Is FEMA free money

Family in Corona crisis
The situation of single-parent families is deteriorating dramatically

The whole year at Regionalmedien Austria, the focus is on family. In the Austria series "Family in Corona Crisis" women, men and children talk to RMA editor Anna Richter-Trummer about their families and report on how they experienced the time of the pandemic. Today with Andrea Czak from Vienna, mother of a 15-year-old daughter, who fights as a single carer for single carers and knows from her own experience how Corona has dramatically aggravated the situation of one-parent families in Austria.

AUSTRIA. "Corona has massively exacerbated the financial problems for many single mothers," says Andrea Czak and reports: "Child support has been partially cut or has not been paid at all. Fathers of children who have lost their jobs, for example, only pay half of the support, that is their children are in need, even though the fathers would still have enough assets. But according to the law, the assets of the person liable for maintenance may not be accessed. So the child has nothing to eat, but the father has assets. Incredible, the Corona- Overall, the crisis has also shown that single mothers are the most exposed to an average of 15 hours of work per day. "

4,000 euros in loss of income

She reports on a current study by WU and AK, which shows that mothers who cut back their working hours during the lockdown lost around 4,000 euros in income. "The unpaid work, valued in hours, corresponds almost exactly to the value of the unpaid work that they have done more at home," says Andrea Czak. No wonder that every second person is at risk of poverty. Czak: "The situation of one-parent families in Austria is deteriorating dramatically. Single parents do not get any state support from the Corona funding pot, which is mainly at the expense of the children. "

Must bear the costs alone

The last few months have not been easy for any parent. Job, childcare and homeschooling have pushed many of them to their limits. Single parents in particular, 91 percent of whom are women, are hit hard by this exceptional situation. How did Andrea Czak, mother of a 15-year-old daughter, experience the Corona period and how did the Corona crisis affect her family life? "It is an enormous financial, emotional and organizational burden. I had to buy a laptop for my daughter, plus a keyboard, mouse, screen and printer cartridges and so on. Then the heating runs all day because we are always at home, I have much higher costs as a result. And I am all alone with these costs. In my case, the child's father refuses to pay, because he thinks that all the additional costs are covered by the maintenance. Last year he even paid only showed three times and didn't get involved in anything. So I have to go to court again and sue him for the money as a special requirement. "

Had to finance child support in advance

The father also refused to find a contact regulation. Czak: "I don't get any logistical support either, responsible for everything up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year." After the child's father did not want to pay higher child support, Ms. Czak had to bring this to court. “The process took three years, during which time I had to pre-finance everything!” According to Czak, the maintenance law has deteriorated over the past 20 years. "And the victims are the children, because they lack the financial means, which means they are often excluded from social participation, and their future prospects are reduced." And another injustice: the standard requirement rate for a fourteen-year-old child is EUR 400.00. However, according to a reference study by the debt counseling service, the needs of a fourteen-year-old child are EUR 840.00. Czak: "The child lacks EUR 440.00 per month to lead a life without risk of poverty and with social participation."

Uncertain future

Financially, Ms. Czak keeps her head above water with a part-time job. “But the job is only limited to two years, the future is uncertain. And I'm 50 years old, it gets more and more difficult to find a job with age. Even worse now in the Corona crisis, with half a million job seekers and only 50,000 open positions. She remembers when her daughter was still little: “It was a constant balancing act, you always ran, it was a horror to bring everything under one roof. It would not have been possible without parents…. ”But now in the corona pandemic, close relatives and parents are also absent, on whose help one was dependent in everyday life. "It hits you twice on your head."

No support

Ms. Czak also suffered disadvantages. “In the first lockdown, I had extreme health problems due to the excessive demands, because the pressure and the burden were all on me." Ms. Czak's presence in the office is important, home office is not an issue, so her 15-year-old daughter is at home alone in homeschooling. " She's already big, but she doesn't eat healthy food either. "As a major injustice, Czak cites the unpaid care work that she does alone in the Corona crisis:" Many single mothers suffer from the fact that they receive little or no support from Have a child's father and the government assumes that the mothers will do everything anyway. "

Double family allowance

What does she want? “I want the government to pay double family allowances to all single carers from the beginning of lockdown retrospectively from March for all lockdown weeks, because we single mothers only have one income.” She also wants an additional pension month to be credited for each lockdown month. And: "That everyone whose maintenance has been reduced because the father lost his job, for example, are also eligible, because the family hardship compensation fund does not currently recognize this as a loss of income."

Cash benefit for lack of duty of care

In addition, Ms. Czak is pushing for a quick change in the maintenance law: “There it is currently the case that the more the father takes on care duties, the more the amount of his maintenance obligation is reduced. But if the father doesn't care at all, then there is no financial compensation to the one who cares. This violates the principle of equality. I demand that he has to pay a cash benefit for his lack of care obligations. "

Association offers help

"Anyone who is alone and caring can turn to FEMA," says Andrea Czak, who is also the chairwoman of the Feminist Single Parents Association (FEM.A): "We hold online meetings and workshops, where you can find help and support "The association fights for strong mothers and their right to a carefree life, for their children and their right to a happy childhood." I have been involved for five years because I think it is important that single mothers can lead a self-empowered life , socially and financially equal, even if the child's father does not want to pay maintenance for his own child. "
Inquiries and help are available at [email protected],

Did you get into financial hardship during the corona crisis?

Family in Corona crisis
Do you know a family whose life was significantly affected by the Corona crisis? Or are you and your family affected yourself? Write to us: Send an email with the subject "Family in Corona Crisis" to [email protected] and describe the situation in which the family is in the Corona crisis.

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