Aids and Relief Packages



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.

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

Due to rising energy costs, it is necessary to give tenants in Berlin security with regard to their apartments and commercial premises. To improve tenant protection and prevent the loss of apartments, the Berlin Senate has passed a moratorium on terminations at municipal housing companies. This provides that terminations of residential or commercial leases due to payment arrears resulting from increased energy costs are excluded, as are evictions of occupied apartments. In addition, individual deferral options can be agreed in the event of rent arrears. Furthermore, the state-owned housing companies will forego rent increases for the duration of the moratorium. Rent increases already agreed with effect from November 1, 2022 will be withdrawn by the state-owned housing companies.

The regulations will initially apply to all municipal housing companies, including Berlinovo, until the end of 2023. This will protect around 750,000 Berliners in over 360,000 tenancies in the city from losing their homes due to high energy prices. Annual rent increases of up to 2.9 percent are possible from 2024.

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. Applications for heating cost assistance can be submitted online via the website of the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) until October 20, 2023. Landlords are obligated to pass on the subsidy to their tenants with the next operating costs statement.

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 & Social Ticket

Between October 2022 and April 2023, a 29-euro ticket valid in the Berlin AB fare zone was offered. The Senate is currently working on an attractive follow-up solution for the 29-euro ticket, which is to be available for purchase as an annual subscription from early summer 2024.

In addition, the price of the Berlin Social Ticket (Berlin-Ticket S) will be temporarily reduced from €27.50 to €9 per month. The price reduction is valid for the period from January 1 to April 30, 2023, and helps to ensure the mobility and participation of people with little money against the backdrop of sharply rising living costs. Berliners who receive state benefits such as citizen’s income (Bürgergeld), social welfare, basic security benefit (Grundsicherung), housing benefit, benefits under the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act or victim’s pensions are eligible. In order to receive the Social Ticket, you need proof of eligibility and a “VBB-Kundenkarte Berlin-S”, which you can apply for online at the BVG. If it is not possible for you to apply via the online application portal of the BVG, you can apply for the “VBB-Kundenkarte Berlin S” in writing. The aim is to continue offering a reduced-price Berlin Ticket S beyond 2023.

Federal Relief Packages

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 price brake and a gas and heating price brake. Both energy price brakes were launched in March 2023 and will apply retroactively from January 2023. The relief will take effect automatically for customers.

The electricity price brake is to 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 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.

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.

Cultural Fund Energy

Since mid-March, cultural institutions and cultural organizers have been able to submit applications for the federal government’s Cultural Fund Energy. The fund is intended to mitigate the impact of the energy crisis on the cultural sector. Up to one billion euros is available for this purpose for the years 2023 and 204. The additional costs for grid-related electricity as well as grid-based energy sources will be funded on a pro rata basis under the Cultural Fund Energy. Applications can be submitted retroactively at between January 1, 2023 and April 30, 2024.

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