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Are you eligible for Dutch welfare benefits?

Are you eligible for Dutch welfare benefits?

In the Netherlands there are a number of government benefits and allowances you can receive if you meet the requirements. What are they and how do you qualify?

The four possible benefits

There are four allowances you can receive from the Dutch government. They are:
Zorgtoeslag: Healthcare allowance
Huurtoeslag: Rent benefit
Kindgebonden budget: Child benefit
Kinderopvangtoeslag: Day care benefit

Requirements for Dutch healthcare allowance

In order to qualify for the Dutch healthcare allowance, you (and your fiscal partner) need to meet the following conditions:
You are at least 18 years old.
You have Dutch health insurance.
You have a valid residence permit.
You earn below a certain level (see below).

Income requirements for zorgtoeslag

For the majority of expats, whether or not you’re entitled to receive healthcare allowance will depend on your income. The Dutch tax authorities make a distinction between being single and having a household with two incomes.

If you don’t have a fiscal partner (toeslagpartner, see further down for explanation) your gross income may not exceed 27.012 euros per year (2016 guidelines). If you have a fiscal partner, your combined annual income cannot be more than 33.765 euros.

The healthcare allowance goes down as your salary increases. To see how much you may be entitled to receive back on a monthly basis see the Dutch tax office page on healthcare allowance monthly payments.

Requirements for Dutch rent allowance

In order to qualify for the Dutch healthcare allowance, you (and your fiscal partner) need to meet the following conditions:
You have a signed rental agreement with your landlord.
You live in a self-sufficient home with bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.
You are registered at the same address.
You are at least 18 years old.
You have a valid residence permit.
You earn below a certain level (see below).
You do not have too much capital (such as savings, shares, investments, etc, see below).

Income requirements huurtoeslag

These are the age, rent and gross income restrictions for rent allowance.

Age: 18 - 23 years (single household)

Monthly rent: between 231,87 and 409,92 euros
Annual income:  22.100 euros or less
Your capital: 24.437 euros or less

Age: 23 - retirement (single household)

Monthly rent: between 231,87 and 710,68 euros
Annual income:  22.100 euros or less
Your capital: 24.437 euros or less

Age: 18 - 23 years (with fiscal partner)

Monthly rent: between 231,87 and 409,92 euros (if you have a child or your fiscal partner is older than 23: max. 710,68 euros)
Annual combined income:  30.000 euros or less
Your capital: 24.437 euros or less per person

Age: 23 - retirement (with fiscal partner)

Monthly rent: between 231,87 and 710,68 euros
Annual combined income:  30.000 euros or less
Your capital: 24.437 euros or less per person

Child-related benefits

If you are a parent there are two more allowances you can apply for, the kindgebonden budget (child benefit) and the kinderopvangtoeslag (day care benefit):

Kindgebonden budget: Child benefit

The child benefit aims to help parents cover the cost of raising children. This is different from kinderbijslag, the children's allowance that every parent receives automatically.

The requirements and restrictions depend on a number of factors:
You have one or more children under the age of 18.
You receive the children’s allowance (Kinderbijslag) from the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB).
You have a valid residence permit.
You earn below a certain level (the income restrictions are dependent upon the number of children you have).
You do not have too much money (capital): If you do not have a fiscal partner your capital cannot exceed 106.941 euros as of January 1, 2016. If you have a fiscal partner, the maximum combined capital is 131.378 euros.

The full list of conditions and exceptions can be found here (in Dutch).

Kinderopvangtoeslag: Day care benefit

This is meant to help pay for your child’s day care. The requirements and restrictions depend on a number of factors:
You’re employed, in school or following civic integration courses.
You have a contract with a day care facility.
You pay part of the day care costs.
You have a valid residence permit.
You receive children’s allowance or you are (partially) responsible the child.
Your child attends a registered day care facility.
Your child is registered at your address.
Your child has not yet started secondary education.

The full list of conditions and exceptions can be found here (in Dutch).

Expats with a foreign income

If you have an income or pension from abroad this will be taken into consideration when determining your eligibility, so it’s important to declare this to the Dutch tax office.

Fiscal partners, income and benefits

Your financial situation is the main criterion for whether or not you qualify for government benefits. If you’re single and have no one else registered at your address, it’s simple. Only your own income (and sometimes your savings and investments) will be considered.

If you have a toeslagpartner, or a fiscal partner, you have to take their income into account as well. A fiscal partner can be your spouse or your registered partner. Even if you are not married or in a registered relationship, you can still have a fiscal partner if someone is registered at your address.

This third category includes the following situations:
a person you have a formal cohabitation agreement with (samenlevingscontract)
a person you have a child with
you jointly own a house

When are you not fiscal partners

If the person living at your address is subletting from you, that person is not your fiscal partner. If you let someone use your address as a postal address only, that person will not be considered to be your fiscal partner.

How much can I receive?

To find out if you are entitled to benefits, and to learn how much you may be able to receive, it’s necessary to do an individual calculation as there are too many determining factors to list all payment levels.

On this page from the Belastingdienst (Dutch tax office) you can fill in your information to get an indication on how much you will receive.

How to apply for Dutch benefits and allowances

You can apply for the huurtoeslag, zorgtoeslag and kindgebonden budget for a specific year up until September 1 of the following year. So if you want to retroactively apply for benefits for 2015 you have until September 1, 2016. If you want to apply for 2016 benefits, you have until September 1, 2017.

For the kinderopvangtoeslag you must apply within three months of your child starting day care.

Benefit applications must be submitted in Dutch at the Mijn Toeslagen (My benefits) webpage using your DigiD.

Thomas

Author

Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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