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COST OF LIVING

Klimabonus: Payments complete for the Austria-wide scheme

After seven weeks of payments, the first round of Austria's Klimabonus (a climate and anti-inflation payment) scheme is now complete with €4 billion paid out to residents. Here's what you need to know if you haven't received yours yet.

Klimabonus: Payments complete for the Austria-wide scheme
Payments for the Climate Bonus are now complete, but round two will start in February 2023. (The Local)

It has been confirmed that 8.6 million people in Austria have received their Climate Bonus (Klimabonus) payment, at a cost of €4 billion to the Austrian Federal Government.

Payments began at the start of September and were either sent by bank transfer (7.4 million payments) or in the form of redeemable vouchers (1.2 million payments), reports ORF.

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

The scheme was originally introduced to offset some of the carbon tax, but the amount was increased to help compensate for the surge in inflation driven by a spike in energy costs following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Adults that have lived in Austria for at least six months received €500 and under-18s received €250. Controversially, high earners and even deceased people were also sent the bonus.

Climate Bonus Project Manager Wolfgang Otter said this was the first time in the history of the Republic of Austria that payments had been made to every eligible resident.

Anyone who is eligible but has not yet received the bonus is urged to contact the Ministry of Climate Action. It is also possible to 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.

The Kurier reports that over 300,000 calls have been made to the hotline so far.

READ ALSO: Energy, transport, food: Austria’s inflation hits double digits

Second round of payments in February 2023

From January 1st 2023, a new list of recipients will be created to include all those who missed out on the first round of payments. For example, those who recently moved to Austria and didn’t fulfil the requirement of 183 days of residency in 2022.

The list will also include children who were recently born and people whose legal status in Austria is still being clarified.

Homeless people that are registered in Austria are also eligible for the Klimabonus.

More information about the scheme can be found at klimabonus.gv.at.

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COST OF LIVING

Cost of living: Why glühwein costs more at Vienna Christmas markets this year

Visiting a Christmas market in Vienna is a must-do seasonal activity. But this year – like everything else – it will cost more money. Here’s why.

Cost of living: Why glühwein costs more at Vienna Christmas markets this year

When buying a glühwein (mulled wine) at a Christmas market in Austria for the first time, you might be surprised at the price.

The good news is that the first cup of glühwein is not really twice the price – you have to pay the deposit (Pfand) for the mug, as well as pay for the drink. But the bad news is that this year the prices have gone up, especially the cost of the Pfand.

Viennese Christmas Markets operators are justifying the high deposit prices for the Christmas mugs with inflation costs, broadcaster ORF reported. 

FOR MEMBERS: How to save money and still go skiing in Austria

In some markets, the deposit can cost up to €5 (Stephansplatz market prices). A glühwein, for example, might be advertised as costing €4,90, but once you get to the stand, you will be asked to pay €9,90. 

“Inflation and the cost of producing the cups and also the logistics of the whole cleaning service have gone up a lot now, and that’s why the four euros,” explained Hannes Dejaco, who runs several large Christmas markets in Vienna.

How can I get the Pfand back?

The deposit for a glühwein mug is only temporary, so when you return the cup you get your €5 back. 

Most Christmas markets have a set area to return the mugs (called Pfand Rückgabe) and get your money back. But if not, simply return the mug to any stand that sells beverages.

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: A guide to the main Christmas Markets in Austria

Of course, if you want to keep the mug as a souvenir, then it will cost the €5 that you paid for the deposit.

Finally, a top tip for anyone attending the markets for the first time: take cash.

Many Austrian businesses still like to operate in cold, hard cash and there’s no guarantee that the market you visit will accept card payments. So visit the ATM before heading for a glühwein.

Useful vocabulary

Mulled wine – Glühwein

Deposit – Pfand

Deposit return – Pfand Rückgabe

Cash – Bargeld / Bar

Christmas market – Weihnachtsmarkt / Christkindlmarkt

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