We’ve now lived back in The Netherlands for almost two years. Time has flown by! Though I looked into all of the benefits we were entitled to when we first arrived in mid-2012, I’m now reviewing this and thought I’d take some time to share. Please do not take this as financial advice, I’m having enough trouble figuring it all out myself for my own situation, but it could be a useful basis to do your own research.
Our situation is that we are a family of dual national Dutch Australians, who have spent some time living in Australia and some in The Netherlands. We are currently residents in and citizens of The Netherlands.
Though I think if you live outside of The Netherlands you may be entitled to some benefits if you’re a Dutch citizen, I’m not sure – if you have experience with this, perhaps you’d like to contact us to write an article.
Basically it seems there are two main bodies that take care of benefits you may be entitled to in The Netherlands: SVB and Belastingdienst. I believe once you register with the Gemeente as a resident, both may contact you for further information or to inform you of the benefits you may be entitled to. However it is also useful to read up on this yourself.
I also run a business in The Netherlands as a ZZP (Zelfstandig Zonder Personnel or Sole Trader) so have found an accountant to ask for advice, though found that the benefits don’t really fall within the area they take care of for you as a standard service.
It’s useful to have a DigiD number, which is your digital login and confirmation of identity for government and official sites. Click on the link for more information in Dutch & English.
SVB: Sociale Verzekeringsbank
For full information on the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (social insurance bank) you can visit their website www.svb.nl which has plenty of information in Dutch and English (and other languages). There are a whole range of services and benefits that they offer, often in challenging situations such as orphaned children, loss of a partner and repatriation for refugees. You can read an overview of their services in English here.
The two benefits which are of relevance to me (and many others) that are taken care of by the SVB are the Kinderbijslag (Child benefit) and AOW Pensioen.
From what I understand, all families in The Netherlands will receive this benefit if they have children living at home under the age of 18 years. It’s a fixed amount that isn’t dependant on income level of the parents, but can be affected if the child earns money. The purpose is to assist with the costs of raising children. The current amounts in 2013 and 2014 are shown below. Benefits are paid quarterly.
This amount is different to the kindgebonden budget which is via the Belastingdienst and is an additional amount paid to low-income families. I had trouble finding the exact amount you can earn to still be entitled to this, but they do explain that they will contact you if you’re eligible.
The official retirement age in The Netherlands is currently 65 but in the coming years will continue to change slowly until it is 67 in 2023. This is a basic state pension. If you live or have lived in The Netherlands and reach this age, you may be entitled to this benefit. If you have lived outside of The Netherlands for part of your life, the amount you receive may be affected.
Overall, if you are or have been a resident of The Netherlands, it’s important to regularly check on the details on SVB.nl
“Leuker kunnen wij ‘t niet maken, wel makkelijker” (We can’t make it nicer but we can make it easier) is the amusing slogan of the Dutch belastingdienst (Tax office). In terms of the benefits you may be entitled to in The Netherlands, their website at www.belastingdienst.nl is an important point of call. Again by using your DigiD number, you can log in and check or apply for benefits here, which are summed up on the “toeslagen” page. It seems there are 4 main types of benefits:
- Zorgtoeslag – this is a benefit for low income earners to assist with the cost of health insurance. Your combined income at time of writing must be less than 37,145 euros
- Kindgebondenbudget – as explained above, this is an additional benefit for low income families with children living at home, but I’m not sure of the income level for this
- Huurtoeslag – if combined income is less than 29,325 you may receive rent assistance
- Kinderopvangtoeslag – if both parents are working and have children at home, you can apply for benefits to assist with the cost of child care. The amount will depend on the family situation including number of hours the parents work and the income level.
Well, that’s my research for today! I imagine that most people who are entitled to benefits usually are already receiving them but it may help to check from time to time that these are correct and to better understand what may happen if your situation changes.
In terms of comparing The Netherlands and Australia, I feel it’s a fairly similar situation in both countries, in that if you are a low income family you will receive assistance but this will decrease as your income increases. There is basic financial assistance offered to those who are in difficult circumstances, but insurance and personal savings are encouraged for a comfortable living situation.
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