24 Aug

Higher Utility and Heating Costs Expected in Winter 22/23. Information and tips about available aid

Many people are worrying about the increasing cost of energy, huge inflation, and their general financial situation. We want to provide information about governmental financial assistance you can take advantage of to combat higher costs. However, we would like to make clear that we do not believe this aid is an appropriate or sufficient response.

Applying for Hartz IV when paying additional heating and utility costs

If you are not a full-time student (i.e. you are studying part time, taking a leave of absence, or not studying at all), we recommend applying for Hartz IV if your landlord requests you to pay additional utility or heating costs. If you submit a Hartz IV application the month payment is due, the additional cost will be included when calculating your general needs (the minimum amount of money required for basic needs). Doing so may make you eligible for financial assistance from the Job Center which you otherwise would not be entitled to. This would allow you to pay some of the additional cost using funds from the Job Center rather than having to cover them alone. You are entitled to this money and it is your right to apply for it. You can also submit an incomplete application the month payment is due and submit any missing documents later. The most important thing is to apply no later than the month payment is due.

Generally, accommodation allowance (Wohngeld) and Hartz IV are mutually exclusive, so that you can only receive one but not both forms of assistance. However, because additional utility/heating costs are considered a “one time” need, you can still submit a Hartz IV application once, even if you already receive accommodation allowance.

Unfortunately, students studying full time are excluded from this option as they aren’t eligible for Hartz IV. For everyone else: Make sure you submit a Hartz IV application no later than the month additional payment is due!

This information is extremely important. Please share it with others! Further information can be found at: https://www.tacheles-sozialhilfe.de/aktuelles/archiv/zum-uebernahmeanspruch-auf.html

300-euro energy allowance for employed self-employed persons

The one-off energy allowance of 300 euros is intended as a relief measure for low and middle-income earners affected by increasing energy costs. We have summarized the most important information for you below, including what to do if you have a mini job or are self-employed, if you receive BAföG, Hartz IV or accommodation allowance (Wohngeld), have changed employers, or do not work at all.

Anyone who worked at some point in 2022 is entitled to the allowance. There is no minimum requirement. This includes if you had a mini job, are self-employed (e.g. trade or fee-based work), had a paid internship, were a working student, or did volunteer work and received a stipend (Ehrenamtspauschle/Übungsleiter*inpauschale).

The 300-euro energy allowance is scheduled to be disbursed by your employer (who is reimbursed by the government) by 1 September. However, you are still eligible if you begin working after 1 September. In this case, the allowance is not paid out by your employer. Instead you will receive it with your tax return for 2022. While you do not have to pay any social contribution on the allowance, it is subject to tax. If you receive BAföG, Hartz IV or accommodation allowance (Wohngeld), the energy allowance is not considered income (unlike originally expected). If the BAföG Office or Job Center includes the energy allowance when calculating your income, you should appeal this within four weeks and make use of our advising service!

Important information

If you have a mini job

It is possible that you will not automatically receive the energy allowance from your employer but rather must independently request it from them. You are only entitled to the 300 euros if your mini job is your only employment. Otherwise your other employer is responsible for paying out the allowance. If you only have one job, your employer must confirm this and will then be reimbursed by the government.

If you are self-employed

You will receive the energy allowance through your 2022 tax return.

If you have changed employers

If you work for a different employer in September than you did for the rest of 2022, you are still entitled to the allowance. Maybe you must file a tax return for 2022 to receive the payment.

If you first start working after 1 September 2022

You will not receive the energy allowance from your employer, because you were not employed on 1 September. Instead, you will receive the allowance by filing a tax return for 2022.

Illness and parental leave until September 2022

In such cases, you are also entitled to the 300-euro energy allowance from your employer. Otherwise, you can receive it through your 2022 tax return.

Further information can be found at: https://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/Content/DE/FAQ/energiepreispauschale.html

BAföG stipend for heating costs

If you received BAföG at least once between October 2021 and March 2022, the BAföG Office will automatically award you a heating cost stipend in the amount of 230 euros. Payment is expected in the fall (between August and October). However, because each BAföG office has different procedures, we cannot say when exactly the payment will be transferred. You can ask your respective BAföG office for further details. You do not need to submit a separate application for the BAföG stipend for heating costs (unlike originally expected). Further information is available here: The heating cost stipend can be in addition to the energy allowance! https://www.studis-online.de/studienfinanzierung/heizkostenzuschuss-2022.php

Heating cost grant and accommodation allowance

If you received accommodation allowance at least once between October 2021 and March 2022, you should automatically receive a heating cost grant in the amount of EUR 270 at the end of summer or in the fall. The heating cost stipend can be in addition to the energy allowance! Further information is available here: https://www.mdr.de/brisant/heizkostenzuschuss-auszahlung-wann-106.html

Hartz IV – One-time 200-euro payment in 2022

If you receive Hartz IV, you should have received a one-off payment of 200 euros in July 2022. If you did not receive this payment, please inquire with your respective Job Center.

Further information is available here: https://www.hartziv.org/news/20220725-200-euro-hartz-iv-bonus-auszahlung/

If you have other questions about financing your studies, please make use of our BAföG and Social Counseling. Our advising hours are posted here: https://asta.tu-berlin.de/bafoeg-und-sozialberatung/

Translated by TU Berlin Translation Services