Ministers agree welfare benefit reforms

The government has finalised a string of measures to reform the welfare benefit system and encourage more people to get jobs.

The starting point of the package is that ‘those who can work must work and work must be financially worth it,’ according to a social security ministry statement. ‘Welfare (bijstand) should be the final safety net,’ the statement said.
Parents claiming welfare benefits who share their home with adult children with jobs will lose all or part of their government support as the basis for claims switches from individual to household income.
According to the Volkskrant, this will affect some 20,000 households.
Young mothers
Single mothers with young children will also be required to look for work. At the moment, mothers with children under five do not have to apply for jobs.
Local authorities, which are charged with administering the welfare system, will be allowed to require claimants to do some sort of work in return for cash. This could include clearing snow, the Volkskrant said.
The cabinet has also decided that retired people who claim welfare benefits because they do not get 100% of the state pension will only be able to spend eight weeks a year abroad, rather than six months under the current system.
People who moved to the Netherlands when they were older than 15 are not entitled to a full state pension. If they have no other income, they can claim welfare to make up the difference.
The proposals have been incorporated into two pieces of draft legislation which have been sent to the Council of State advisory body for its opinion.

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