Freelancers and small firms are missing out on coronavirus help: ombudsman


The national ombudsman is warning that freelancers, the self-employed and some small firms still risk missing out on government financial help to get through the coronavirus crisis.

Some 500 people have contacted the agency to say that they are missing out on aid because of the rules and, says ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen, some are struggling to survive.

‘Buffers have been used up, pension savings are gone, they have borrowed money from friends and family,’ Van Zutphen said. ‘We really need a tailor-made approach otherwise lots… are not going to make it.’

One of the major stumbling blocks in the introduction of a check on partners’ income which is now part of the Tozo ruling for freelancers. People who find themselves denied financial support because of their partner’s income can then apply for the Tonk scheme – which is administered by local authorities.

It is up to local councils themselves to draw up the rules for Tonk payments and some are so strict that hardly anyone can benefit from the option, the ombudsman said.

He has now contacted both national government and the local authorities organisation VNG calling for changes to the way the measures are being implemented.

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