The Dutch energy allowance is a one-off payment of €800 to mitigate financial hardship caused by rising energy costs.
While the legislative amendment is based on needs still to be discussed in the House of Representatives and the Senate (Tweede en Eerste Kamer), you can already apply for the allowance.
That is if you’re not under the age of 21, homeless, live in an institution, or — wait for it — a student. 🙃
In an explanatory memorandum, the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) advised that the above groups are excluded from the allowance.
However, legal experts don’t agree, reports the NOS.
Justification for exclusion wouldn’t hold up in court
Legally, there needs to be a “justified ground” that explains why a law shouldn’t apply to a certain group of people. Now, while that is the case for the three other groups, it’s not so for students, says legal expert Willy Heesen.
In the explanatory memorandum, the VNG simply says that students should not receive an energy allowance because their living arrangements are “very diverse, also in terms of energy costs and bills.”
READ MORE | 10 dang smart ways to save on energy costs in the Netherlands
However, Heesen insists that “students do not live differently from non-students. All forms of housing that are used by students — with parents, independently, or in rooms — are also used by non-students.”
Not every student will qualify for the allowance, but it’s still not legal to exclude an entire group of people without proper justification.
So what are the odds of winning a case?
The short of the long? Students who would qualify for the allowance if it wasn’t for their education could make a legal case against their municipality. 👀
In fact, Heesen says they have a good chance of winning.
And that’s no insignificant feat as an increasing number of students in the Netherlands are struggling to make ends meet.
The National Student Union (LSVb) says they’ve “had a hotline where students report that they have to pay about €50 to €80 extra per month. Especially for students who often don’t have a lot of money, that is an enormous amount.”
You don’t say. 😅
Would you go to court over the energy allowance? Tell us in the comments below!