Corona aid in homes: the federal government does not bill soldiers

Corona help in homes
Federal government does not bill soldiers

For months, cities and municipalities have been able to use the help of the Bundeswehr in the fight against Corona. But apparently this failed in many cases because of the cost issue. The cabinet is now clarifying the situation.

Cities and municipalities are to increasingly use Bundeswehr soldiers for corona rapid tests in old people's homes or other measures in the pandemic. The federal cabinet decided that federal authorities can waive the reimbursement of the costs of such operations, as Vice Government Spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said. Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer appealed to cities and municipalities to make use of the opportunity.

According to Demmer, the Federal Budget Code allows the reimbursement of costs to be waived "if there is an urgent federal interest". The pandemic is having a noticeable impact in all areas of public life, which is why it is in Germany's interest to limit the associated damage.

The aim of the new regulation is to prevent municipalities from being deterred by the demands of soldiers because of feared costs. According to the Federal Ministry of Defense, there are "uncertainties" due to the question of costs, which have been eliminated with the current decision. The personnel costs were incurred in the Bundeswehr anyway, the additional costs incurred could not yet be quantified, said a spokesman.

Kramp-Karrenbauer promotes the use of soldiers

The regulation applies retrospectively from March 1 of last year to the end of December 2021. It not only covers the deployment of soldiers in the homes, but also, for example, those in the health authorities to track chains of infection. In practice, the cabinet decision means that the Bundeswehr does not send the municipalities an invoice for the administrative assistance provided.

According to Kramp-Karrenbauer, 10,000 soldiers are available for the rapid tests in old people's and nursing homes. According to a "Spiegel" report on Monday, only around 349 soldiers have been requested nationwide, and a further 81 applications for administrative assistance are to be approved soon.

"I can only advertise that everyone really makes use of this help, because with every infection that is not carried into a nursing home, we save and protect lives," said Kramp-Karrenbauer on ZDF. "Because the question of the assumption of costs is always in the room, I urged that the cabinet come up with a corresponding regulation today," said the minister.