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Germany

Electronic Procedures for Family Benefits (DE0009)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Germany National Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ)

Support Institution(s): State family ministries, municipalities, Init AG (private sector), project advisory board ElterngeldDigital/Digitalisierung familienbezogener Leistungen (working group), local authorities’ national associations, research partners

Policy Areas

E-Government, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Germany Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Description: Effectively ensuring modern and transparent access to information and application processes for parental allowance and other family benefits. In the future, parents can use an online platform to find information, in particular on the parental allowance, more easily and to be guided through the application process by an application wizard. We are also examining for which other family benefits an electronic application would be suitable. Aim: Giving citizens transparent and easily understandable access to information about family benefits. By using new technologies (online application wizard) as well as legally secure language that is easy to understand, we want to make applying for benefits easier and more transparent for citizens. The goal is to create a seamless electronic application process. Status quo: At the moment, electronic application for parental allowance is possible only in certain federal states. In the future, a standardized application wizard is intended to help parents in easily understood language complete the application and plan the parental allowance. The service will be gradually released in the pilot federal states in summer/autumn 2017. Project advisory board ElterngeldDigital/Digitalisierung familienbezogener Leistungen (digital parental allowance/electronic procedures for family benefits), a working group formerly called Elterngeldantrag Online/Digitalisierung familienbezogener Leistungen (online application for parental allowance/electronic procedures for family benefits) (established in September 2016). Ambition: Parents will have a transparent and understandable service for a key life event. New or ongoing: ongoing Implemented by: Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) Organizations involved in implementation: State family ministries, municipalities, Init AG (private sector), project advisory board ElterngeldDigital/Digitalisierung familienbezogener Leistungen (working group), local authorities’ national associations, research partners Organizational unit and contact: Division DG2, dg2@bmfsfj.bund.de, Friederike Schubart, Friederike.Schubart@bmfsfj.bund.de Open government values addressed: Transparency, accountability, technology/innovation Relevance: The action promotes transparency of the parental allowance and other family benefits and makes access to information easier. It also reduces processing times at the parental allowance offices

IRM Midterm Status Summary

9. ElterngeldDigital/Electronic Procedures for Family Benefits

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“Effectively ensuring modern and transparent access to information and application processes for parental allowance and other family benefits. In the future, parents can use an online platform to find information, in particular on the parental allowance, more easily and to be guided through the application process by an application wizard. We are also examining for which other family benefits an electronic application would be suitable.”

Milestones:

9.1 Study on electronic procedures for family benefits (Digitalisierung familienbezogener Leistungen), available

9.2 Preparations for creating more electronic procedures for family benefits

9.3 Start of ElterngeldDigital roll-out in pilot federal states

9.4 Rolling out ElterngeldDigital in more federal states

9.5 New information portal for families

Start Date: May 2016

End Date: December 2019

Context and Objectives

Germany is committed to offering online more than 500 administrative services from the local to federal level by 2022. [37] This commitment aims to provide transparent and easily understandable access to information about family benefits and parental allowances (financial support to new parents engaged in childcare). According to the action plan, the commitment seeks to “use new technologies (application wizard) as well as legally secure language that is easy to understand… to make applying for benefits easier and more transparent for citizens. The goal is to streamline the application process for family benefits.”

In Germany, state-level governments handle applications for parental allowances. Many rules govern receipt of the benefits, which are income dependent. Thus, the extensive application requires the submission of several supporting documents and certificates. While many states allow submissions to be mailed, the relative complexity of the application often requires additional visits to the respective local office and involves long processing times. [38] Also, prior to the commitment, only three German states had established online application systems. [39]

The main milestones (9.3, 9.4, and 9.5) are generally verifiable, although they lack some specificity. For example, the milestones do not provide the number of federal states in which the ElterngeldDigital portal will be piloted (9.3) or a detailed description of the “new information portal for families” (9.5).

This commitment aims to streamline administrative services. Additionally, the commitment calls for the creation of a new portal that would provide information regarding parental benefits and how to apply for benefits. If fully implemented, the new portal could improve access to information on family benefits and parental allowances. However, the description of the pilot portal is vague, and the commitment is difficult to assess. Thus, the potential impact of the commitment is considered minor.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends pursuing this goal outside the framework of OGP and not carrying this commitment forward to future action plans.

[37] “Flächendeckende Digitalisierung der Verwaltung Deutschlands bis 2022,” IT-Planungsrat, https://www.it-planungsrat.de/DE/ITPlanungsrat/OZG-Umsetzung/OZG_Umsetzung_node.html.

[38] For examples see Berlin: Rainer W. During, “Elterngeld-Antrage Bleiben Monate in Bezirkken Liegen,” Der Tagesspiegel, 11 December 2012, https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/chaos-in-bearbeitungsstellen-elterngeld-antraege-bleiben-monate-in-bezirken-liegen/7502674.html; Bavaria: Susanne Holl, Saarbrucken, and Mike Szymanski, “Warum die SPD so Dunnhautig auf den Juso-Chef Reagiert,” Suddeutsche Zeitung, https://www.sueddeutsche.de/bayern/sparpolitik-langes-warten-aufs-elterngeld-1.3481664; and Hamburg: Andreas Dey, “Mutter und Vater Mussen Lange auf Elterngeld Warten,” Hamberger Abendblatt, 1 February 2019, https://www.abendblatt.de/hamburg/article216342785/Muetter-und-Vaeter-muessen-lange-auf-Elterngeld-warten.html. For a citizen report from across Germany, see (outdated) platform at http://www.wartenaufelterngeld.de/.

[39] Sabine Menkens, “Geld furs Baby Ohne Lastigen Gang sum Amt,” Welt, 16 October 2018, https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article182209578/Elterngeld-digital-Geld-fuers-Baby-ohne-laestigen-Gang-zum-Amt.html.


Germany's Commitments

  1. Conditions for OGP Participation

    DE0001, 2017, OGP

  2. Open Data in Administrative Practice

    DE0002, 2017, Capacity Building

  3. Open Data Environment

    DE0003, 2017, Capacity Building

  4. Access to Spatial Data

    DE0004, 2017, Capacity Building

  5. Financial Transparency - EITI Standard

    DE0005, 2017, E-Government

  6. Transparency in Development Policy

    DE0006, 2017, Aid

  7. Open Data for Intelligent Mobility

    DE0007, 2017, E-Government

  8. Citizen Participation in Environmental Policy and Urban Development

    DE0008, 2017, Capacity Building

  9. Electronic Procedures for Family Benefits

    DE0009, 2017, E-Government

  10. Knowledge Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People

    DE0010, 2017, E-Government

  11. Local Alliances for Family Initiative

    DE0011, 2017, Public Participation

  12. Share of Women and Men in Leadership Positions, Private and Private Sectors

    DE0012, 2017, E-Government

  13. Open Access to Academic Literature

    DE0013, 2017, E-Government

  14. Science Year 2018

    DE0014, 2017, Public Participation

  15. Federal Competition “Living Together Hand in Hand”

    DE0015, 2017, Citizenship and Immigration