Spend a month looking for work, then claim welfare, says minister

People who want to claim welfare benefits (bijstand) will have to spend a month looking for a job before they are entitled to any money, under new rules which the government is planning to introduce.

At the moment, the under-27s have to wait a month before they can claim welfare and junior social affairs minister Jetta Klijnsma plans to extend this ruling to everyone.

This means people who have never had a job, or have not worked for long enough to claim unemployment benefit, will have to wait an extra month before they get any money.

Experiments with the new rules in a couple of places show the delay does prompt people to try harder to find work, the minister said.

In 2012, 2,300 people aged 23 to 27 applied for welfare benefits. After the four week delay, 35% did not pursue their applications, the minister said in a briefing to parliament. Pilots among adults resulted in between 30% and 48% not making a claim.

The rule will not apply to people who have had unemployment benefit for at least two years.

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