According to a news published in the Volkskrant newspaper today, Minister of Social Affairs Karien van Gennip and Minister of Poverty Policy Carola Schouten stated that a softer policy will be followed regarding the recovery of the allowances determined to be unfairly paid in a letter they sent to the House of Representatives.

According to the law currently in force, a maximum of 20 years of history is reviewed when it is determined that a person has been unfairly paid in Unemployment Benefit (WW), AOW (Old Age Benefit) or Social Assistance (Bijstand) Allowances. According to the proposal of the ministers, this period will be reduced to the last five years.

When it is determined that a person receiving an allowance has given false information about his work or life situations, the person is followed up and the relevant institutions can take back all or part of the salary given retrospectively.

Unemployment benefit (WW) currently lasts for a maximum of two years. It takes up to three years in addition to the collective bargaining agreement. However, if years later it turns out that a person receiving WW benefits was paid incorrectly because the number of years worked was incorrect or the pay was lower, UWV will seek a refund of the amount paid.

In the AOW allowance, for example, the Social Security Bank (SVB) has been notified that the person in question is a single elderly person, but if it is determined that he lives with another person, the unfairly paid salaries by the SVB are recovered.

It is thought that the financial burden that will arise by reducing the 20-year period to 5 years will be shared between the government and the citizens. With the new regulation, the Tax Office will be able to revise the assessments up to five years ago.

Debt relief and new regulation
Both ministers said that they are also working on a new debtor policy and that the social welfare organizations UWV and SVB have been discussing personal payment arrangements in line with the beneficiary’s conditions for some time.

Ministers reported that the UWV and SVB are working on providing “deferral of payment for all debts, if requested, up to a maximum of 36 months”.

“The agreed payment arrangement should also be limited to citizens,” the ministers said, adding, “People should have a perspective on the end of debt and start off with a clean slate. Therefore, the opportunity has been created to cooperate in a temperate debt agreement.”