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Licence fee (Rundfunkbeitrag) – exemption and reduction

Want to know when you do not need to pay a licence fee? Then just take a look at the options that can exempt you from paying the licence fee. You can probably also ask for a reduction.

Here you can read this text in German.

Here you can read this text in Polish.

Want to know when you do not need to pay a licence fee? Then just take a look at the options that can exempt you from paying the licence fee. You can probably also ask for a reduction.

The reasons for exemption as well as the reasons for reduction are stipulated by law and can be divided into two categories: health and social. You can find out here whether your chances of getting an exemption from the licence fee are high.

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Do you want to know what exactly the licence fee (formerly GEZ fees) is? Here you can read who needs to pay and how to register. 

When can I get exemption from the licence fee? 

The various reasons for exemption are listed in full in the law. One possibility is exemption on social grounds, i.e. when you get social benefits from the state: 

  • Help with living expenses – social welfare
  • Basic income support (Grundsicherung im Alter) for old age and in case of reduced earning capacity
  • Welfare benefits or unemployment benefit II (Arbeitslosengeld II), unless supplements are granted that exceed the amount of the licence fee
  • Services according to the Asylum-Seeker’s Benefits Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz)
  • BAföG, vocational training assistance - known as BAB - (Berufsausbilungsbeihilfe), or training money (Ausbildungsgeld) and not living with your parents.
  • Assistance for care according to the regulations of the corresponding federal state.

You do not listen to the radio or watch TV? Unfortunately, this is not a reason for exemption. You still have to pay the licence fee! 

If you do not get social benefits, you can apply for an exemption as a hardship case: In such a case, your income may exceed the respective need threshold by less than 18.36 EUR. As a proof, you have to submit the rejection notice of the social benefits.
Exemption is still possible for deaf and blind people and recipients of blind person’s support (Blindenhilfe).

When can I apply for a reduction?

You can apply to pay a reduced radio licence fee of 6.12 EUR on the grounds of health problems. According to the law, people are entitled to a reduction if they are

  • blind or visually impaired with a degree of disability of at least 60,
  • hearing-impaired, i.e. deaf, or cannot communicate sufficiently – even with hearing aids,
  • disabled with a degree of disability of at least 80 out of one hundred.

In all cases, you have to prove the disability with the code “RF”on the disabled person’s pass. 

Do I have to pay the licence fee for my second house?

No, you do not have to pay any further fees for a second home. This involves the following constellation: You are registered with the contribution service for the first house and additionally for a secondary residence. Then you can apply for an exemption from the licence fee for the second house. 

How can I request an exemption or reduction?

Important: Exemption and reduction are not automatic. You need to submit a written application and enclose the necessary proof.

You can find the application forms at the towns and municipalities and on the website www.rundfunkbeitrag.de. You must complete the application form in full, enclose a copy of the required proof and send it to the contribution service (ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice).

Do you have any problem with the exemption or would you like a consultation on the licence fee? Here you can find more information about our consultation service.

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