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Achtung!

Die Beantwortung dieser Fragen zur Novelle des Familienlastenausgleichsgesetzes (FLAG-Novelle - 6. Covid-19 Gesetz) basiert auf einer rechtlichen Ersteinschätzung der Juristinnen des Referates für Sozialpolitik. Da noch ungewiss ist, wie die Behörden und Gerichte die neuen Bestimmungen im weiteren Verlauf auslegen werden, können noch keine letztgültigen Aussagen getroffen werden.


ATTENTION!

The answers given in the following FAQs about the amendment to the Austrian Act for family benefits are based upon the initial assessment of the legal experts from the office for social policy of the austrian students union (ÖH). It is not yet clear how courts and public authorities will interpret and construe the regulations and therefore we are unable to give a definite legal interpretation at this point. Certain details might also be lost in translation - for any legal references please refer to the german version of the amendment. In the following text the Austrian Act for family benefits will be referred to under its German abbreviation “FLAG”.

English FAQs Family Allowance

WHERE CAN I FIND THE NEW AMENDMENT?
TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE FAMILY ALLOWANCE IN WINTER SEMESTER 20/ 21 I HAVE TO PROVIDE PROOF OF COMPLETING 16/ 24 ECTS CREDITS. HAS THE DEADLINE TO FILE THE REQUIRED PERFORMANCE RECORDS BEEN EXTENDED?

According to our legal team: Yes. However, the amendment to the FLAG doesn’t not provide specif-ic answers. The original regulations, according to § 2 Abs. 1 lit b state, that in a case of an unfore-seen or inevitable situation that occurred during a time period of at least three months, the deadline can be extended by an additional semester. As of right now, we believe that students that normally have until the 30th of November to provide proof of completing a total of 16 ECTS credits (or 8 “Se-mesterwochenstunden” = “SE”) in the previous two semesters, or 24 ECTS credits (or 12 SE) in the previous three semesters have an additional semester to complete the required amount of credits.

I RECEIVE THE FAMILY ALLOWANCE IN SUMMER SEMESTER 2020 AND AM IN MY 8. SE-MESTER. WILL I AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE THE ALLOWANCE FOR ANOTHER SEMESTER?

Yes. In general, the maximum time frame to receive the family allowance is the legal minimum duration of the study program plus two additional semesters of tolerance. The new regulations, according to §2 Abs 9 lit b FLAG roughly state: “The period of entitlement to receive funding as defined in Abs. 1 lit b (...) will be extended in accordance with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of the duration of the crisis and depending on to the following conditions: (...) B) for children of legal age that visit an academic institutions as defined by the students support act (...), and that have a legal claim to receive the subsidy are able to receive funding for another semester or another year, if the maximum age limit to receive funding was not surpassed before the crisis occurred.”

I TURNED 24 IN APRIL 2020 AND STILL RECEIVE THE FAMILY ALLOWANCE - DID SOMETHING GO WRONG?

No. Basically, the FLAG states that the maximum time to receive funding is until the 24th birthday or, in case of completing the civil service, pregnancy, etc., until the 25th birthday. For other reasons it is possible to receive funding for another semester. The new amendment §2 Abs 9 lit b FLAG further notes that: “The period of entitlement to receive funding as defined Abs. 1 lit. b (...) will be extended in accordance with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of the dura-tion of the crisis and depending on to the following conditions: B) (...) for children of legal age that visit an academic institutions as defined by the students support act (...), and that have a legal claim to receive the subsidy are able to receive funding for another semester or another year, if the maxi-mum age limit to receive funding was not surpassed before the crisis occurred.”

CAN I RECEIVE THE FAMILY ALLOWANCE IN SUMMER SEMESTER 2020, EVEN IF I’M UNABLE TO COMPLETE ANY LECTURES OR EXAMS AS MY UNIVERSITY DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY ALTERNATIVES?

We think the answer is yes, but in this case the regulations (§ 2 Abs 9 FLAG) do not provide detailed information. Therefore, we would highly recommend you to attend offered (online) exams/ lectures or try to complete courses as soon as it is possible again, as the legal ramifications aren’t clear yet.

I WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE MY STUDY PROGRAM ...

... TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE FAMILY ALLOWANCE I WILL NEED TO DO SO BEFORE THE THIRD SEMESTER OF THE FIRST PROGRAM HAS STARTED. DOES THE SUMMER SEMESTER 2020 WILL BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION OR COULD I LOSE MY ENTITLEMENT TO RECEIVE FUNDING?

Answer: According to our information: No. Unfortunately the new regulations do also not answer this case specifically. However, the change of study program is regulated by the student support act (StudFG) § 17 . § 3 Abs. 6 of the new COVID-19 directives concerning the student support act (C-StudFV) roughly states : “The summer semester 2020 will not be taken into consideration while changing the study program as defined in §17 Abs. 1 Z 2 and Abs. 3 StudFG.”
In general, a change of study program has to be done before the third semester, otherwise a delayed change of a degree program applies, meaning that it if a student changes his/ her degree program after more than three semesters, the student has to provide an minimum amount of credits in the new program before being eligible to receive further funding.

CAN I STILL RECEIVE THE FAMILY ALLOWANCE IF I VOLUNTEERED TO BE PART OF THE SPECIAL CIVIL/MILITARY SERVICE DURING THE PANDEMIC?

According to our legal team: Yes. But, as with some other questions, the amendment §2 Abs. 9 FLAG does not provide a specific answer to this. Please keep in mind, that you should try to continue your studies as much as possible, especially if the crisis situation has passed. Also, please note that this does not apply to the student grant!

Where do I find further information?

FAQs of the Ministry of Family Affairs can be found here: FAQs of the Ministry of Family Affairs
In addition, the Ministry of Family Affairs has issued an explanatory information in which specific individual cases are outlined: Information sheet of the Ministry of Family Affairs