The Netherlands has too many forms of social benefits for lower income households, making it difficult to spot fraud, various experts have told news website nu.nl.
Five million of the seven million Dutch households get some form of benefit – such as help with paying their rent, health insurance or childcare.
‘That is 70% of households,’ fiscal economy professor Peter Kavelaars told nu.nl. ‘It is an extreme total, the system is too generous. We are talking about €10bn. Whichever way you look at it, we are all paying through our taxes.’
Reducing the scope and focusing on a smaller group would make it more difficult to avoid checks, he said. ‘At the moment there is too little capacity to combat abuse.’
Groningen university researcher Albertjan Tollenaar agrees it is easy to get around the rules. ‘The rules are focused on distributing benefits rather than controlling them,’ he said.
‘Health minister Martin van Rijn wants 20% of personal healthcare budget payments to be checked. But that means 80% still go unchecked,’ Tollenaar said.
In recent weeks it has emerged that the housing and healthcare benefit system are open to widespread organised fraud because of the lack of checks on entitlement.
The health ministry has also announced plans to crack down on fraud with personal health budgets – cash payments made to help the elderly and disabled remain living independently.