Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Netherlands - Social assistance benefits

You can read here about social assistance benefits in the Netherlands.

In what situation can I claim?

The Participation Act (Participatiewet) guarantees a minimum income for everyone who is living legally in the Netherlands and who has insufficient means to maintain themselves.

What conditions do I need to meet?

You have the right to a social assistance benefit if you:

  • are living legitimately in the Netherlands;
  • are at least 18 years old;
  • as a single person, single parent or family have an income that is lower than the social assistance norm;
  • cannot claim any other benefit;
  • have assets that do not exceed a certain sum;
  • are not in jail or a detention centre.

Assets may not exceed a certain maximum for married couples, couples living together or single parents, and a different maximum for single people. Assets include not only savings, but also assets such as for example a car.

If you own your own home, then its value will also be taken into account when assessing your assets. A certain amount is excluded from the assessment.

Is the value of your house, minus any mortgage still to be paid off, more than the maximum amount? Then the local authority could grant you a social assistance benefit in the form of a financial loan.

See here for the current maximum amounts of assets.


If you receive a social assistance benefit, you must do everything possible to find work. Your local authority can help you with this. Single parents with a child up to 5 years old do may request dispensation from the obligation to look for work. The parent is however obliged to attend training courses.

Read more about your obligations if you receive a social assistance benefit.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Social assistance levels

The social assistance levels for single people, single parents and married people between the age of 21 and the statutory retirement age (AOW age) are based on the net minimum wage. There are three different categories: 18-21 years, 21-pensionable age and from pensionable age.

The benefit you have a right to depends on your age and living situation. The social assistance levels depend on the number of persons aged 21 or older living in the same house, regardless of whether they are family members or not (shared living costs standard). Such people are referred to as cost sharers. In addition, 5% holiday pay is paid out annually.

Retired people with an insufficient pension can also claim the additional income provision for the elderly (AIO).

See here for the current amounts of social assistance benefit.

Under certain circumstances, you also have the right to Housing allowance and Care allowance.

Special assistance

assistance is a cash benefit for essential expenditure that you cannot pay due to exceptional circumstances, for example the cost of buying a washing machine. Your local authority will pay this amount.

Young and ill/disabled

See the https://www.uwv.nl/particulieren/arbeidsbeperkt/index.aspx.

Jargon busters

  • Participation Act (Participatiewet): a Dutch law that guarantees a minimum income for everyone who is living legally in the Netherlands and has insufficient means to maintain themselves.
  • Young Disabled Persons Act (Wet arbeidsongeschiktheidsvoorziening jonggehandicapten, Wajong): scheme for children and young people who have a long-term illness or disability on their 17th birthday or during their study.
  • The Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut werknemersverzekeringen, UVW) is a Dutch welfare agency responsible for implementing the employee insurance schemes (unemployment, illness, incapacity for work).

Know your rights

The links below set out your rights. They are not European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the European Commission.

European Commission publication and website:

Who do you need to contact?

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