On your own or need help?
You may already have a job and be able to pay for food, clothing and housing and cover other bills. If not, then the Dutch Council for Refugees and the municipality will help you. The goal is for you to earn your own money and manage your budget yourself in the future. Money from the municipality and the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration If you haven't been able to find a job yet, you may be eligible for a social assistance benefit (bijstandsuitkering) from the municipality. If you have a job but aren't earning enough money to pay your rent or health insurance premiums, you may be eligible for an allowance (toeslag) from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst).
Money from the municipality and the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration
If you haven't been able to find a job yet, you may be eligible for a social assistance benefit (bijstandsuitkering) from the municipality. If you have a job but aren't earning enough money to pay your rent or health insurance premiums, you may be eligible for an allowance (toeslag) from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst).
If you do not have a job and you have no money, the municipality can give you a social assistance benefit. You will then receive a monthly sum of money to pay your bills and buy food. Usually, this is a temporary benefit. While you are receiving the benefit, you must look for work. The goal is for you to start earning money yourself as quickly as possible. You will make arrangements about this with your contact person at the municipality. Once you start earning enough money, the benefit will end.
The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) may also provide money to cover some of your costs. This is known as an allowance (toeslag). You can apply for an allowance to pay your health insurance premiums. This is known as a healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag). You can also apply for an allowance to pay your rent. This is known as a rent allowance (huurtoeslag).
Managing your money
The municipality must help you with money matters. This is known as financial de-worrying (ontzorgen). The municipality works with Kredietbank Limburg and the Dutch Council for Refugees on this. Kredietbank Limburg will manage your money for you. The Dutch Council for Refugees will teach you how to manage your own money matters.
Kredietbank Limburg will manage your money for you for six months. It will make sure that your rent and insurance premiums are paid from the account and that you have enough money to live on. This is known as budget management. The goal is to make sure you don't have money problems, or that your money problems don't get worse.
The municipality will open a budget management account for you with Kredietbank Limburg. If you receive a social assistance benefit or allowance, it will be paid into this account. You cannot withdraw money from the budget management account yourself.
Besides the budget management account, you must also have a bank account of your own. Kredietbank Limburg will transfer money into this account every month. You can use that money to buy things you need, such as food and clothing. This is simply the money you live on (leefgeld).
You must open this account yourself at a bank. The Netherlands has many different banks. If you need help, your counsellor will help you open a bank account.
Everyone in the Netherlands has fixed expenses (vaste lasten). Fixed expenses are the fees and charges that you must pay every month. They include:
- health insurance premiums
- water bill
- energy bill
- telephone charges
- repayment of loans.
For the first six months, your social assistance benefits and allowances will be deposited into the bank account at Kredietbank Limburg. Kredietbank Limburg will pay your fixed expenses for you from your budget management account.
If you do not have a budget management account, then you must make sure to pay your fixed expenses on time. If you do not, you will go into debt and may have to pay a fine. You may also lose your flat or room.
A loan is money that you borrow so that you can buy what you need until you have your own money. You must repay that borrowed money later. Usually, you will not have to repay the whole amount at once, but a smaller, fixed amount every month. The money that you repay every month is then one of your fixed expenses. You will keep paying this fixed amount until you have repaid the whole loan.
If you are receiving a benefit, then a fixed monthly amount will be deducted from your benefit and used to repay the loan. If you do not have a benefit, then you will have to repay the loan yourself every month.
There are two types of loans available to you:
- A loan to buy furnishings for your home: You will receive money from KredietbankLimburg to buy furniture and other items for your home. This money will be deposited into your own bank account, and not in the budget management account with Kredietbank Limburg. This money is a loan. That means you have to repay Kredietbank Limburg.
- A loan for the first two months after you move house: You will not receive social assistance benefits from the municipality or allowances from the Tax and Customs Administration for the first two months after you move. It will take a while for you to receive this money because you have only just applied for it. Kredietbank Limburg will therefore give you a loan so that you can pay your fixed expenses and have money to live on for the first two months. The money you receive for these first two months is called a bridging loan (overbruggingskrediet). It will be deposited into your budget management account with Kredietbank Limburg.
You will have help managing your budget for six months. After that, you should be able to pay your bills and fixed expenses yourself. The Dutch Refugee Council will teach you how to arrange your banking matters and manage your money.