Starting in January, thousands of Czech residents will face changes to their housing benefits, which are expected to decrease by 1,400 to 2,800 Czech koruna. The normative, or standards, will be reduced from which the housing benefits are calculated. This change will render many people ineligible for the benefit, while many others will see their benefits shrink.
This reduction of housing norms is due to the end of an increase approved for 2022 and 2023 due to the energy crisis. According to Jakub Augusta, a Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs spokesperson, “the situation with energy is now expected to improve.”
The Ministry anticipates that only a few recipients will lose their housing benefits. However, considering that as of last October, nearly 267,000 households were receiving the benefit, even a small percentage translates to thousands or tens of thousands of people.
For example, if the change affected just four percent of recipients, that would equate to over 10,500 households. Moreover, many more families will see their benefits reduced.
According to Lenka Desatová, the chairwoman of the Council of Seniors, the impact will be significant. Although energy prices have stabilized, they are still higher than before, and many people’s fixed rates are ending or have ended.
Despite the reductions, Alena Zieglerová from the Institute for Social Inclusion explains that the change is understandable. “It is necessary to slow down the circle of applicants for the benefit so that it is not too high in income. When the norms are slowed down, high-income people will not reach it,” she states.
The Ministry is currently not considering another increase in the norms, but they are continually analyzing the situation and are prepared to respond appropriately. The Ministry is focusing on an overall revision of the benefits system.