The cabinet wants to loosen the rules for social assistance, allow donations of up to 1200 euros

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It should make it easier for people supported to get to work and they could receive donations of up to €1,200 a year without a reduction in their benefits. With these new measures taken by the cabinet, the law on participation, which applies to people entitled to social assistance, should be relaxed.

It concerns more than twenty measures that are to come into force in July 2024. In his own words, Minister Schouten (Poverty Reduction) wants to ensure that “not the rules, but the people” are central. In practice, according to the minister, the strict rules of the law do not always work well. However, the House of Representatives will discuss the plans first.

In the future, everyone on welfare will have a full year in which 15 percent of their extra earnings won’t count. Persons with a medical disability or informal caring duties may receive an extension beyond that year. The rule now applies that those on welfare can work for the first six months and keep 25 percent of their income, with a maximum of 226 euros per month.

Another measure is that from now on welfare recipients can provide informal care without permission. The informal lender can also live temporarily with, for example, a sick family member, without this affecting the performance.

Gifts and messages

Schouten also wants the “compassion fine” to go away. If family or friends give a gift or sometimes pay for the groceries, the person who is eligible for social assistance should no longer be cut off immediately. Schouten proposes an amount of 1200 euros per year. In this case, this amount need not be disclosed.

In the Netherlands, 400,000 people receive social assistance. The cabinet had previously announced it would remove the “sharp edges” of the law. In June Schouten wrote that helping friends or family members now too fast means that benefit recipients are being cut.

At the end of 2020 it was announced that a woman from Wijdemeren received 7000 euros of assistance had to repay, because her mother occasionally ran errands for her. There was a lot of outrage in politics about this. The judge judged that it is right that the woman should repay a sum, but the judge has reduced the sum to more than 2800 euros.

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