Federal Consumer Protection Minister Steffi Lemke presents a funding check for 1,370,000 euros for a multi-year project to improve social debt counselling for senior citizens.

Berlin, January 10, 2023 – It should be easier for older consumers to access debt management advice. The focus is on an outreach approach, i.e. debt counselling is provided directly on-site with the seniors. Older people, particularly those in debt or overindebted, rarely seek help from debt counselling centres: out of ignorance, shame or mobility restrictions. With funding from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), Diakonie Germany, together with other welfare organizations, will develop a concept for how senior citizens can be better helped to take advantage of debt counselling and put this concept into practice try.
Federal Consumer Protection Minister Steffi Lemke: “Many people get into financial difficulties after their working life. Their pensions and savings are often insufficient to pay their bills, especially in times of rising energy and living costs. Especially older people seldom seek the help of debt counselling centres. It is, therefore, important to me that older people have easy access to debt counselling. With the outreach approach practised in the new project, support is brought to where older people are in their everyday lives. With the project’s funding, we want to offer seniors concrete help, especially in times of great financial challenges.”

Over-indebtedness in private households is at a high level in Germany. Older people are increasingly affected compared to younger age groups.

Maria Loheide, Head of Social Policy at Diakonie Germany: “If seniors don’t come to debt counselling, then debt counselling should go to the people and remove existing hurdles. Debt counsellors must visit seniors in their living environment, where they live and stay. This can be the apartment, the meeting place for seniors, the retirement home, the café or the lunch menu for the elderly.”

By awarding funds to Diakonie Germany as a provider of social debt counselling, the BMUV also wants to strengthen the overall concept of social debt counselling in Germany. Against the increasing proportion of older people in the population, a growing number of pensioners with low (basic) pensions and the current price increases in energy and other living expenses, the project aims to alleviate and prevent serious debt developments.

The project will run until December 31, 2025, at various project locations in Germany. It is supported professionally and scientifically by the Working Group for Debt Counseling of the Associations (AG SBV), the Federal Working Group for Senior Citizens’ Organizations (BAGSO), the Debt Counseling Center at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (SFZ) and the Research and Documentation Center for Consumer Insolvency.

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