Geywitz is planning a heating subsidy of at least 135 euros

The Ampel-Coalition decided on the grant after heating costs rose rapidly in the autumn. “This should ensure that living and heating remain affordable and that the additional costs from the cold winter months are absorbed,” says a key issues paper from the ministry. The lump sum is part of the housing benefit paid to low-income households.

Criticism from consumer advocates

According to the key point paper, the amount of the grant was empirically derived on the basis of simulation calculations by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research. The heating costs of the housing benefit households from 2020 have been extrapolated with the expected price increases. However, consumer advocates consider the grant to be “clearly too low”. The money will not be enough for many households to compensate for the sharp rise in heating costs, said the head of the federal consumer association, Klaus Müller, the «Handelsblatt». It is not yet clear how cold the winter and thus the heating bills will be.

A total of around 710,000 households should benefit from the one-time grant. To do this, you must have received or are receiving housing benefit for at least one month during the heating phase between October 2021 and March 2022. All in all, the aid should cost the federal government around 130 million euros.

No credit towards other social benefits

Building Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD) had announced that the subsidy should be paid out in the summer – before the utility bill with the heating costs for the winter lands in the mailbox. With this billing, often not only high back payments are to be expected. At the same time, the monthly advance payment will also increase for many households. The grant is intended to cushion this burden, according to the draft, which was decided in the cabinet at the end of January and will then be introduced into the Bundestag via the government parliamentary groups. The money should not be counted towards other social benefits.

In the past few months, energy prices have exploded – especially for oil and gas, which are used for heating. According to the comparison portal Verivox, energy has increased in price by 35 percent within a year. “Never before have private households had to pay so much for heating, electricity and fuel,” it said. According to Check24, more than 900 gas suppliers have implemented or announced price increases in the basic supply of an average of around 34 percent. (dpa / amo)

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