Aids and Relief Packages

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Rising energy prices pose considerable challenges for many households and businesses. Relief and hardship schemes are being prepared and already implemented at both federal and state level. Information on aids and relief packages for businesses and corporations is available on a separate page.

Berlin Relief Package

To cushion high energy prices, the Berlin Senate has planned a crisis fund. Some measures have already been implemented. Further support is currently being worked on. Particular focus is placed on low-income households and groups of people in need of assistance.

We will not leave Berliners to manage alone. We take care of those who are particularly affected by high energy prices and inflation. We are also supporting companies and businesses as well as the social infrastructure. We will get Berlin through this crisis well.

Governing Mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey

Moratorium on Terminations and Waiver of Rent Increase by the Municipal Housing Companies

Due to rising energy costs, tenants in Berlin need security with regard to their apartments and commercial premises. To improve tenant protection and prevent evictions, the Berlin Senate has passed a moratorium on terminations for tenants of the municipal housing companies. This moratorium prevents terminations of residential or commercial leases due to payment arrears resulting from increased energy costs and evictions of occupied apartments. In addition, individual deferral options can be negotiated in the event of arrears in rent payments. Furthermore, the state-owned housing companies will forego rent increases for the duration of the moratorium.

These regulations will initially apply until the end of 2023 for all municipal housing companies, including Berlinovo. This will protect around 700,000 Berliners in over 340,000 tenancies in the city from losing their homes due to high energy prices. The Berlin Senate is appealing to landlords in the private housing sector to join the moratorium.

Hardship Fund for Energy Debts

With the Hardship Fund for Energy Debts, the Berlin Senate supports households that are threatened by energy cut-offs due to the unexpected spikes in energy prices resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The fund is available in particular to low-income households that cannot cover their energy debts out of their own income. An online application procedure was created for this purpose. This enables citizens to submit an application quickly and easily, so that blocks can be lifted or prevented rapidly. The application procedure is available on the service portal of the Land of Berlin (in German).

The Hardship Fund for Energy Debts is a voluntary benefit provided by the Land for low-income households. It supplements social benefits where these are not effective or would lead to debt. It is paid out once and relies on affected people contacting the energy debt counselling service or energy budget counselling service to prevent future hardship.

Information and advice for households who are unable to pay their bills due to the increased energy costs can be found in the FAQ section.

Heating Cost Subsidy for Oil, Pellet, Coal and Liquid Gas Heating Systems

In view of the energy crisis, Berlin is the first German state to offer households and businesses a 75 million euro heating cost subsidy for oil, pellet, coal and liquid gas heating systems. In Berlin, this affects around 330,000 households.

The heating cost subsidy is a one-time grant that must be applied for by the owners. Households and businesses whose energy costs in 2022 were more than 1.7 times higher than in 2021 can apply for heating cost assistance. The amount of the subsidy is 80 percent of the costs exceeding 1.7 times the 2021 costs.

The heating cost assistance is only paid out from an amount of 100 euros. The maximum grant amount is 2,000 euros. The application for heating cost assistance is possible online on the website of the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) from January 31, 2023. Landlords are obligated to pass on the subsidy to their tenants with the next operating costs statement.
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Calculation example:*

A household spent 1000 euros on heating with coal in 2021. In 2022, the heating bill amounted to 2200 euros while energy consumption remained the same. This corresponds to an increase by a factor of 2.2, whereas an increase by a factor of 1.7 would only amount to 1700 euros. The household is therefore eligible to apply for the heating cost subsidy. The grant amounts to 80% of the difference between 2200 and 1700, i.e. 80% of 500 euros. Thus, the household receives 400 euros.

Network of Warmth

With a network of warmth, Berlin is sending out a signal for solidarity in times of crisis. The Network of Warmth creates places for exchange, encounters and advisory services in the neighborhoods in order to help Berliners better cope with the energy crisis and get through the winter well. Under the motto “It’s better together!” doors are opened, offers are extended and common moments are shared.

The network was launched with the signing of the Charter of Warmth on November 04, 2022 in Berlin City Hall by representatives from the domains of culture, social work, trade and business as well as banks, labor unions, religious communities and migrant organizations. Since the launch, the network is being expanded step by step.

29-Euro Ticket

For the period from 01 October until the introduction of the Deutschlandticket, but at the longest until 30 April 2023, a 29-euro ticket valid in the Berlin AB fare zone was introduced as a season ticket.

With the 29-Euro-Ticket, the Berlin Senate is ensuring a temporary solution between the nationwide 9-Euro-Ticket and its possible successor. The 29-Euro-Ticket ensures mobility for all population groups in Berlin during the fall and winter months. Subscribers will have a special right of termination at the end of the promotional period. Detailed information on the 29-Euro-Ticket can be found in the FAQ section.

At the federal level, preparations are currently underway to introduce a nationwide local transport ticket – the Germany Ticket – for 49 euros.

Federal Relief Packages

Several relief packages have already been adopted at the federal level to mitigate the financial impact of high energy costs for citizens.

The relief packages comprise a number of relief measures for citizens. Here are the most important points at a glance:

  • On 1 July 2022, the EEG (Renewable Energy Sources Act) levy, which promotes the expansion of renewable energies, will no longer apply. It was 3.27 cents per kilowatt hour. For a family of four, this means an annual saving of up to €300.
  • All employed persons subject to social insurance contributions and pensioners will receive a one-time energy price lump sum (EPP) of €300.
  • Families receive a one-off child bonus of €100 per child. In addition, child benefit was increased to €250 in 2023.
  • Children, teenagers and young adults affected by poverty will receive an additional €20 per month from July 1, 2022. Furthermore, the child supplement for single parents and families with a low income was increased to €250 per month. The child supplement must be applied for.
  • Students, vocational school students and welfare recipients will receive a one-off payment of €200.
  • Recipients of unemployment benefits will receive a one-off payment of €100.
  • Recipients of housing benefit will receive two one-time heating cost subsidies of €270 (€350 for two-person households, an additional €70 for each additional family member) and €415 (for a household with two persons: €540, plus €100 for each additional family member).
  • Students in an apprenticeship programme and Bafög recipients will receive twi one-time heating cost subsidies of €230 and €345.
  • The employee lump sum was increased from €1000 to €1200 with retroactive effect from January 1, 2022. Also effective from January 1, 2022, the basic tax-free allowance and the commuter’s tax allowance were increased to 10,347 euros and 38 cents respectively.
  • The 9-euro public transport ticket was offered in June, July and August of 2022. Plans for a nationwide local transport ticket are currently in the works.
  • The sales tax on gas has been reduced to 7 per cent until the end of March 2024.

Electricity and Gas Price Brakes

In order to protect citizens and the economy from excessive economic burdens due to rising energy costs and to ensure security of supply, the federal government has decided on erecting a so-called protective shield worth 200 billion euros. This includes an electricity and gas price brake.

The electricity price brake is to come into effect on January 01, 2023 and provide relief for households and businesses. For an amount of electricity equivalent to 80 percent of the previous year’s consumption, the electricity price is to be capped at 40 cents per kilowatt hour. The difference between this and the electricity price actually paid will be paid out as a premium, irrespective of actual energy consumption. This means that citizens and companies will continue to have clear energy-saving incentives.

The gas price brake is to be introduced on March 01, 2023. Currently, the aim is for it to have a retroactive effect from January 01, 2023. The gas price brake provides relief for 80 percent of the previous year’s consumption; consumption in excess of this will not be subsidized. Consumers receive direct relief through low monthly payments. Those who save gas can get money back with their annual bill. A price cap of 12 cents per kilowatt hour for gas and 9.5 cents per kilowatt hour for district heating is planned. The gas price brake applies to households and businesses with annual gas consumption of less than 1.5 million kilowatt hours, as well as care facilities, research and educational institutions.

Further details on the specific implementation of the electricity and gas price brake will be available here shortly.

Housing Benefit (Wohngeld Plus)

Since January 2023, significantly more households have been entitled to housing benefit. To cushion rising energy costs, this housing benefit now also includes a flat-rate allowance for heating and a flat-rate allowance for air-conditioning. These allowances are calculated per square meter and will be regularly reviewed and adjusted. The housing benefit reform thus makes a significant contribution to relieving the burden on citizens in view of the high housing and living costs in the energy crisis. Households can use the housing benefit calculator to quickly check whether they are entitled to receive the benefit.

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