If you are obliged to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance ('zorgverzekering') but have an income that does not exceed a certain maximum amount, you may be eligible for a contribution towards the costs of your insurance.
How to apply
Applying for healthcare benefits can be made online or by post. In order to apply online you need to make a signature on ('DigiD') through an application tool, however it is available only in Dutch. The application form on paper is provided in English.
It is possible to acquire forms from your local Tax Office or through the Tax Hotline (phone 0800 0543, choose 1 and then choose 4 from the menu). The helpdesk officers at the Tax Hotline have been instructed to only speak Dutch, however most employees will be happy to help you in English. Make sure to have your burgerservicenummer (BSN) at hand.
The Tax Office also has a help line that does answer in English. This helpline is intended for persons and businesses located abroad but liable to pay Dutch tax. Persons and businesses located in the Netherlands should call the BelastingTelefoon (Tax Information Line for residents). Calling from the Netherlands: (055) 5 385 385. Calling from outside the Netherlands: +31 555 385 385.
If you wish to apply online: go to toeslagen (Dutch)
When to apply
You can apply for healthcare benefits at any time of the year. However, applying for healthcare benefits for the previous year is possible only until 1 September of the current year. For example, healthcare benefits for 2016 can be applied for until 1 September 2017.
Healthcare allowance and residence permits
When you possess a residence permit, the reverse side of your card will most likely mention: "Een beroep op publieke middelen is niet toegestaan". This means that you are not allowed to claim certain government benefits, the consequence of which being that your residence permit may be revoked. Applying for healthcare benefits, however, does NOT affect your right of residence.
If you have a partner
You are eligible to receive health care benefits if your income is below a certain level. The income of your partner will usually be included in the calculation of your joint income, even if he or she does not actually work or live in the Netherlands.
If you live in a rented accommodation and your income is below a certain level, you may qualify for housing benefits. The amount of housing benefits is determined on the basis of your income during the current year.
If you live with someone, the income that your partner receives is included in the calculation of your household income and household wealth. A partner with whom you can share your housing benefits can include: your spouse, the person with whom you have a cohabitation agreement, the person with whom you have a child, a sibling or a friend who lives with you.
Should your situation change, you must notify the Dutch Tax Administration. A change may be: an addition or departure of a partner, change in income level, relocation or a change in the rent.
- You are 18 years of age or older.
- All members of your household are registered at your address at the municipality.
- You rent an independent accommodation with its own entrance, bathroom and kitchen.
- The rental price must be within a certain range. The maximum and minimum levels depend on your household situation and age, and are annually adjusted.
- Your household income and wealth must be below a certain level.
- You and any other members of your household are either Dutch nationals or hold valid residence permits. If you have submitted an application for a residence permit to the IND, you will only qualify for the allowance if you have had a valid residence status in the past and also received the allowance at that time.
Housing benefits application
You can apply for the rent allowance at http://www.toeslagen.nl (Dutch only)
You can also order a paper application form by phone on 0800-0543 (note: the options menu is in Dutch only). Alternatively, you can pick one up at your local Tax Administration office (Dutch only).
The Dutch social security system pays an allowance to help pay for the cost of raising a child. You are eligible for this allowance if you are participating in the Dutch social security system. (To find out if you do, contact SVB.) To receive it, you must first out an application. The forms are available in English at your post office. You can also request one from the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB). When you apply, the SVB will ask you to send a list of vaccinations for every child living with you, so that they can send you a reminder whenever another one is due.
Childcare benefits (Kinderopvangtoeslag)
The Dutch social security system pays an allowance to help low and middle income parents of young children (until the age of 12) to pay for the cost of childcare facilities. Almost every working parent in the Netherlands with an employment contract is eligible to receive financial support from the Dutch Government to help with the cost of childcare.
The amount of childcare allowance you will receive depends on a number of factors:
- the amount of children you have,
- the number of hours that they visit the childcare facilities,
- the hourly rate of these facilities and
- your income
Example: If your accumulated income is around 60.000 euro a year, your child goes to a day-care for 5 days a week and 9 hours per day. The cost is 6 euro an hour. You will have to pay around €1170 a month for day-care. Your childcare allowance will probably be around €800 a month. So you are left only with €1170-800 = €370 a month net.
Criteria for eligibility
You are eligible for applying for a childcare allowance when:
- you have an employment contract,
- you have received a residence permit, if you need a residence permit to legally stay in the Netherlands.
Note: If you receive a fellowship/scholarship and do not have an employment contract, you are NOT eligible for childcare benefits.
To receive childcare benefit, you must apply for it with the Tax Office (Belastingdienst). You can do this online, however the online application form is only available in Dutch. You can also fill out a paper application form (also only in Dutch). Your childcare facility is likely to be helpful with filling out this form.
To order a paper application form, call the Belastingtelefoon (Taxline) 0800-0543. You will be asked in Dutch, through a automated message, to make a few choices. Per question choose 1 - 1 - 4. This should get you to a person who can send you a paper form. It is useful to have your BSN-number at hand.
Archive your papers
It is very important to keep a good administration of your childcare costs. Keep the contracts, the monthly cost overview, a copy of your application form and any other correspondence with the tax office on this issue filed away.