Social bonus for economic hardship
The social bonus (electricity and gas) is a saving tool on the cost of electricity and natural gas utilities aimed at helping families in conditions of economic hardship and large families. This tool was made operational by the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment (ARERA) and translates into the provision of a discount on the electricity and/or natural gas bill.
How to get the social bonus (new 2021)
From 1 January 2021, social bonuses for economic hardship are recognized automatically to citizens/families who are entitled to it, without them having to submit an application (Legislative Decree 124/2019, converted with amendment by Law 157/2019).
- domestic customers (i.e. the user owned by it must serve premises used for family homes) who are in a state of economic hardship and who are holders of an active electricity supply contract (i.e. the provision of the service must be in course; supplies temporarily suspended due to arrears are also considered active);
- direct domestic customers (i.e. it must serve premises used for family homes) who are in a state of economic hardship and who hold an active natural gas supply contract (i.e. the service must be provided in progress; they are considered active also supplies temporarily suspended due to arrears), with an installed meter of a class not higher than G6; furthermore, natural gas must be used for heating and/or cooking food and/or producing domestic hot water;
- indirect domestic customers who are in a state of economic hardship and who use a centralized supply of natural gas in their home (i.e. a condominium supply).
Is considered economic hardship, the condition of a domestic customer who belongs to:
- a family unit with ISEE indicator (Equivalent Economic Situation Indicator) not exceeding 9,530 euros, or
- a family unit with at least 4 dependent children (large family) and ISEE indicator not exceeding 20,000 euros (NOTE: Legislative Decree 34/2023 provides that, from the second quarter of 2023 until 31 December 2023 the ISEE threshold will be increased to 30,000 euros, in relation to the benefits granted to families with at least four dependent children), or
- a family unit in receipt of Citizenship Income or Citizenship Pension.
- limited to electricity and gas social bonuses, the threshold value of the ISEE for access to benefits for the year 2023 has been raised to 15,000 euros by Law 29 December 2022 n. 197
The state of economic hardship is certified by INPS on the basis of Single Substitute Declaration (DSU) presented by the direct and indirect domestic customer.
One of the members of the ISEE family unit must be the holder of an active electricity and/or natural gas supply contract with a tariff for domestic use, or benefit from an active condominium supply of natural gas.
=> Each family unit is entitled to only one bonus per type - electricity, gas - per year of competence of the DSU (so-called "uniqueness constraint").
What is needed to get the social bonus
For interested customers, in possession of the necessary requirements, it will be sufficient that every year, starting from 2021, the citizen/family unit presents the Single Self-Declaration (DSU) to obtain the ISEE certificate useful for the different subsidized social benefits (e.g. .: maternity allowance, school canteen, baby bonus etc.)
For further information on completing the DSU and requesting the ISEE, please refer to the INPS website ( LINK ).
If the family unit falls into one of the three conditions of economic hardship indicated above, INPS will send its data (in compliance with the privacy legislation and the provisions that the Authority has defined on the subject of automatic recognition of social bonuses for economic hardship) to the SII1 (Integrated Information System managed by the Single Buyer company) which will cross-reference the data received with that relating to the supply of energy, electricity and/or natural gas, thus allowing the bonuses to be automatically paid out to those entitled.
=> Any applications submitted from 1 January 2021 onwards therefore cannot be accepted by the Municipalities and CAFs and will in any case not be valid to obtain the bonus.
- Duration and procedure for recognition of the social bonus
The social bonus is recognized for 12 months.
From 2022, the procedure for recognizing social bonuses follows different times and methods for the 2 services (electricity and gas) and for the type of supply (direct or indirect).
- Direct supplies - electricity and gas
Ordinarily, following the presentation of the DSU by the citizen, in cases where the ISEE of the ISEE family unit falls within the thresholds for access to the bonus, the system usually takes around 1 month to:
- identify the direct supply registered to one of the ISEE family members (where existing);
- carry out the required eligibility checks on the supply;
- transmit to the competent operators the data necessary to pay the bonus on the bill to those entitled. The bonus must be applied by the competent operators in the first invoice issued following receipt of such data. The bonus quota proportional to the period of time to which the bill refers is applied to each bill. Therefore, the actual application of the bonus on the bill depends on the billing frequency of the competent operator.
- Centralized condominium gas supplies
- Direct supplies - electricity and gas
The timing for issuing the domiciliary bank transfer with which the social gas bonus for condominium supplies is recognized depends mainly on the times and methods (completeness and correctness) of the citizen's response to the communication with which he is asked to declare the identifying PDR of the condominium supply that serves the home of one of the members of the nucleus. In the event of a positive outcome of the checks on what was declared by the citizen, the bonus is recognized through the issue of a direct bank transfer which remains in payment until the end of the relevant facilitation period (indicated in the notification of recognition of the bonus) and can be collected by the beneficiary at any post office in the national territory.
Amount of the social bonus
The amount of the electricity social bonus is determined by ARERA according to current legislation and is differentiated based on the number of ISEE family members.
The amount of the gas social bonus is also determined by ARERA according to current legislation and is differentiated based on the climate zone to which the PDR belongs, the number of ISEE family members and the category of use associated with the supply.
=> For further details regarding the value of the bonus for economic hardship expected for the year 2023, please refer to the ARERA website (https://www.arera.it/it/consumatori/bonus_val.htm ).