Social Security

The aim of social security in the Netherlands is to provide a guaranteed income for all those for whom it is not possible (or no longer possible) to support themselves independently by working. The underlying principle is that people who are afflicted by unemployment, invalidity, or illness must be given the opportunity to exercise their political and civic rights on an equal footing. The money required to do this is generally provided by the working population on the basis of the philosophy of solidarity or shared risk. However, for the first year of absence from work through illness, sick pay (see sickness benefit) now has to be provided by the employer. This signifies a radical change in the system of social security.

Social security in the Netherlands can be divided into Volksverzekeringen (National Social Security) and Werknemersverzekering (Employee social insurance schemes). National Social Security applies to all residents of the Netherlands and the benefits are not related to someone’s salary. The employee social insurance schemes are confined to employees; benefits are related to the pay last earned, and are received in the event of loss of pay because of illness (after the first year of absence) and permanent disability for work and unemployment.


Old Age Pension (AOW)

The General Old Age Pensions Act (AOW) - A basic pension for people aged 65 and older. In addition, the AOW grants a supplementary allowance to people entitled to an AOW pension whose respective partners are under the age of 65 and have only limited or no incomes. 


General Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (AWBZ) - The Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten (General Exceptional Medical Expenses Act) covers the costs of exceptional and in particular expensive care, such as long-term nursing and home-care. The AWBZ is one of the national insurances in the Netherlands.


Unemployment Insurance (WW) -If you become fully or partly unemployed, you can apply for a WW benefit - a benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Act (WW) - to compensate for the loss of earnings. This benefit is paid out for a certain term and serves as a bridge between two jobs. Among the conditions attached to this benefit is the explicit understanding that you must be available for work. The period of time that you spent working is also taken into account. The amount and the term of the benefit you receive depend on your employment history.


Work Capacity Act (WIA) - The focus is on work; that is, on what people are still capable of doing. Employers and employees are encouraged by financial incentives to do everything they can to help those who are partially occupationally disabled to get work or stay in work. At the same time, income protection is provided for people who are truly no longer capable of working. The WIA comprises two parts: the Return to Work Scheme for the Partially Disabled (WGA) and the Income Provision Scheme for People Fully Occupationally Disabled (IVA).


Child Benefit (AKW) - Offers parents a contribution towards the costs of raising and caring for children aged up to 18 years. How much Child Benefit a person receives depends on the age of the child.


Ziektewet, ZW (The Sickness Benefits Act) - Only applies to people who do not have or who no longer have an employer, such as temporary employment agency workers. You can also receive a sickness benefit if you become ill as a result of pregnancy and giving birth. The sickness benefit amount to at least 7% of the daily wage, which is subject to a maximum. People who do have a job will continue to receive part of their salary from their employer over a certain period of time that can add up to 24 months. Depending on your sector and collective employment agreement, the minimum you will receive is 70% of your salary during 12 months. If you start working as a self-employed person, it is in certain situations possible to be voluntarily insured under the Act.


Wet Werk en Bijstand, WWB (The Work and Social Assistance Act) - Grants a minimum income to anyone legally resident in the Netherlands who has insufficient means to support himself. Social assistance is provided to a household. If someone from that household has adequate income, the household is not eligible for assistance. This means that someone without income living with a partner or parents with adequate income is not eligible and neither is someone with sufficient assets. Social assistance is therefore a safety net facility. 





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