The number of people claiming state support to pay for housekeeping has increased by more than a quarter since 2019 as a result of more claims by upper and middle-income households.
Altogether 485,000 people claimed support in the first half of this year for housework under the Wmo (Social Support Act), a law which came into force in 2015 to regulate care so that elderly and vulnerable people can stay at home for longer.
Claims by people earning more than €40,000 rose by 114% in the last four years, while for those earning at least €20,000 a year there was a 69% increase. For the lowest income households the number of claims hardly changed.
Total Wmo payouts were up by 9.6%, according to the national statistics agency CBS, but claims for domestic assistance – such as transport, adaptations to the home and respite care – were down by 1.1%.
The rise in claims coincided with a change to the way personal contributions are calculated. Until 2019 most municipalities charged a variable fee based on income, but since then it has been replaced by a flat rate of €19 a month. The means-tested system is being reintroduced from 2026.
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