Information about protection attachment accounts (P-Konto)
General information on the new Act on the Attachment of Bank Accounts
If your account has been attached, it is essential that you set up a protection at-tachment accounts (P-Konto). A P-account is the only way to protect your money.
You are now entitled to demand that an existing current account be converted in-to a P-account. In order to do this, you must make a personal application to your bank. Banks must convert the accounts within 3 working days at the latest. How-ever, this does not mean that you now have a statutory entitlement to open a new account (including P-account).
You may only have one P-account. It is forbidden to have more than one P-account and anyone doing so is liable to prosecution. P-accounts may only be op-erated as single accounts. Joints accounts (e.g. held jointly by a married couple) cannot be operated as P-accounts but must be converted into two single accounts and then operated as two P-accounts.
You can apply for your current account to be converted into a P-account, even if it has al-ready been attached. If the account is converted into a P-account within 4 weeks from date the attachment was served, then the P-account applies retrospectively from the date the attachment was served.
You may not additionally claim protection under the terms of the former legisla-tive protection against attachment which is still valid until 31.12.2011. It is there-fore important that you make sure that all incoming payments and especially all social benefits are paid into the P-account.
The bank is obliged to inform SCHUFA if an account is converted into a P-account, or if a P-account is closed or revoked. Banks may also request information from SCHUFA about whether the account holder already has a P-account (with another bank). This exchange of information is intended to prevent abuse. It has no effect on SCHUFA credit information about the account holder.
How much is protected? From the basic allowance to the increased allowance
The basic allowance
If the P-account is attached, the debtor receives an automatic protection against attachment amounting to the basic allowance of EUR 1,133.80 per calendar month. You may only take this amount out, however, if the credit bal-ance of the account shows at least this amount. Basically, it only makes sense to have a P-account with a credit balance (in the black).
You may access the basic allowance even after an attachment has been served, i.e. transfers and direct debits can be carried out. The type of income (wages, social benefits, tax refund etc.) and the date of receipt of payment is irrelevant.
Obligation to pay out social benefits if the account is in the red
Even if your account is "in the red" you may access child benefit and social benefits in the full amount within 14 days from the date they are credited to your account (clearing protection). However, your bank is always allowed to debit the account charges from your P-account.
Important: No clearing protection exists for other types of credit payment (espe-cially wages) if the account is in the red!
Higher allowance subject to confirmation:
The automatic basic allowance can be increased if you present the appropriate confirmation. If you are obliged by law to pay maintenance for one or several persons or if you receive social benefits for a third party (for your partner or step-child, for example), higher allowances apply:
EUR 1,610.51 if you support one person
EUR 1,848.24 if you support two people
EUR 2.085.97 if you support three people
EUR 2,323.70 if you support four people
EUR 2,561.43 if you support five or more people.
Child benefit which is paid into the attached P-account is also protected against attachment, as well as any one-off social benefits (e.g. costs for a school trip, start-up equipment) - but only in the month in which the one-off benefits are paid.
Who can issue this confirmation? Local addresses and support centres
Lawyers, social services providers, family welfare offices, employers and officially registered debt counselling agencies may issue a confirmation about the higher allowance.
Note: Many banks accept a payment notification as proof of the number of per-sons for whom you receive benefits in your household. Your salary statement should be accepted as a confirmation if your salary is attached. Statements should suffice as proof of additional child benefit.
Note: Many debt counselling offices no longer issue confirmations since they have too much other work and insufficient financing. It is advisable to phone beforehand to see whether the office responsible for you does issue confirmations. If not you will be told where you can obtain one.