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Dutch Social Security

The Dutch social security system is very comprehensive. Social insurance schemes provide a temporary income during, for instance, unemployment, old age, illness or incapacity for work.

There are three avenues of social security schemes:

  • National Insurance administered by the social insurance bank (SVB), which includes old age pension (AOW) and child benefit (AKW);
  • Employee Insurance administered by UWV (Dutch only), including unemployment benefit (WW, see below), long-term disability (WIA) and sickness (ZW);
  • Social Assistance administered by municipalities, see: Subsidie voor in dienst nemen uitkeringsgerechtigde
    (Dutch only).

With each benefit, there are specific conditions that must be met or applied. In addition, your residence rights should be checked to see that they are not affected if you intend to apply for benefits. Your official documents will need to be in good updated order. Consult the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment website for more information.

Unemployment benefit (WW uitkering)

If you become unemployed, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance payments. The unemployment benefit is administered by the UWV. Over the short term, this is known as WW Uitkering. You can apply for WW uitkering up to a month before your last work day. Applications for this benefit can be done online at www.werk.nl (Dutch only) or at a local office of UWV WERKbedrijf.

After the application for the unemployment benefit, the amount and duration of payments will be determined by your employment history. In general, a person may be eligible for one month assistance for every year worked. It comprises the first two months at 75% and thereafter 70% of your last earned salary (with a maximum daily rate of €195.96 gross). For 26 out of the previous 36 weeks before the first day of unemployment, you must have worked (may be fewer if you are a musician or artist, or not in regular employment).

If other benefits are in operation, the unemployment benefit can be restricted or reduced.

More about unemployment benefits and how to apply (in English) at this link.

A highly-skilled migrant dismissed early from their job may be eligible for time to search for a new job. For specifics, see the IND site at this link under “Validity residence permit / search period during unemployment”.

Welfare benefit (Bijstandsuitkering)

As a foreigner, you might have a right to welfare benefit (bijstandsuitkering) if you don’t have enough money to live on. However, whether you are eligible or not depends on several factors. Please read the information on the IND site here.

If you are a Non-EU citizen, check the back of your IND residence permit card. If your card states: Een beroep op algemene middelen kan gevolgen hebben voor het verblijfsrecht, then if you apply for welfare benefit, you may lose your right to reside in the Netherlands!

If you are an EU citizen, the IND site also has information on whether an application for public funds will affect your right of residence.

In addition, the EU has produced a document about the social security rights of EU citizens in the Netherlands. You can view the document at this link.