While one self-employed person has been waiting for income support for weeks, the other already received the money in his account in March. How municipalities deal with the so-called Tozo scheme – supplementing the income of self-employed workers to the social minimum – varies greatly. How did that happen?
Farid Saaidi, an independent barista, is satisfied with the arrangement. He lives in Leeuwarden. “I applied for it on a Monday and a week later the money was in my account. While friends of mine in other municipalities had to wait six weeks for the money.”
That is a common complaint with self-employed organizations. A survey by FNV Self-employed workers shows that 30 percent of the respondents are negative about the implementation of their municipality. This is mainly due to the rate of payment. About half are positive, and the rest are neutral.
Not opened at the same time
Not every municipality started processing the applications at the same time. On March 17, Minister Koolmees of Social Affairs announced that there was relaxed assistance for self-employed workers. “Some municipalities said: as a result of that announcement, I do have an idea of what this scheme will look like, so we can start,” says Sebastiaan de Kroon, spokesperson for Divosa, the association of municipal directors of social services.
“Other municipalities wanted to wait until more details of the scheme were clear, which was ten days later. There are also municipalities that only started when there was an official order in council, which was on April 21.”
As a result, one municipality had already transferred money to freelancers, while the counter at another municipality was not even open yet. The government also pays the municipalities to implement the scheme. In the meantime, municipalities have received a total of 2 billion euros.
Obtain unnecessary information
One municipality also requests more information than others when applying. “For example, a company registration number is sufficient for an application, but some municipalities ask self-employed professionals to enclose an extract from the Chamber of Commerce trade register,” says a spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs.
This is also because municipalities based their application process – when the details were not yet clear – on the assistance for the self-employed, which, unlike the Tozo, does have a partner test and an asset test, says De Kroon of Divosa. Model forms are now available from the ministry. Municipalities that request too much information are actively approached and pointed out, says the spokesperson for the Ministry of Social Affairs.