To compensate students for rising energy costs, the government issued 35 million euros last year. But it’s a tour De Volkskrant It turns out that this money hardly ever ends up with the students. Because of the strict conditions, they often get it wrong.
In most municipalities, students cannot use Energy Allowance, which is the national scheme to help low-income people with high energy bills. Minister Schotten for Poverty Policy advised municipalities not to grant the allowance to students due to their “varied housing situation” and varying energy costs.
With one-on-one private assistance, students can try to get financial compensation until July 1, but they have to meet strict requirements conditions to fulfill.
The loan is counted as income
To claim individual private assistance, students can, for example, earn a maximum of 120 percent of the social minimum. per student 1310.05 euros per month. The maximum amount a student can borrow from a DUO (MBO: €766.06, HBO and WO: €932.87) is also counted as income, even if no one borrows anything.
Furthermore, the energy contract must be in the name of the student. As the vast majority of students live in rooms and therefore do not have their own power contract, they are not eligible for individual private assistance.
The granting of special assistance is left to the municipalities. They can also impose additional conditions. The Cabinet distributed a total of 35 million euros to 46 municipalities.
Ten cities with the most student compensation
|local authority||Total amounts in euros|
In the municipalities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Wageningen, according to De Volkskrant He received dozens of applications from students, but a large number of them were rejected. The students’ income was too high or they could not prove that they were struggling financially.
In Groningen, 144 applications out of 600 have so far been approved. In Maastricht, international students are also eligible for the programme. As a result, this student city came out on top with 622 applications, the paper writes. Of the total 242 applications approved, 139 are foreign students. They are not entitled to a DUO loan and are therefore more eligible.
Millions in the piggy bank
Groningen, Wageningen, Rotterdam and Amsterdam are holding remaining funds from the Individual Special Aid to compensate students for increased energy costs after July 1. Utrecht has made nearly 2 million available for minimum wage earners who can’t afford to borrow from DUO.
Municipalities will find it difficult to decide what to do with the remaining money. It is not yet clear whether students will again be excluded from the National Energy Allowance this year.
Last summer, a student from Nijmegen went to court because he thought it was unfair to exclude students from the allowance. The judge agreed with him: “By excluding the students, the municipalities do not take their actual living situation into account and ignore the purpose of the law.”
‘The students had to be excluded’
The court in Utrecht has also ruled that, among other things, students are entitled to an energy allowance, but the municipality says it needs 27 million euros to grant the allowance to the 15,000 students. “We had to exclude the students from this scheme from the government. That’s why we didn’t receive any money for it,” it can be read on Municipal website.
The municipality therefore decided that only 600 students who objected to the lack of compensation could receive a lump sum of 1,800 euros. Students who, for example, didn’t apply because they thought they didn’t qualify, are out of luck. “We find this very disturbing. But we are carrying out this scheme on behalf of the government,” says the municipality.
The various court rulings in the student cities did not lead to the modification of the national policy. Students and municipalities hope that the 2023 energy surcharge bill will be structured differently. Poverty Policy Minister Schotten is working on this and previously announced that court rulings will be taken into account. However, this new bill will not solve the problems surrounding the 2022 bonus, says the municipality of Utrecht.
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