Statement | Don’t forget the children of the Benefits scandal

Before the end of the year, Taxation will start paying a benefit to children of victims of the Benefit Scandal. Many of these children are already (more than) 18+. Like their parents, these children receive financial compensation. With this payment, the government recognizes that not only the parents, but also their children themselves are victims of this affair. The amount depends on the age of the children. From ten thousand euros for young people over the age of 18 to two thousand euros for the youngest children. But will these children really experience the grant as a helping hand, as it is meant to be?

Parents will receive compensation from the public for the damage they have suffered as a result of the Benefits scandal. In addition, public debt is forgiven. The Tax Agency cites tax debt and debt at DUO as an example. Private debt is paid by the public. Such as debt with health insurance or the energy supplier. And parents get a pause button to ensure creditors can’t get their compensation. Although sometimes things don’t go so rosy in reality, there is a new start for the parents, at least on paper.

Additional works

Some of the victims’ (adult) children have also gone into debt or started working extra in order to contribute at home. A home where Tax made life difficult by imposing high recoveries. For example, there are young people who have borrowed the maximum amount from DUO in order to shop or help pay debts with the tax authorities. Or they have pawned things. There are parents who have put the energy supplier’s contract in their adult child’s name because they themselves have threatened to be closed. The young people’s examples are poignant and have led some of them into debt.

But unlike their parents, these youngsters do not get a clean slate from the central government. Their debts are not paid or forgiven. They don’t get a pause button to keep creditors at bay. So, with a bit of luck, the compensation towards creditors, including the state, disappears. The victims of the crime are also not compensated for their losses. As adult children, they cannot apply to the Marital Damages Committee. It is only the parent who has applied for childcare benefits.

Also read: Report with experiences from 114 ‘welfare children’: ‘We had to defecate in smørrebrød bags’

During the consideration of the bill, which among other things regulates this benefit for children, this was discussed. Proposals to help these children with debt have not reached the Senate. All government parties voted against. Unfortunately, a lobby from the four largest cities did not help either. So politically it is a race that has been run. During the discussion, the State Secretary drew attention to the fact that the children’s scheme has been drawn up in consultation with children, and that they have asked for tailored solutions, financial information and good debt relief. Is that the end of it?

Angry

Duped young people we talk to are angry about this inequality. Why aren’t they being helped financially with injuries and debts while their parents are? Didn’t the IRS get them in trouble too? And parents let it be known that they cannot start over if their children cannot do the same.

In any case, what must come very soon is a pause button that temporarily keeps the creditors at bay. So that creditors cannot seize the duped young people’s compensation for the time being. In Rotterdam there will be such a pause button for municipal debt for them. In The Hague, municipal debt will not be recovered temporarily. Amsterdam has ‘Schuldenrust’, with which debts of up to five thousand euros can be paid off, and municipal debts no longer have a priority position. Such a pause button should also be introduced at national level, so that there is ‘safe money’. During that break, a solid plan can be made to help these young people out of debt. There are plenty of ideas about that, even among the young people themselves. Only then does the national government’s recognition that young people themselves are victims mean something. And then this helping hand can contribute a little to recovery. With young people and with their parents.

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