According to the most recent figures released by Statistics Netherlands, Dutch central government paid just over 10.4 billion euros in income-related allowances for housing, health care and children in 2013. This is 0.3 billion euros more than in 2012. The increase is the result of a larger amount paid in care allowances and a smaller sum paid in childcare allowances. Central government paid a further 2.4 billion euros in rent allowances, 6 percent more than in 2012. The amounts paid in child budget benefits remained fairly stable, at 0.9 billion euros.
Care allowance doubled since 2006
In 2013, 5.1 billion euros was paid in care allowances, double the amount paid when this benefit was introduced in 2006. Increases in the basic premium and the policy excess of health care insurance accounted for most of this increase. To stem the rising costs, the criteria for entitlement to care allowance have been tightened in recent years. This pushed down the number of households entitled to care allowance from 4.5 million in 2012 to 4.3 million in 2013 (57 percent of households). In spite of this, the total amount paid in care allowances rose by just over half a billion euros in 2013, mainly because the lowest income households received compensation for the increase in their policy excess.
Income-related allowances, 2006-2013
Continued decrease in childcare allowance
The sum paid in childcare allowance fell for the fourth year in a row in 2013. Parents received 1.9 billion euros compensation for the costs of childcare, compared with nearly 3 billion euros in record year 2009. The decrease was caused by a combination of reduction in the amounts of this benefit and the recent economic recession.
For the first time since the introduction of the childcare allowance in 2005, the number of entitled households fell: from 533 thousand in 2012 to 495 thousand in 2013 (7 percent of households).
Most allowances for lowest incomes, childcare allowance mainly for higher income households
Allowances are dependent on income; in 2013 household wealth was also taken into consideration, although not for childcare allowance. The rent allowance reflects this income-related character most clearly: the 30 percent of households with the lowest disposable income received 70 percent of the total sum paid in rent allowance.
Childcare allowance on the other hand was paid mostly to households with higher incomes: more than half of the total sum went to the 30 percent of households with the highest disposable income.
Income-related allowances by income group (disposable income), 2013*
Care allowance also paid to higher incomes
Care allowance, too, was mostly paid to the lowest income households, although a substantial sum was also paid to households in the highest income group. Within the 30 percent of households with the lowest disposable income, 85 percent received a care allowance in 2013; in the 30 percent highest incomes this was just over three in ten households. In these higher income households, the care allowance was usually paid to an adult child with a low income living at home.
Seventeen percent of households received rent allowance. Just over half of households in the second 10-percent income group received rent allowance.