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UNEMPLOYMENT

Vienna’s Labour Market Service (AMS) abused daily by the city’s unemployed

Employees of Vienna's Labour Market Service (AMS) have reported that abuse and assault have become a daily occurence in their line of work. In 2016 alone, there were 750 individual reports of verbal assault experienced via their hotline or in person at one of the many AMS locations around the city.

Vienna's Labour Market Service (AMS) abused daily by the city's unemployed
Photo: Günta/Wikimedia
 
Statistically this rounds out to about three attacks per day, which allegedly tend to be brought on by missed appointments or sparked by the suspension of unemployment benefits. Yet, despite everything from rude e-mails to all-out bomb threats, those behind this public amenity still persist in their mission to facilitate unemployed individuals in finding their way back into the workforce. 
 
According to a recent interview with Radio Wien, AMS chief Petra Draxl stated, “it's our duty to calm people down and to deescalate, it goes with the territory.” AMS employees are even specifically trained for these types of situations. 
 
The organization works closely with the police, but only calls them in extreme cases. Any perpetrators who commit more than one offense are simply banned. Draxl says, “we've been operating under the same concept for years. There are security personnel at each of our locations, in all regional branch offices. We have a very sophisticated safety design.”
 
However, attempts at theft and burglary are still on the rise. On this note, Draxl stated, “it does bear repeating that there is nothing to steal. There is no cash to be found here [and] as it turned out, there was never really anything taken.”

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ENERGY

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

The City of Vienna is expanding its group of homes that can receive an energy cost voucher by the end of the year. Here's what you need to know.

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

Austria’s capital Vienna is expanding a program to subsidise part of the energy bills of around 200,000 eligible households, the City said in a press release.

“Energy costs are difficult for many Viennese to cope with in the current situation. We are helping those who need the support most urgently – and we are doing so in a targeted manner by settling outstanding bills with energy providers”, City Councillor for Social Affairs Peter Hacker said.

The City has already agreed with state-run energy company Wien Energie that, from December 2022 to February 2023, no electricity, gas or heat shutdowns will happen – regardless of any payment issues.

READ ALSO: From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

Now, a group of more vulnerable people can apply for Energy Support Plus to get up to €500 in aid with their energy bills.

The following people can apply online at wien.gv.at for Energy Support Plus: Recipients of Vienna minimum income (Bezieher*innen von Wiener Mindestsicherung), housing assistance (Wohnbeihilfe), AIVG benefits (AIVGLeistungen), a compensatory or supplementary allowance (einer Ausgleichs- oder Ergänzungszulage), GIS-exempt persons and low-income earners (GIS-Befreite und Geringverdienende) who are covered by the cost cap of the Renewable Expansion Act, those entitled to sickness benefit (Krankengeld), rehabilitation benefit (Rehabilitationsgeld), reintegration benefit (Wiedereingliederungsgeld) or transitional allowance (Übergangsgeld).

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to keep energy bills down in Austria

Applications can be submitted until December 31st, 2022. The maximum subsidy amount is €500 per household.

The service telephone of the Department for Social Affairs, Social and Health Law, is available at 01/4000-8040 for information and assistance with applications. Wien Energie’s customer service also offers personal assistance with the application process at Spittelau.

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