Dear Sir or Madam,
My name is Anna Westroem. I’m a college student from Germany and live together with my single mother and 3 siblings. Especially my mother is the person I looked up to, always being a cheerful, hard working women who is dearly loved by everyone.
I created this donation because I try to give something back to my mother now that she’s more desperate than ever before, as she has always been there for me and anyone who needed her help. Let me tell her story.
First of all, you might not be familiar with the German “child benefit system” (Kindergeld). It basically means you get paid a small amount of money monthly from the state that is supposed to help you with rasing your children, buying them food, proper clothes etc. Responsible for payment is a particular office called “Child Benefit Office” (Kindergeldkasse). When your child becomes a college student or applys for any sort of further education, the “child benefit money” will still be paid until it turns 25. However, you have to renew the personal data and apply for it again and again whenever your child’s life situation changes, for example when it suddenly takes off the university register, gets a new job or something like that. That is because the Child Benefit Office has to check whether, depending on your child’s age and new life situation, you’re still approved for child benefit money or not.
Sorry if this explanation is a little rough, the German bureaucracy is rather complicated. You can read more about this system here if you want to check out for the correctness of my information: https://www.howtogermany.com/pages/kindergeld.html
So now to the issue that let my mother sleepless and desperate for the past months.
When my sister graduated and became a college student, we let the the Child Benefit office now about it, they checked back and everything was fine. She was still legally getting the payment.
After two semestres she realized that her choice of University wasn’t the best so she took off the university register after two semestres, so my mother went to the Job Centre with her to register her from “college student” to “job seeking”. The officials there told them that my sister would still receive Child Benefit and that they would transfer the new data to the Child Benefit office.
So the time my sister was job seeking, she would receive Child Benefit as literal officials confirmed to us it was absolutely legal.
However, after a few months the Child Benefit office contacted my mother and demanded a repayment of 2139€ and a fine of 1000€. They alleged her to illegally receive Child Benefit over months, altough the Child Benefit my mother received was officially approved. In their calculation they also included the time where my sister was still a college student, which is definitely a life situation where the state is obliged to pay Child Benefit if you apply for it, no matter what.
So the Child Benefit office basically wants my mother to pay back money the state officially and legally approved and was supposed to help her because they alleged her of receiving state money illegally.
As my single mother with 2 more children to feed she never had and also will never have this amount of money to pay anyone all at once.
She contacted a good lawyer which costed her 1000€ more so far and the lawsuit is still going. She would not even be able to pay a lawyer if I as her daughter didn’t take over the costs. I quit university temporarily and took on a part-time job, just for that. Because we didn’t know where to get the money elsewhere.
The lawyer filed an objection to the allegation and reassured us multiple times that legally speaking, my mother did nothing wrong. Nothing she ever did was wrong and illegal in any way.
However, the Child Benefit Office continues to plead guilty and wants her to pay the money and the fine or go to jail. They can also destrain upon her/impound her anytime while the objection is going. So far it looks like my mother will very much go to jail for about half a year to two years if we can’t instantly pay the whole amount of money immediately. I don’t know what to do if my mother goes to jail thinking about my siblings that have to be fed, our flat that also has to be paid somehow. My mother might also lose her job if she goes to jail. Again, she did nothing wrong.
This is why I desperately try to collect an amount of 5000€ including the repayment, the fine and the lawyer costs to save my wrongly accused mothers and also our existence.
I don’t know what to do and say anymore. We can lose everything if this nightmare is going on. Please help my mother, please help us.