Judgement on social contributions: no relief for families

The current regulations on contribution rates do not violate either the principle of equality of the basic law or the special protection of the family, ruled the federal social court (BSG) in kassel on wednesday. Compared to childless couples, couples with children are not at a disadvantage in social security. (AZ: B 12 KR 15/12 R and B 12 KR 13/13 R)

a couple from freiburg thus failed with their lawsuit before the highest social judges. The plaintiffs, parents of three children who have since grown up, had "contributed justice" demanded against childless persons in pension, health and nursing care insurance. Their educational achievements must be reflected in lower social security contributions, they explained. It is appropriate that only half of the gross income is used for the contributions.

Under current regulations, however, the amount of social security contributions is based only on salary. It is not taken into account that children keep the social security system running as future contributors. Families with children are also more likely to be at risk of poverty than those without children. Therefore, the contribution burdens in the social security system had to be distributed differently.

The plaintiffs referred to a 2001 decision of the federal constitutional court on statutory nursing care insurance. The judges in karlsruhe had ruled that parents and childless persons had to pay the same contributions into the nursing care insurance scheme. Therefore, since 2005, childless people have had to pay a tax from the age of 23. The german government will have to pay 0.25 percentage points more into the nursing care insurance system before the age of 65. This is not sufficient for nursing care insurance, but in the case of pension and health insurance, the upbringing of children is not taken into account at all in the contribution. "The social security system’s imbalance must be redressed", demanded the father of the family, markus essig.

But the plaintiffs were unsuccessful before the BSG. "In the opinion of the senate, there is no constitutional violation", said hans-jurgen kretschmer, chairman of the 12. BSG senate. Mere doubts about the regulations were not sufficient for a submission to the federal constitutional court. Legislators also have wide latitude in determining the extent to which they compensate parents for the educational services they provide.

There is a general obligation on the part of the legislature to compensate for family burdens, but there is no entitlement to a specific high level of compensation. In addition, the legislature had already favored families. Parents were able to claim child-rearing periods under the pension insurance scheme. In health insurance, families benefited from the non-contributory family insurance scheme. In the nursing care insurance, childless people had to pay from the age of 23. The new law also provides for an increase of 0.25 points in the contribution rate.

The plaintiffs announced that they would have the decision reviewed by the federal constitutional court.
Stefan becker, president of the catholic family association, described the verdict as a "bitter blow for families. "The contribution that parents make to social security through education is thus not recognized", becker said in berlin.