The state helps Russians save on housing and communal services
At the beginning of 2023, tariffs for housing and communal services (HCS) increased by an average of nine percent in Russia. Against this background, for some families, paying rent receipts becomes a significant expense item. However, not all Russians know that they can take advantage of government help and pay less for utilities.
Large families, people with insufficient income, military personnel, pensioners and several other categories of citizens can apply for support. Especially for them, the country has not one, but a whole series of preferential programs. Who can count on help and what needs to be done to pay less for gas, electricity, water and major repairs, says Lenta.ru as part of the “You Have the Right” project.
What will help you save on utilities?
There are two main types of government support when paying for housing and communal services – benefits and subsidies. The benefit is given for a long time – for example, for veterans it is valid for life; and if we are talking about large familiesthen until one of the children turns 18 years old.
Benefits help you save a significant amount. On average, benefits can reduce utility costs by 30-50 percent. Categories of beneficiaries are determined at the federal and regional levels. However, there is no single law in the country that would regulate the list of such groups. Information is contained in separate regulations. For example, in Federal laws “About Veterans” or “On social protection of disabled people”. It specifies the amount of discounts for beneficiaries and the conditions for receiving them.
Who is entitled to federal benefits for housing and communal services?
Federal benefits do not depend on the place of residence and are fixed; they are provided by:
— participants of the Great Patriotic War;
— Heroes of Socialist Labor, Heroes of Labor of the Russian Federation and full holders of the Order of Labor Glory;
— Heroes of the USSR and the Russian Federation, full holders of the Order of Glory;
— combat veterans;
– military personnel;
– residents of besieged Leningrad;
– Chernobyl victims and their widows;
— teaching staff, managers, deputy heads, heads of structural units and their deputies in rural schools;
– disabled people of groups I, II, III.
In different regions of Russia, this list can be supplemented at their discretion – for example, they can establish their own benefits for large families, pensioners, single parents, low-income citizens, orphans or children in the care of relatives. There are also benefits for honorary donors, rural doctors, labor veterans, home front workers and more. A complete list for a specific region can be found on the local government website.
Who gets a 50 percent discount on utilities?
For professional military personnel and their families have a right pay half the cost of housing and communal services at the place of registration. The same rules apply to conscripts during their military service.
If you have served for more than 20 years, you can qualify for a utility payment benefit in the amount of 30-60 percent of the amount – the exact figure will depend on regional legislation. If a military man dies during his service, the state will fully compensate his close relatives for utility costs.
50 percent less they have a right disabled people of all groups, as well as families with disabled children, pay housing and communal services bills.
What is compensated for disabled people:
- payment for water supply, electricity and wastewater disposal in an apartment building;
- utilities according to meters within the limits of standards;
- expenses for waste removal;
- payment for fuel in houses without central heating;
- expenses for maintaining and repairing housing if the family rents it from the state;
- contributions for major repairs (the benefit is valid for disabled people of groups I and II and families with children with disabilities).
The income of Russians with disabilities does not affect the provision and size of benefits. A person with disabilities, a legal representative of a disabled child, or a guardian of an incapacitated disabled person can receive them in the form of monetary compensation for paid utilities.
Another category of Russians who can count for compensation of 50 percent of expenses for utilities and major repairs – combat veterans. Moreover, the benefit applies not only to the housing that such people own, but also to the apartment or house they rent.
Are there those who can avoid paying for utilities at all?
Yes, the state has completely exempted some Russians from paying utility bills. Three categories of citizens – Heroes of Labor of Russia, Heroes of Socialist Labor and full holders of the Order of Labor Glory – may not pay their apartment bills at all from their own funds. Other groups are entitled to discounts or compensation.
Large families can save at least 30 percent on utility bills – this guarantees Federal Law “On measures for social support of large families.”
Russians with ten or more children receive a 50 percent discount. Regional authorities can increase the discount amount, but do not have the right to make the figure lower than that established at the state level.
The discount for families with many children applies to payment:
- gas supply;
For contributions for capital repairs of buildings, such a discount most often does not apply.
If you live in a private house and are not connected to central heating, then you will be compensated for part of the cost of the fuel needed for heating.
Are there any discounts for pensioners?
Regional and local authorities are responsible for this. They are the ones who are looking for ways to ease the financial burden on retirees. Most often, they offer to reduce utility costs with the help of subsidies – that is, the pensioner is compensated for part of the costs of housing and communal services after the actual payment of bills. The amount of such payment depends on expenses calculated according to the standards accepted in the region.
For example, in St. Petersburg, pensioners can reimburse 50 percent of housing and utility costs if they have worked in the city for at least 20 years and have a work experience of 40 years (women) or 45 years (men). In some Russian regions, similar compensation for contributions for major repairs is provided for citizens over 70 years of age.
In addition, an additional discount is given for age. Thus, in Moscow, people over 80 years of age do not have to pay for garbage collection – they are completely exempt from paying for this service. In St. Petersburg, people over 80 years of age do not need to make contributions for major repairs, but for this they must own the apartment.
If your utilities cost too much money, try getting a subsidy
You don’t have to be a benefit recipient to save on utility bills. The state has also provided a subsidy for those who spend too much on housing and communal services. The mechanism is this: first you need to pay the entire amount of the rent, and then the state will return part of it. The payment is issued for six months, and then extended if necessary.
To receive a subsidy to pay for housing and communal services, you need to prove that too large a percentage of your income goes to them
Both a family and a person living separately can apply for support. Each region sets its own share of allowable expenses for housing and communal services. The maximum figure in Russia is 22 percent. This value is established in 58 regions of the country. In another 24 regions, the reason to apply for a subsidy is the fact that you spend 15-21 percent of your income on utilities. In three regions, the share of spending on housing and communal services, which allows you to claim a subsidy, may be even less – up to 15 percent. Among them is Moscow, where the lowest figure is 10 percent. For residents of the neighboring Moscow region, the threshold is more than twice as high (22 percent).
Fine. How to get this miracle subsidy?
In addition to proving that utility bills are costly, you must satisfy several conditions:
- the person applying for the subsidy must be registered in the apartment, room or house for which this subsidy is provided to pay for utilities – without registration, the payment will not be approved, even if you live in the apartment and pay for it;
- Housing must meet area standards – a sufficient number of square meters is required for each person. Regions themselves set such standards, so they may differ in different cities. In Moscow, one resident must have at least 33 square meters, a family of two people – 42 square meters, and a family of three or more people – 18 square meters each.
Applying for a subsidy is not difficult – you need to contact the MFC or the city center for housing subsidies and collect a small package of documents. The future recipient of payments will need:
- passports of the applicant and all members of his family, birth certificates of children under 14 years of age;
- a document on the ownership of housing or a social tenancy agreement;
- information about income or lack thereof, and 2-NDFL will not work – the subsidies department will ask for a certificate of employment in the form of the enterprise;
- housing and communal services receipt for the last month;
- application for a subsidy;
- details of the bank account to which the compensation will be sent.
And who won’t be given such a subsidy?
Firstly, to those who do not meet the requirements described in the chapter above. And secondly, to those who have no income without a good reason.
If you do not receive income due to a long illness, the authorities will take this into account. As proof, you will be asked to present a certificate of temporary disability.
It is also important to know that the subsidy will be denied if you have a utility debt, the amount of which is so large that the court has already made a decision to collect it.
It turns out that water and electricity meters can be installed for free. This is true?
Yes, and many Russians don’t know about it. Utility providers usually do not tell apartment owners that they can install and replace meters for free. Therefore, you need to check whether you are entitled to such a benefit yourself.
Depending on the region, the following may qualify for the benefit:
- the poor;
- participants of the Great Patriotic War of all categories;
- home front workers;
- widows of participants in the Great Patriotic War;
- disabled people of groups I and II and families raising a child with health limitations;
- renters of municipal apartments.
To secure your right to free installation, you need to submit an application to the management company. A copy of the document confirming the right to the benefit must be attached to the application.
However, there is a nuance: only the installation of the meter itself will be free; you will have to buy the equipment at your own expense – it costs on average from 850 to 2,500 rubles. At the same time, the management company does not have the right to bill for sealing the device – according to the law, this is its responsibility and is carried out free of charge.
What costs can you reduce on your own?
Russians can save on gas, water and electricity bills on their own. The easiest and most affordable way is to start using energy-saving light bulbs and install water and electricity meters in your apartment. Metering devices can reduce costs by about one and a half to two times, social security experts say.
An individual meter will help you really save on resource consumption
lawyer at the European Legal Service, specializing in social security law
The most effective way to reduce electricity costs is to use a multi-tariff meter – thanks to the night tariff, you will have to pay several times less for using the resource.
In addition, Russians can exclude from the single payment document the fee for a radio point and a collective antenna if the TV operates via the Internet. Refusal of these services will save more than 300 rubles per month.
Another costly service is maintaining a garbage chute in an apartment building. By removing it from your paycheck, you can reduce expenses by an average of 1,000 rubles per year. However, it will not be possible to make such a decision alone, since the garbage chute is considered community property. If at a meeting of owners more than 50 percent of residents recognize the garbage chute as unnecessary, the management company will be obliged to carry out the necessary set of works – most often, utility workers simply weld the garbage chutes.
In some situations, you have the right not to pay for garbage removal – for example, if you go on vacation or on a business trip. Request a recalculation from the management company if you were away from home for a long time (more than 5 days) and did not throw out garbage. In this case, you need to provide documents that confirm that you were not at home – tourist vouchers or air tickets will do.
This can be done both by residents of apartment buildings, where garbage removal tariffs are calculated based on the number of registered residents, and by residents of buildings, where the calculation depends on the area of residential premises.