Money For Members

EXPLAINED: How consumers in Germany can get an extra €502 for heating costs

Sarah Magill
Sarah Magill - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How consumers in Germany can get an extra €502 for heating costs
A calculator with a button labelled "heating costs" lies on top of a pile of euro notes. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/DVFG / AdobeStock | studio v-zwoelf

Germany’s Federal Employment Agency is offering those struggling to pay their heating bills the chance to apply for a one-off monthly payment of €502. Here’s what you need to know.


Over the last year, the sharp rise in energy costs has become a major burden for households in Germany.

In many cases, however, heating bills for 2022 have not yet reached consumers, as these often come in the form of a Nachzahlung (back payment) at the beginning of the year.


But as high inflation has eaten up the financial reserves of many households and with some of the government’s relief measures - such as the gas price cap - not yet in force, many households in Germany may still end up struggling to pay their heating bills.

Now, Germany’s Federal Employment Agency (BA) has stepped in, by offering a one-off payment of the so-called Bürgergeld or citizen’s income.

READ ALSO: Germany reaches agreement on Bürgergeld - with a couple of catches

What are the conditions?

According to the BA website, people can claim a one-time payment of the citizens’ allowance of €502 if they can no longer provide for themselves due to high heating costs.

"This may be the case if heating costs have to be paid in arrears or fuel supplies have to be bought in this month," the BA website states.

To claim the money, applicants will need to:

  • show that their income is not sufficient to pay the bill(s) they have been issued, with proof such as payment receipts and bills for high heating costs and proof of monthly income
  • be at least 15 years old 
  • be capable of working (able to work at least three hours a day)
  • have maximum assets of €15,000 per person in the household
  • be a resident of Germany

How and when can you apply?

Those wanting to apply for the relief payment can submit an application on the website of the German Jobcentre.

This form of support has been available since January 1st, 2023 - the date on which Hartz IV was also replaced by the new citizens' income - and will be available until December 31st, 2023.

The application does not have to be made in the month in which the heating expenses or bills are due - it can also be made retroactively for up to three months. For example, if you had to make a large additional payment in January 2023, you can still apply for assistance until April 2023.

What other measures are there to help with heating bills?

Those who don’t qualify for the one-off citizens' allowance payment will soon benefit from the electricity and gas price brake, which is due to come into force in March. The price cap will be set at 12 cents per kilowatt hour for gas, 40 cents for electricity, and 9.5 cents for district heating. In each case, this price will apply to 80 percent of a customer's estimated usage for the year, while the rest will be charged at market price. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Which German benefits are increasing in 2023 - and how do I claim them?



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