Municipality sets up emergency energy fund; a maximum of 325 euro for those living in digs

Municipality sets up emergency energy fund; a maximum of 325 euro for those living in digs

Contribution for students who are not eligible for other energy subsidies (but still not for everyone)

16-01-2023 · News

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht students who are not eligible for the 1,300 euro energy surcharge can now apply for a one-off subsidy from the municipality. Students living in digs can look forward to a maximum of 325 euro, students who live independently (for example in a studio or an apartment) may receive up to 650 euro. Conditions apply, however.

Amongst others, one has to be able to prove that the energy costs have risen in the past year, through higher service costs or advance payments as part of the rent. For those who live in digs, there must be an increase of at least fifty euro, for someone in self-contained accommodation, the amount must be at least a hundred euro. In addition, one must not earn more than 130 per cent of the standard social security amount. Students between the ages of 18 to 21 must also prove that their parents cannot contribute financially, for example because they are living on minimum social security or have passed away.

The bonus is part of the Emergency Fund for Energy Costs, (Noodfonds Energiekosten), to the amount of five million euro, which Maastricht City Council presented last Wednesday. This was set up to support homes and institutions that have been hit by the energy crisis, but that are not eligible for other supportive measures (such as the energy surcharge).

That latter is the case for many students living away from home. For the energy surcharge – which has existed since March of last year, but which the city of Maastricht has only been granting to students since last month – stricter conditions apply. For example, students younger than 21 years of age are not eligible and the income limit is lower (120 per cent of the social security standard). Moreover, students living in digs must have an energy contract in their own name, or that of another occupant of the student house (who then divides the amount among those sharing the house). That rule does not apply to the emergency fund.

Nevertheless, the question is still how many students will meet the conditions of the emergency fund. Things are not made easy for the students: the maximum amount that students can borrow from DUO (student financing) is automatically tallied in the total income, whether they make use of this or not. Because of this, students with a job reach this income limit of 130 per cent relatively quickly. In a nutshell: anyone who earns more than 334 euro per month extra, is not eligible for the subsidy.

According to alderman Alex Meij (Partij Veilig Maastricht), not much can be done about this. “The fact that student financing is included has been legally determined. But this fund is meant for those who are really in dire need.” In exceptional circumstances, students who are above the income limit but who are experiencing financial problems, can appeal to the individual exceptional support, (individuele bijzondere bijstand, IBB).

Those who want to apply for support will need to be quick. Meij: “There is a maximum of one million available for households. It is first come, first served.” The subsidy can be applied for from 16 January, 13:00 hrs on the Maastricht city website.

Another part of the emergency fund is available for associations. Student associations, however, come under ‘social clubs’ and are not eligible, the municipality states.

Photo: Loraine Bodewes

Categories: News, news_top
Tags: energy,fund,surcharge,costs,subsidy,students

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