According to Poor Minister Carola Schouten, people receiving welfare assistance will no longer be automatically reduced in benefits when they receive help or gifts from friends or relatives.
The government plans to reform its participation legislation to remove the “sharp edge” and allow Congress to take into account personal circumstances.
Following a series of incidents, the rules have been criticized for being too strict. For example, the case of a Wijdemeren woman who was ordered to repay € 7,000 because her mother had to pay for groceries. The fine was reduced to € 2,835 by appeal.
Schouten wrote in a letter to Congress that the enforcement of the rule was “imbalanced” and that aid from friends and family was used too often as a reason to reduce people’s payments.
She said profits should not be reduced if friends and relatives move temporarily to support a “crisis situation.”
A study by the Ministry of Social Affairs found that people were at risk of being “squeezed” if the rules were strictly applied to multiple criteria at once, Schouten wrote. She said she would like to make more room for the “human side” and talk to Congress about what kind of gifts should be exempted when calculating people’s wealth.
Schouten has announced other steps to ease benefits restrictions. In March, she raised the maximum age at which her child could live at home from 21 to 27, without affecting the amount her parents received.
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