Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment: Assign low-income households on application for energy allowance

‘800 euros energy compensation is a gift’

Many households that may be entitled to the energy surcharge of 800 euros and have to apply for it themselves have not yet reported to the municipality. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment is therefore asking for the help of a large number of organizations to draw extra attention to the allowance for households with a low income.

This week, the ministry distributed a toolkit to employers’ and employees’ organisations, implementing agencies, industry associations, housing corporations, energy suppliers, organizations for the elderly and social parties with which they can inform their supporters about the one-off energy surcharge. The ministry hopes that extra attention from these organizations will encourage more people to apply for the allowance, on top of the actions that municipalities are already taking to reach households. In addition to their own information campaigns, municipalities hold walk-in consultation hours to help people make an application, and they deploy energy coaches to promote the energy surcharge and other schemes.

The energy surcharge helps low-income households to pay the sharply increased energy bill. The allowance from the municipality is intended for households with an income up to 120% of the social minimum. Households that are entitled to the energy surcharge may keep it. There will be no subsequent settlement. The allowance falls under special assistance, is a gift and does not count as income for the tax authorities. People with a benefit from the municipality receive the allowance automatically. They don’t have to do anything for this. Other households with an income around the social assistance level – such as some self-employed persons and the elderly – apply to the municipality themselves.

Households that do not qualify for the energy surcharge, but that do run into problems due to suddenly increased costs, may be entitled to individual special assistance in their municipality.

People dealing with impending money worries can also receive other support, for example by agreeing a payment arrangement with the energy supplier or via the Municipal Money Counter. On the website they can see what help is available locally and what they can do themselves. There is a national telephone number, 0800-8115, where people with money worries can go anonymously for tailor-made advice.

By: De Zwartewaterkrant | news editors

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