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Reader question: When will I receive my delayed €500 Klimabonus payment in Austria?

The Austrian government has started sending out the final €500 payments for its anti-inflation and climate bonus 2022. This is what you need to know.

Reader question: When will I receive my delayed €500 Klimabonus payment in Austria?
The Klimabonus could also be sent via voucher. (The Local)

Starting Thursday, February 2nd, the last instalment of the Klimabonus for 2022 will be paid out, according to Austria’s Climate Protection Ministry.

Most people in Austria have already received the €500 payment, meant to offset rising inflation and a part of the country’s ecotax reform, in the fall/winter of 2022. However, those who only fulfilled the requirements later in the year will receive it now. 

According to the responsible Climate Protection Ministry, this affects around 457,000 people in Austria. 

These people either only transferred their primary residence to Austria in the first half of 2022, were recently born or for whom the status under the immigration law has yet to be clarified by the Ministry of the Interior.

READ ALSO: ‘I’m still waiting’: Foreigners in Austria still not been paid Klimabonus handout

How will the payment be made?

According to the ministry, the climate bonus comes without application and automatically via bank transfer or mail as a voucher. 

About 300,000 people will receive it directly to their account by Monday, February 6th, and about 150,000 will receive the climate bonus through the mail as an RSA letter – the vouchers will be delivered from the second half of February and should arrive to all by the beginning of March at the latest. The Post Office will deliver the vouchers in the second half of February, it said.

Is this the final payment?

Even those who received the Klimabonus in 2022 will also receive another payment in 2023. However, don’t get too excited; it will be far from the €500 subsidy the government offered in 2022.

The €500 Klimabonus was actually a Klima- und Antiteuerungsbonus, two bonuses in one. One, totalling €250, is the “climate bonus”(Klimabonus). The other, also €250, is the “anti-inflation bonus” (Anti-Teuerungsbonus).

The anti-inflation bonus was a one-off payment and is not expected to be repeated in 2023.

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

The climate bonus is part of Austria’s “ecosocial tax reform”, a set of measures destined to promote climate protection. One of them is a tax on CO2 emissions, which will raise the fuel prices in the country, affecting Austrian drivers.

The yearly Klimabonus will offset this expense. The idea is that the more you use public transport, the more of the bonus you will have “left” by the end of the month. 

According to the government, those living in well-connected cities with plenty of options for public transport (people who, therefore, could easily choose more eco-friendly transportation instead of a car) will receive less money. For example, in Vienna, the payment will be €100.

The maximum payment will be €250.

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High inflation: What’s keeping prices high in Austria?

Inflation in the eurozone has been steadily going down, and while the inflation rate decreased slightly in Austria, it is still at high levels. So what is keeping prices high?

High inflation: What's keeping prices high in Austria?

In February 2023, Austria’s inflation rate stood at 10.9 percent, a slight decrease from January, when it was 11.2 percent, according to recent Statistik Austria data.

It’s still higher than the average in the EU (9.9 percent) and much higher than the euro inflation, which was 8.5 percent in February, according to Eurostat.

“The slight decline in inflation from 11.2 percent in January to 10.9 percent in February 2023 is mainly attributable to less pronounced price pressure on household energy and fuels,” said Statistics Austria Director General Tobias Thomas.

READ ALSO: Cost of living: 45 ways to save money in Austria

“By contrast, the price spiral continued to turn in restaurants. Inflation also continued to be felt at supermarket checkouts, with food prices rising by 16.5 percent year-on-year,” he added.

So what is keeping prices high?

Higher costs for housing, water and energy (+16.5 percent compared to February 2022; including district heat +89.2 percent, gas +63.5 percent, solids fuels +76.0 percent, heating oil +29.3 percent, electricity +3.1 percent) turned out to be the most critical price driver, according to Statistik Austria. 

They were followed by food and non-alcoholic beverages (+16.2 percent; food +16.5 percent, non-alcoholic beverages +14,0 percent). 

The more expensive foods include meat, bread and cereal products, vegetables and fruit. However, products such as milk, cheese, eggs, oils, and fats have decreased slightly. When it comes to beverages, coffee was the main contributor to price rises this month. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: 10 ways to save money on your groceries in Austria

The third strongest price driver was restaurants and hotels (+13.4 percent; restaurants +13.4 percent, hotels +13.1 percent). Finally, transport showed price increases of 10.9 percent (fuels +13.6 percent), with fuel prices still high and airline tickets costing significantly more than in January.

While rents rose by an average of 6.3 percent in February, less than the general inflation rate, the cost of maintaining housing increased by 17.9 percent, mainly due to high material costs (up 21.2 percent).