Former MPs and ministers build up €20m benefit bill in 5 years

Former MPs, ministers and junior ministers have cost the treasury almost €20m in unemployment benefits over the past five years, television news show EenVandaag reported.

One former MP has been claiming benefits for over 16 years while one former junior minister has been given €465,000 in payments over five years, the figures show.

EenVandaag obtained the figures for politicians’ benefits, known as wachtgeld in Dutch, from the home affairs ministry using freedom of information legislation. In total 178 MPs, 18 ministers and 15 junior ministers claimed wachtgeld, averaging €93,000 each.

The highest amount paid to a former MP in the five years was €390,000, the lowest just €25, the ministry figures show. One former junior minister has had almost €465,000 in payments, a former minister €446,000.

MPs and ministers who lose their seat or their job are entitled to 80% of their salary for one year. Subsequent payments which can last several years are made at 70% rate.

Current MPs and ministers can claim the money for up to 38 months, but the payments used to be unlimited. EenVandaag said one former MP had claimed the benefit for over 16 years while one minister had been paid wachtgeld for over 11 years.

Former politicians who get a job which does not pay as much as being and MP can claim top-up benefits. has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. You can donate via Ideal, credit card or Paypal using this special account [link].