brief”, which can only be delivered to you in person. If you are not home when the letter arrives, you need to collect it at the post office with a photo ID.
This is where the Vollmacht letter comes in handy.
If you are expecting a voucher but are usually not at home, the letter can save you the trip to the post office. It is a "proxy" or "power of attorney" letter. You can grant a proxy or power of attorney so that any person of legal age in your household can receive the Klimabonus voucher on your behalf.
If you want to grand someone the power to accept the voucher letter on your behalf, you need to fill in the Klimabonus Proxy form which is on the back of the letter you received (and a copy of it can be found here). Don't forget to include the ID details and your signature. Keep the form in a safe place and easy to access - it doesn't need to be mailed anywhere.
Once the delivery person arrives with your payment voucher, the person who will be your proxy needs to show the signed form and their ID to receive the voucher letter on your behalf. If nobody is at home when the delivery comes, then you (and only you) will need to pick it up at the post office by showing your ID.
In any case, if you are entitled to the voucher, you'd be able to receive it regardless of what you do with the letter.
Let's say your son is a 20-year-old who does not receive any government benefits, has not filed income tax and has no up-to-date bank information with the Finanzamt. He will then receive a voucher for his €500 bonus payment.
However, he is out on vacation, but you will likely be at home when the voucher arrives (letters will be sent out starting September but could take longer to come). If he doesn't give you power of attorney, he will have to pick up the coupon at the post office.
You can save him that trip by putting yourself has the "Übernahmeberechtige*r". Up to three people living at the same address can give you power of attorney. They are the "Vollmachtgeber*in".
Once the delivery person arrives with the letter, you show them your ID and the Vollmacht filled in (the back side of the letter as shown in the picture above) and are able to receive and sign for the bonus voucher letter for your son.
The power of attorney will last only for the delivery of the letter - so if you are not home for the delivery, your son will have to pick the voucher up at the post office.
What do I do with the voucher?
Once you (or your proxy) receive the voucher via the secure letter, it can be redeemed anywhere from the supermarket to the bookshop to thousands of stores or exchanged for cash at bank99 branches. You can check out all the places here.