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ENERGY

Denmark to offer heating subsidies to low income households

Around 500,000 households in various parts of Denmark can apply for assistance paying sky-high heating bills this winter.

A file photo of a Danish energy metre. The government is to release funds for low income households to apply for subsidies to help pay rising heating bills.
A file photo of a Danish energy metre. The government is to release funds for low income households to apply for subsidies to help pay rising heating bills. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Homes in areas heated by gas boilers or district heating with high gas consumption could see increases in monthly bills of up to 1,000 kroner, the Ministry of Employment said in a press statement.

The government has announced funds of 100 million kroner to be earmarked to help low-income households in affected areas to pay the high bills. Municipalities will be able to apply for the funding. Local authorities would then use the money to directly subsidise residents, the ministry said. Individual residents can already apply for the subsidies through their municipalities, minister for climate, energy and critical supplies Dan Jørgensen told broadcaster DR.

The announcement comes with high oil prices pushing up energy costs for consumers globally.

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Under the proposed government initiative, the money could be used to offer subsidies to people receiving the basic state pension (folkepension) and welfare benefits (kontanthjælp) who are impacted by the price rises.

The government has also agreed with industry representative organisation Dansk Fjernvarme to spread escalating bills incrementally, according to the ministry statement. This will mean price increases will not be added to a single bill but be spread over the year. Bills are normally highest during the winter months.

“We are in an extraordinary situation whereby the price of gas for heating has increased so much that large bills can result in some areas. Not everyone can afford such an unseen expense, which is why the government has prepared a heating package that can help ease the blow from some of the price increases,” Jørgensen said in the government statement.

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MONEY

Boligstøtte: Who can claim Denmark’s national rent subsidy?

Residents of Denmark can in some cases apply for ‘boligstøtte’ (“housing support”), a reduction on their monthly rent.

Boligstøtte: Who can claim Denmark's national rent subsidy?

What is boligstøtte? 

Boligstøtte is a tax-free sum which people who live in rented housing can – in some cases – qualify for. It provides a subsidy to rent.

The subsidy is available to anyone who rents their home, provided the home meets certain criteria and the household income is under a certain level.

For example, your rental home must have its own kitchen (which would rule out student housing with shared kitchens, termed kollegier in Danish) and you must live permanently in the property.

Homeowners can also be entitled to apply for boligstøtte under certain circumstances. In such cases, the boligstøtte is a loan and not a subsidy, however.

The size of the subsidy – the amount of money you receive each month – depends on the overall income of the household (the total of the incomes of all wage earners at the address), the number of children and adults who live at the address, the amount of rent and the size of the house or apartment.

Boligstøtte is paid out on the first working day of each month.

How do I know if I’m entitled to boligstøtte?

Most people can apply for boligstøtte if they live in rented housing. There are a few living situations that can disqualify you, such as if you live with the owner of the property (including as a tenant) or if you own the property yourself and rent part of it.

You can, however, apply for the subsidy if you live in a property owned by your parents and pay rent to them (known as a forældrekøb – “parent purchase” – in Danish).

You can also apply for boligstøtte if you are sub-letting your house or flat, although the person sub-letting to you might have to change their address in order to avoid their income being taken into account in your application.

People who own their homes can receive bolistøtte (as a subsidy, not as a loan as detailed above) if they receive the state pension folkepension, or disability pension, førtidspension.

How and where do I apply?

You can submit an application via the borger.dk website at this link. The application platform will ask you to submit a rental contract and other documentation for your claim to be processed.

If you’re applying after moving to a new address, you must have registered your change of address with the national personal registry prior to applying. This can be done here. If you apply within 30 days of moving, the subsidy will be effective from the date you moved in. Otherwise, it will count from the first day of the following month from when you submit your application.

The processing time for the application can be up to seven weeks. You’ll receive a confirmation of your application via your Digital Mail inbox, and you will also receive notification here once the application has been processed.

By how much can I reduce my rent?

This depends on the various factors on which your eligibility is calculated – for some, you will not qualify to receive any subsidy at all.

There are five criteria upon which your eligibility – and the amount you receive – is calculated. They are the income of the household; the savings or fortune of people in the household; number of children and adults living at the address; size of the home (in square metres) and amount of rent paid.

You will receive more money if you have more children. For example, people who live in rented homes and are not receiving the state pension can get up to 1,039 kroner per month if they have no children; up to 3,654 kroner per month if they have 1-3 children; and up to 4,568 kroner per month if they have 4 children or more.

The borger.dk website has a tool on which you can estimate your boligstøtte here.

Source: borger.dk

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