Tens of thousands of pensioners are failing to claim a top-up to their state pensions and are therefore living below the poverty line, the government’s audit office said in a new report.
Between 48% and 56% of pensioners entitled to the benefit are failing to claim – or up to 51,000 households – the audit office said. In total, some 3.5 million people in the Netherlands are claiming state pension, or AOW.
To qualify for a full state pension, people must have lived in the Netherlands for 50 years. This means that Dutch nationals who spent time abroad, or immigrants who moved to the Netherlands past the age of 16 or 17 will not be entitled to the full amount.
The report also shows that immigrants account for the majority of people who are not claiming the top-up benefit, although the ethnic Dutch account for the biggest population group.
The benefit, known as AOI, is available to people with no or little alternative income, with few savings and no more than €50,000 in excess value in any property they own. It is administered by the social insurance bank SVB.
The lack of take-up comes because many people are unaware the benefit exists – the SVB does not alert people entitled to claim. Language problems and admin skills are additional problems, the audit office said.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl
The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.
DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.