Students could win case to claim energy allowance, say legal experts


The one-off €800 energy allowance for people on low incomes should also be granted to students and if they make their case in court they would win, legal experts have said.

Currently the government guideline for local councils is to exclude students, as well as  youngsters up to 21, the homeless and people who live in an institution.

The government says this is because students’ living situations are very diverse and so are their energy costs. However, that is not a justifiable ground for exclusion, legal expert Willy Heesen told current affairs programme Nieuwsuur.

It may well be their particular situation does not make them eligible for the allowance but it is illegal to exclude them as a group and they could easily win if they took the matter to court, Heesen said. Other experts consulted by Nieuwsuur confirmed students stand an good chance of winning.

Student union LSVb said some students struggling to pay their energy bills. ‘Some are paying up to €80 more a month, and for students that is a big amount,’ union chairwoman Ama Boahene said.

A social affairs ministry spokesman said the legislation, which is still to be approved by parliament, does not exclude any group but does contain advisory guidelines which councils can follow or not, as they choose.

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