ALLOWANCES IN THE NETHERLANDS
THE COMPLETE GUIDE

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.

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CHAPTER 1:

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. 

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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.

CHAPTER 2:

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.

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Huurtoeslag: housing allowance

The rent benefit is a monthly contribution towards your housing costs. The amount you receive is a sliding scale dependent on your income and assets. You can receive a maximum of €5,838 per year. 

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

(Belastingdienst, 2019)

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

Income and assets requirements for 2019

The maximum income and assets allowed are dependent on both your age, whether you live alone and whether or not you have a toeslagpartner. Your toeslagpartner does not count as a roommate or co-resident. The limitations are applicable to the combined income of the residents and individual assets of the residents. Sound confusing? Here’s a table to explain it all:

Living Alone Applying with Toeslag Partner Living with Roommates
Income Less than €22,700 per year Less than €30,825 per year
(combined income)
Less than €30,825 per year
(combined income)
Assets Less than €30,360
(per resident)
Less than €60,720
(joint assets)
Less than €30,360
(per resident)

(Belastingdienst, 2019)

Rent requirements for 2019

You are only allowed to apply for housing allowance if your rent falls within a certain bracket. The maximum eligible rent is dependent on your age and if you have a child: 

Younger than 23 and without child: Less than €424.44

Older than 23 or with child: Less than €720.42

The age limit is applicable to the household, which means that for the lower rent limit to be applicable, every resident needs to be younger than 23. If one of the residents is older than 23, then you fall under the higher rent limit.(Belastingdienst, 2019)

Zorgtoeslag: healthcare allowance

The healthcare allowance is a benefit destined to alleviate the cost of healthcare in the Netherlands. As healthcare falls outside of the Dutch social security system, it isn’t funded via the social security tax, which is why Dutch citizens and residents are required to buy their own healthcare package. You can receive a maximum of €99 or €192 per month. The amount you receive depends on your income and whether you have a toeslagpartner or not. 

In order to qualify for the healthcare allowance you need to meet the following general conditions:

  • You are 18 or older
  • You have Dutch health insurance
  • Your income is below the (joint) income limit
  • You are a Dutch national, have a valid residence permit, or are an EU/EEA citizen
  • Your (joint) capital is below a certain limit

(Belastingdienst, 2019)

Capital requirements for 2019

Your capital is your assets minus your debts. What counts as an asset? Anything that is declared on your tax return as an asset, this includes savings, a holiday home, or shares in a company. 

If you are applying for the healthcare allowance without a toeslagpartner, your capital should be worth less than €114,776. With a partner, the limit is fixed at €145,136. 

Income requirements for 2019

If you are applying alone, your income must be lower than €29,562. If you are applying with a partner, your joint income must be lower than €37,885.

Recap requirements

Applying alone Applying with Toeslagpartner
Income Less than €29,562 Less than €37,885
Capital Less than €114,776 Less than €145,136

Amount of Allowance Received based on Income

Even though there is a salary limit fixed in order to be eligible for the healthcare allowance, the amount you receive is a sliding scale that is dependent on your income. The amount of allowance that you are eligible to receive decreases as your salary increases. Check out the tax office website for the full table. 

Annual Income Monthly allowance without benefit partner Monthly allowance with allowance partner
21,500 92 186
22,000 87 180
23,000 75 169
24,000 64 158
25,000 53 147
26,000 42 135
27,000 30 124
28,000 19 113
29,000 8 102
29,500 2 96
30,000 0 90

Children-focused allowances

In addition to the housing and healthcare allowances, there are two children-focused allowances: the kindgebonden budget or supplementary child allowance and kinderopvangtoeslag, the childcare allowance.

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 amount of allowance you get depends on your income and the number of hours you 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 €8.02
After-school care at a nursery €6.89
Daycare or after-school care at a childminder €6.15

(Belastingdienst, 2019)

Kindgebonden budget

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.

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.

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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 Blue Umbrella to streamline the allowance application for you. Check out our Allowances Page to apply for your allowance in 5 minutes.