Students can't be automatically excluded from energy allowance, court rules
Students should not be automatically excluded from the energy allowance for people with a low income. The municipality of Nijmegen had decided earlier this year that students were not eligible for the money, but the court in Arnhem rejected that on Friday. The court believes that Nijmegen makes an “unjustifiable distinction.”
Everyone in the Netherlands with a low income received extra money his year to help cope with the rapidly rising energy prices. Minister Carola Schouten (Poverty Reduction) advised helping students in a different way, namely through “individual special assistance.” Many students still live with their parents, and for many others, the energy costs are included in the rent of their room.
According to the court, that is not a good argument. Students also include people with the same income and energy costs as non-students. The latter group will receive the energy allowance, but the students will not. That was not the intention of the law on the allowance, the court ruled. Students can then receive individual assistance, but different conditions apply.
A student from Nijmegen filed the case. He said he "feels the effects of the increased energy prices and has little to spend.” At the beginning of April, the municipality approved him for the once-off energy allowance. But two weeks later, he received the message that it wasn’t happening. A mistake had been made, and as a student, he is not entitled to the money. Now that the judge ruled in his favor, he will receive the 800 euros allowance.
Student union LSVb is happy with the ruling. Chairman Joram van Velzen called it an important precedent. “It is now literally said that students should not be excluded from the allowance. Not only in Nijmegen, but also in other cities, they are entitled to compensation.” He wants the government to allocate money so students can still receive the energy allowance.
Reporting by ANP