The Dutch Government has several benefits programs to help those with low incomes to pay for various expenses like healthcare, housing, children and childcare. However, there are restrictions on when you can apply for certain benefits.
Once financially independent, most people will generally have a “lower” income to sustain their daily expense. However, these same folks will generally have a relatively high wealth in order to do so (e.g. comprised of stocks, bonds, rental properties, etc.). So, how does this affect their ability (or inability) to qualify for the various benefits?
A quick overview below (as per 2016):
Healthcare Benefits (Zorgtoeslag)
Low income families can apply for aid to pay for healthcare cost. However, there are both caps on income and/or wealth to be able to qualify for these benefits. For income this cap is € 26.316 (single) and € 32.655 (couples). For wealth this cap is € 21.330 per person, so € 42.660 for a couple.
In short, folks striving for financial independence will most likely not be able to apply for this benefit as many will have more than the maximum allowable income and/or wealth.
Rental support (Huurtoeslag)
Low income families can also apply for aid to pay for rent for their primary residence. Again, there are both caps on income and wealth to be able to qualify for these benefits. The income cap (for a couple) is € 29.800.
For wealth this cap is the same as for healthcare benefits, so € 21.330 (single) or € 42.660 (couple). The base rent also need to be within a certain range: min € 229,64 and max € 710,68 per month (excluding service fees).
Similar to Healthcare benefits, folks for financial independence will most likely not be able to apply for this benefit as many will have more than the maximum allowable income and/or wealth
Special Child Benefits (Kindgebonden budget)
This benefit is in addition to “normal” child benefits (http://www.svb.nl/int/en/kinderbijslag/index.jsp; more on this in a later post) and is to aid in raising children under the age of 18.
However, similar to healthcare and rental support benefits, this optional benefit is subject to wealth (same limits as for healthcare and rental support). Again, not a benefit that the average folks going for Financial Independence could obtain (see a pattern here?).
Childcare benefits are limited to 230 hours per month and depend on how many hours you work (i.e. a full time job at a 40 hour work week will qualify you for the maximum number of benefit hours). There are also a maximum hourly rates associated with the benefits. Rates vary between about € 5.48 and € 6.80 depending on the childcare type (i.e. dayhome vs. daycare). If you pay a rate that is higher than the maximum, the difference will not be covered by the benefits.
Folks aiming for Financial Independence will not be able to apply as they would not have a job and thus no need for this benefit. It may, however, still benefit most folks that are on their way to Financial Independence and have children in daycare.
How to calculate your potential benefits? The Tax Man has a website where you can do your own calculations: http://www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/bldcontentnl/themaoverstijgend/rekenhulpen/rekenhulpen_particulier ) to see if you would be eligible for the various benefits (in Dutch only).