Munich: Energy saving hotline advises on help from the heat fund – Munich

The newly set up energy advice hotline of Diakonie Munich recorded around 280 calls in the first week. “We were very busy,” says Kerstin Reichhart, who manages the new offer. “The intensity of the talks was very high.” The hotline is intended to make it easier for Munich residents on low incomes who do not receive basic income, social assistance or benefits for asylum seekers to receive help from the heat fund set up by the city and Stadtwerke München (SWM).

Since this Monday, one week after the hotline was launched, applications for support from the 20 million euro fund can now also be submitted heat fund be asked. Anyone who receives housing benefit or child allowance or has a gray Munich Passport is eligible. Anyone who receives Bafög or vocational training allowance and runs their own household is entitled to apply for help of 700 euros for individuals and 300 euros for each additional person in the household.

In addition, there are all households whose income is below the Munich poverty risk threshold but who do not yet receive social benefits, because the job center or the social security office takes over the heating costs. The risk of poverty threshold is 1540 euros net for a one-person household, 2310 euros net for a two-person household and 2770 euros for a family with one child under the age of 14. The Department of Social Affairs estimates that between 10,000 and 20,000 households could be eligible.

Anyone with internet access can do this Download the six-page application form and the three-page completion guide and find out about the necessary documents. The completed application must be handed in in person, either in one of the twelve social community centers or in one of the 17 facilities of the welfare associations, which also check the application and documents. However, it is already clear that there is a need for advice.

The energy advice hotline of the Diakonie (telephone 126991-5150), which can be reached Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., received 50 to 80 calls a day in the first week. A trained team of two full-time and three part-time employees not only gives advice on the phone about the heat fund, but also about other things, such as the municipal electricity cost subsidy. 95 to 98 percent of the calls in the first week were about the heat fund, and there were also isolated questions about housing benefit, says Kerstin Reichhart.

Kerstin Reichhart manages the energy advice hotline of the Diakonie Munich and Upper Bavaria, which advises on the application for the heat fund.

(Photo: Diakonie Munich and Upper Bavaria)

“Predominantly older citizens” reported that many of them had no access to the Internet. “They are happy about the information and are very grateful for the advice, but also have a need to speak”, for example about their problems and fears. If it turns out that the pension is hardly enough to live on, the advisors also point out the basic security in old age and encourage people to have their entitlement checked. But the focus is on the help from the heat fund.

“We check whether the callers are authorized and go through the application step by step with them so that the necessary documents are complete.” For example, the applicant must also be the recipient of the heating bill, which must be documented by submitting the last available bill. Otherwise, a power of attorney from the billing recipient is required. In the case of night storage heaters, the rental agreement is sufficient as proof if the electric heater is noted in it. It is very important to know that not only customers of Stadtwerke München can receive support, but anyone who lives in Munich.

Asset limits apply to aid from the heat fund

Only one application per household is possible for the year 2023, a further application can be made in 2024. It doesn’t matter when the application is submitted in the respective year, nobody need be afraid of going away empty-handed if they don’t submit the application in the first few months. To prevent misuse, all household members to whom the application applies are recorded in a database.

It is therefore important to have copies of ID cards for all adult household members, and proof of income is also required for everyone. If you receive housing benefit or child allowance, proof of income is not required, the notification is sufficient. Even owners of the gray Munich Pass are spared the need to prove their income because this check was already carried out when the pass was issued.

Asset limits also apply to the help from the heat fund: for adults 10,000 euros each, children 500 euros each. This can result in hardship, explains Kerstin Reichhart, if the assets are slightly above the limit but there is little income. For example, with older people who would have saved for their care or their funeral. In cases of hardship, attempts are made to help with foundation funds.

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