SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

MONEY

ENERGY COSTS: How to claim financial support in Vienna

The City of Vienna has unveiled a new financial package to help low income households with soaring energy bills.

How will energy supplies be impacted by the Russia-Ukraine war? Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP
The City of Vienna has launched a new financial package to help with energy costs. Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

According to the City of Vienna, bills for electricity and gas will increase by around €500 in 2022 for the average Viennese household.

This is a worrying development for many residents but for those on low incomes it could lead to some tough financial decisions.

To help ease the burden, the City of Vienna has unveiled a new financial support package – on top of Vienna’s existing energy support fund and the recently announced Federal Government €2 billion cost of living relief fund.

The initiative in Vienna is called Wiener Energieunterstützung Plus (Vienna Energy Support Plus) and is specifically focused on energy costs. It is expected to help around 260,000 people in the city.

But what is it and how does it work?

READ MORE: Austria unveils €2 billion relief package to fight rising cost of living

What is in the support package?

The Vienna Energy Support Plus has been put together by the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and the New Austria Liberal Forum (NEOS). It is a financial aid package worth €125 million.

There are three pillars to the package: a one-off energy allowance (Wiener Energiekostenpauschale); financial help with paying bills and energy advice (Energieunterstützung Neu); and support with the installation of photovoltaics and other sustainable forms of energy.

The Energiekostenpauschale (energy cost flat rate) will involve eligible households receiving the €200 allowance into their bank account in June, or by postal order for those without a bank account. This package is worth €50 million and MA 40 (City of Vienna department for social and health law) will be responsible for distributing it.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why are fuel prices increasing faster in Austria than elsewhere in the EU?

The second pillar (Energieunterstützung Neu) is for people who find themselves in arrears or unable to pay energy bills. They are advised to contact the City of Vienna to apply for additional financial help through this package.

Energieunterstützung Neu (energy support new) is a €26 million fund that is available to support households with energy costs. However, in these cases the money would be transferred directly to the energy supplier to pay part or all of the bill, depending on the situation.

The third and final pillar in the package is aimed at financially supporting the renovation of old buildings, the installation of energy-efficient systems in new buildings and subsidies for sustainable energy systems across the city.

The City of Vienna is investing more than €48.3 million in this project with the aim to reduce energy costs for residents in the long term.

Who is eligible?

The financial support package is strictly aimed at supporting low income households. 

In Vienna, this means those on the minimum income (approximately 70,000 people), minimum pension (42,000 people), unemployment benefits (110,000) or housing assistance (40,000).

FOR MEMBERS: How will the war in Ukraine impact the cost of living in Austria?

According to Der Standard, the minimum income referred to by the City of Vienna is €977.94 per month for a single person or €733.46 per person per month for a couple, with €264.04 added for each child.

For those on a minimum pension, the rate is €1364.11 per month for singles and €1841.29 for couples.

People on unemployment benefits receive 60 percent of the last net salary, or 67 percent if they have children. Those on housing assistance earn less than €949.46 per month or €1425.53 for a couple.

Why is Vienna launching this support package now?

Energy costs have been rising across Europe for months due to inflation. This is now being exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

Unfortunately, people on low incomes are more likely to live in poorly insulated homes and spend more money on energy bills than the average household. As energy costs continue to rise this means more people could be forced to choose between paying for energy or food. 

There are particular concerns for the coming winter (2022/2023), which is reflected in the financial aid dedicated to helping households to transform their existing energy systems into more sustainable and cost-efficient systems.

Find out more about Vienna Energy Support Plus at the City of Vienna website.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

MONEY

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about Austria’s climate bonus payment

Residents in Austria will receive up to €200 to compensate for the increase in energy and fuel prices created by the eco-social tax reform. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about Austria's climate bonus payment

The climate bonus, or Klimabonus in German, is an essential part of Austria’s eco-tax reform, a larger project with several measures to incentivise environmental choices such as riding the public transport.

The bonus would offset some of the costs brought by a new CO2 tax in Austria.

READ ALSO: Austrian government unveils ‘eco’ tax reform

“With the Klimabonus, we ensure that climate-friendly behaviour is rewarded and the people in our country are relieved. If you take good care of the climate, you pay less CO2 tax and end up having more of this money left”, Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said on Twitter.

The Austrian government plans to set up a web site with more information on the bonus in June. Until then, here is what you need to know about the new compensation and how to get it.

Who is entitled to the payment?

Anyone who has had their primary residence in Austria for at least 183 days will be entitled to the bonus. Children are also entitled, but if they are younger than 18 years old, they will receive 50 per cent of the respective amount of the climate bonus.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get your €500 Kurzarbeit bonus in Austria

“This is the first time that all people, regardless of age, place of residence, regardless of employment or pension or training status, have received a federal payment,” said Gewessler on Friday in the Ö1 broadcast.

What is this ‘respective amount’?

Not everyone will receive the same amount of money. The value changes depending on where the recipient lives and what is the offer of public transport there. Viennese, then, will receive the lowest amount of money: a one-off € 100 payment.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to claim your €200 voucher for electronics repair in Austria

There are four levels of payment depending on the municipality: €100 for urban centres with the highest-ranking development (which is only Vienna), €233 for urban centres with good development of public transport, €167 in centres and surrounding areas with good basic development of the public system, and € 200 for rural municipalities.

If you live in Austria’s second-largest city, Graz, you fall into the second category and should expect a €133 bonus.

Some exceptions to the geographical rule apply, so people with disabilities who cannot use public transport will receive the total climate bonus (€200) regardless of where they live.

The Federal Government had already stated it estimated that a third of Austria’s population would receive the highest bonus.

How to get the bonus?

The payment is pretty straightforward; there is no need to apply for it, and it will be done directly into your bank account, just make sure that you have it up to date on the FinanzOnline website – the final date to do so is June 30th.

Those who receive a pension and other benefits will receive the bonus in that same bank account.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How freelancers in Austria can pay four times less in social insurance

It is worth mentioning that the bank account doesn’t necessarily need to be from an Austrian bank.

People who don’t have a registered bank account will receive a letter with a voucher that can be redeemed in shops or exchanged for cash at a bank, Gewessler said.

According to the Ministry, payments should start at the beginning of October, and those receiving a transfer will not have to wait for long to see the money in their bank accounts. However, people receiving letters with the vouchers could have to wait a few weeks.

SHOW COMMENTS