You can read here about invalidity benefits in the Netherlands. Within the invalidity scheme (the WIA-scheme), a distinction is made between full and permanent disability (IVA-benefit) and partial disability (WGA-benefit).
In what situation can I claim?
If you become unable to work, your employer will pay at least 70% of your income up to a maximum of 2 years. If you no longer have an employer but are covered by the scheme of employee insurances, the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) pays the sickness benefit (via the Sickness Benefits Act). After 104 weeks of illness, you may be eligible for a WIA-benefit, which is the invalidity benefit.
WIA is the Dutch abbreviation for the Act on Work and Income according to Work Capacity. The WIA-benefit is the benefit you receive if, due to illness or disability, you cannot work or earn less than your previous income from work.
You apply for the WIA-benefit if you have been ill for nearly 2 years (104 weeks) and, because of the illness or disability, only can earn 65% or less of your previous income. Under the WIA, you must work as much as you can.
The WIA encompasses two schemes:
- WGA: Return to Work (Partially or temporarily completely Disabled Persons) Scheme, for people who are temporarily or partially (at least 35%) incapacitated for work;
- IVA: Full Invalidity Benefit Regulation, for people who are completely (at least 80%) and permanently incapacitated for work.
Young disabled persons
Young disabled people who reach the age of 18 and do not have any working capacity, and are not able to develop any working capacity in the long term may be entitled to cash benefits (Wajong) if they reside in the Netherlands legally.
Additionally, young disabled people who become ill/ disabled before their 30th birthday and consequently have no working capacity and are not able to develop working capacity in the future can apply for Wajong benefit if they had been studying for at least six months in the year before becoming disabled or ill.
If you are self-employed, you can take out a private insurance to ensure you are entitled to benefits in the event of incapacity for work.
Industrial accidents and occupational diseases
There is no separate legislation for industrial accidents and occupational diseases in the Netherlands. In these cases you are entitled to receive your wage by your employer for the first 104 weeks or by payment of sickness benefits in cash according to the Sickness Benefits Act in case your contract has legally ended. After the period of 104 weeks you may be entitled to benefits in cash according to the Work and Income Act (WIA).
Furthermore, workers can sue their employer in the civil court and claim additional financial compensation to compensate for the damage.
What conditions do I need to meet?
Complete incapacity for work
If you are completely incapacitated for work due to illness or disability (at least 80%) and have no or only a slight chance of recovery, you may be entitled to an IVA benefit after two years of sickness.
Partial incapacity for work
If you are temporarily or partially incapacitated for work due to illness or invalidity (at least 35%) and you have an employer, you could receive a WGA-benefit after 2 years.
If you are less than 35% incapacitated for work, you have no right to invalidity benefit.
Young people with an illness/disability (Wajong)
You are entitled to a Wajong-benefit in cash if you are living legally in the Netherlands and you lack any long-term labour capacity on your 18th birthday due to sickness or impairment. You may also be entitled to a Wajong- benefit in cash if you are living in the Netherlands and become disabled after your 18th birthday and before your 30th birthday and had studied for at least 6 months in the year before you became disabled.
What am I entitled to and how can I claim?
Complete incapacity for work
The IVA-benefit is 75% of the daily wage. The daily wage is based on the earned salary in the year prior to the starting date of the incapacity for work with a maximum of EUR 223.40 per day.
Partial incapacity for work (partially disabled person)
The WGA benefit you receive depends on how much you still can work, and on how much you still work in practice.
Types of WGA benefit:
There are three kinds of WGA-benefit:
- follow-up benefit.
You can receive a pay-related benefit under the following conditions:
- due to illness, you can only earn less than 65% of your old income;
- you had worked for 26 of the last 36 weeks before you became ill.
If you also worked in another Member State in this period, this period of work counts as if you had performed it in the Netherlands when determining your right to pay-related work incapacity benefit.
The duration of the pay-related benefit may be extended to a maximum of 24 months. The duration depends on the number of calendar years that you worked in the period prior to the year in which you became ill. Periods of work in another Member State are counted when determining the duration.
If you are not working, you have the right to 75% of your last pay during the first 2 months and 70% of the last pay thereafter.
If you do not work when the pay-related benefit ends, or you earn less than 50% of the remaining work capacity, you will receive a wage supplement benefit or a follow-up benefit. See WIA. If you earn more than 50%, you will receive a pay-supplementary benefit.
For Young Disabled persons there is a Wajong-benefit that provides an income of 75 percent of the minimum wage.
- Act on Work and Income according to Work Capacity (Wet werk en inkomen naar arbeidsvermogen, WIA): covers all employees who as a result of illness or disability are not able to earn 65% of their last income by working. The Act on Work and Income according to Work Capacity encompasses two schemes: Return to Work (Partially Disabled Persons) scheme and the Full Invalidity Benefit Regulation.
- Full Invalidity Benefit Regulation (Inkomensvoorziening volledig arbeidsongeschikten, IVA): provides an income for those who are completely and permanently incapacitated for work or have only a slight chance of recovery.
- Return to Work (Partially Disabled Persons) Act (Werkhervatting gedeeltelijk arbeidsgeschikten, WGA): programme to return the partially disabled to work.
- Young Disabled Persons Act (Wet arbeidsongeschiktheidsvoorziening jonggehandicapten, Wajong): scheme for people who have a long-term illness or handicap at their 18th birthday or after their 18th birthday and before they turn 30 during their study. This benefit can continue till the pensionable age.
- Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV): a Dutch welfare agency that is responsible for implementing the employee insurance schemes (unemployment, illness, incapacity for work).
Forms you may need to fill in
Know your rights
The rights you have are described on the websites below (these are not European Commission websites and do not represent the EC standpoint:
European Commission publication and website:
Who do you need to contact?
When you become ill, you must report this to your employer as soon as possible.
Wajong, WIA and IVA: contact UWV.
If you are self-employed, you may take out a voluntary insurance for the risk of incapacity for work due to illness. For more information, please see:
If you are seeking advice or help with your EU rights, please apply for help from the EU.