Knowing how to hack your way through your finances is a necessary skill and can come in handy once the end of the month comes around. But for those of you who need a little extra help, we’ve got you covered. As a (working) student or graduate in the Netherlands, you may have already heard of allowances, the most talked about and known being the huurtoeslag (housing allowance) and zorgtoeslag (healthcare allowance). Let’s dive right into the topic.
What are Allowances in the Netherlands?
Toeslag (English: benefits/allowances) are financial aids provided by the Dutch government to support low-income households and individuals with basic needs such as rent or healthcare. They help cover the costs by providing an allowance that eases the financial burden. Though some benefits (like the child budget) fall under the Dutch social security scheme, others (rent and healthcare), do not and therefore have less minimum requirements.
Among other requirements, the amount you receive is determined based on you or your household’s income. Your income is evaluated by the Dutch tax office and the corresponding amount of aid is provided. If by chance you have received too much, at the end of the year, you will have to repay what is owed. If you have received too little, at the end of the year, you will receive extra compensation.
Payments for allowances in the Netherlands are issued on the 20th of each month. If you apply for benefits in the middle of the year, you’ll receive the benefits you would have received if you had applied on the 1st of January in one payment.
Allowances in the Netherlands
There are four different types of allowances in the Netherlands: huurtoeslag, known as the rent benefit or housing allowance; zorgtoeslag, the healthcare allowance; kindgebonden budget, which is the child benefit; and kinderopvangtoeslag, the child care benefit.
Huurtoeslag: housing allowance
As of 2020, there are no income limits – your eligibility is determined primarily on the cost of your rent, your age, and the composition of your household (e.g. children or no children). That being said, you can still be found ineligible if you are making “too much”.
Housing allowance requirements
In order to qualify for the housing allowance you need to meet the following general conditions:
- You are a Dutch national, have a valid residence permit, or are an EU/EEA citizen
- You live in the Netherlands and are registered at the municipality of your home address
- You are 18 or older
- You rent an independent living space
- Your income, assets, and that of your co-residents are not too high
- Your rent is not too high
- You and the landlord have signed a lease agreement
- You can prove paid rent with bank statements
The maximum amount of assets is €31,340 in 2021 for individuals (based on what you have on January 1st of this year). On the other hand, the maximum amount of assets is €62,680 Euros in 2020 for couples (based on what you have on January 1st of this year).
Independent living space
An independent living space is one with its own front door which can be locked both from the outside and the inside. You also need a private living/sleeping space, a kitchen with a sink, water supply, and drain as well as a connection point for a stove, and a private toilet that flushes with water.
If you share the front door and stairs with other roommates you might still be eligible for the rent allowance as long as your living space meets the three aforementioned conditions as well as being lockable from the inside and the outside.
Students living in student housing complexes are eligible for the housing allowance if the building was indicated as suitable for housing allowance before July 1st, 1997.
|Applying alone||Applying with Toeslagpartner|
|Income||Less than €31,138||Less than €39,979|
|Capital||Less than €116,613||Less than €149,819|
Kinderopvangtoeslag, the childcare allowance
There are two children-focused allowances: the kindgebonden budget or supplementary child allowance and kinderopvangtoeslag, the childcare allowance.
The childcare allowance is an allowance allocated by the Dutch government in order to contribute to the costs of having a child in daycare.
To be eligible, you need to be working (whether that is full-time, freelancing or a temporary job) and your child needs to go to registered daycare. The eligibility has also been extended to people who are in certified training (including MBO, HBO, university education and adult education at ROC or Vavo), or those that are on a “path to work.”
As you pay an hourly rate for daycare, the allowance you receive is determined in terms of the hours of daycare and after-school care that need to be reimbursed. This calculation can be determined through the childcare allowance calculator.
The Dutch government determines a maximum hourly rate above which your childcare will not be reimbursed based on the type of childcare you have chosen. If your childcare exceeds this maximum rate, the difference is not covered by the allowance.
Here’s a table with different hourly rates for different types of childcare:
|Maximum Hourly Rate|
|Daycare at a nursery||€8.46|
|After-school care at a nursery||€7.27|
|Daycare or after-school care at a childminder||€6.49|
The kindgebonden budget covers all the costs that factor into raising a child like tuition or clothing. The supplementary child allowance is received automatically if you have children under the age of 18. You are only eligible for it if you meet the other conditions for receiving an allowance in the Netherlands and already receive a child benefit from the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB), the Dutch social security.
How to Apply for Allowances
You can apply for all the aforementioned allowances except for the child budget allowance using your DigiD, under My Allowances (Mijn toeslagen) on the Belastingdienst website.
In order to create a DigiD (if you don’t have one already), you’ll need your BSN number. You can also apply for allowances with a toeslagpartner. A toeslag or benefit partner is someone with whom you apply for benefits. If you’re married, registered partners or officially cohabiting with someone, they are automatically your allowance partner. If not, you and your roommate can be partners as the only requirement is that you are both registered at the same address.
Not having to worry about the exorbitant price of Dutch healthcare or extremely high rent is something everyone wants. While allowances are a boon they are, however, a pain to apply for. Why not check that off your list by heading over to our Healthcare and Housing Allowance calculators and checking how much you’re eligible for? We’ve even partnered with Taxperience to streamline the allowance application for you.
Late date to apply for the healthcare and housing allowance for the tax year 2021 is August 31, 2022.
When applying for allowances, avoid delays and mistakes that must be reviewed by being mindful of some key suggestions. These include:
Provide all required information
Try to provide all the information that is required from you when you apply. In case of missing information, you will be contacted by the Tax and Customs Administration and informed about any documents that you have not provided. You will be given at least 2 weeks to respond. The Tax and Customs Administration is expected to make more efforts to obtain the requested information within these weeks the longer they wait. If you fail to comply, they will proceed with informing you about possible consequences.
Married allowance partners have the option to terminate the allowance partnership in case one of the partners is admitted to a nursing home. Exception to this is made for two people who have a commercial lease agreement with a third party. However, a procedure will take place at a later stage in order to complete the requested termination. In addition, the partnership will no longer act retrospectively to the start of a new calendar year. It applies from the first day of the next month.
Uninsured allowance partner
Under the Health Insurance Act (Zvw), the allowance partner is no longer obligated to a mandatory insurance in order for the allowance partners to be eligible for healthcare allowance. Currently, the claimant is not entitled to healthcare allowance if their partner does not have health insurance. In the near future, allowance partners will be able to receive 50% of the two-person allowance if one of the partners is not insured.