The Netherlands, just like many countries around the world, is facing rising goods and energy prices, inflation and cost of living pressures after the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine. Low-income households, pensioners and students are disproportionately impacted by higher energy costs. Many are unable to increase their income through work, and many low-income households do not claim the benefits they are entitled to, so offering universal support for this group is the most logical thing to do.
There are already a range of benefits and financial support available for those who are struggling to pay their electricity and gas bills. This support is tax-free and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards. If you’re not sure what you’re entitled to, or whether you’re claiming the right benefits, please check here.
Special assistance for energy costs
For those who require extra support, the municipality of Groningen is providing additional ‘special assistance’ (bijzondere bijstand) to reduce the costs associated with home energy bills, on top of what it has already provided since the beginning of this year. Moreover, the municipality says it will no longer look at your assets when determining whether you are eligible for this assistance, i.e. it will not take into account your savings and other property. It WILL consider your overall income, however. If your earnings are above 120% of the social assistance standard, then the municipality will calculate how much you can still pay yourself.
You can apply for the special assistance via the municipality website. Because your savings and other properties are irrelevant, you can fill in ‘no’ or ‘€ 0.00’ when answering questions about your assets. When applying for the special assistance, you must have the following documents on hand ready for upload to complete your application:
- Final bill from your energy company. If this is unavailable yet: supporting documents of the old and new advance amount
- Confirmation of income
- Copy of bank statement or debit card to verify your account number
Check out help from your energy provider
Energy suppliers are also providing tips on how to save on energy, so take a look at the website of your energy provider to see if anything is helpful to you.
You can also get advice on your financial situation through the Groningse Kredietbank’s free consultation, which is a free support service offered by the financial institution to help people in vulnerable situations.
To make sure you are getting all the support on offer and to read more about the government’s cost of living support please go to the Help Package webpage to find out more.