Social assistance scheme for self-employed persons to be simplified

The regulations for people in financial difficulties who seek social assistance under the  Social Assistance (Self-employed Persons) Decree (BBZ) will be amended on several points from 1 January 2020. The scheme will be simpler both for applicants and the municipalities that run the scheme. The amended regulations will establish more firmly that the social assistance scheme is intended to provide temporarily support to people with a viable business. The cabinet has agreed to an order in council to this effect proposed by State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment Tamara van Ark.

The scheme offers benefit claimants who are starting out as entrepreneurs better prospects and serves as a safety net for people with established businesses who face temporary financial difficulties. Its aim is to ensure that people can continue their businesses and that after a short period social assistance will no longer be required. A separate scheme, which provides for financial support allowing people aged 55 and over to continue a non-viable business until they reach retirement age, will therefore be phased out from 1 January 2020. In addition, under the amended scheme, self-employed persons in the inland shipping sector must apply for social assistance in their municipality of residence, rather than in a designated municipality. It will also no longer be possible for self-employed persons to apply for social assistance retroactively. The changes will not affect people who are currently using the scheme.

The cabinet has decided to send the order in council to the Council of State for an advisory opinion.