What counts as income in determining the amount of my benefit?

Income (or earnings) is all the money you and/or your partner receive and use to live on. This income is deducted from your benefit.

Income can come from:

  • Work
  • Alimony
  • AOW
  • Money back from tax
  • What you receive from others (donations). You must report all donations to us if the total amount exceeds €1,800 per calendar year. Donations from the food bank are not included. For more information, see the Beleidsregels Vrijlating Giften Participatiewet Zoetermeer.

What is not included?

Income earmarked for a specific purpose. For example:

  • care allowance
  • rent supplement
  • childcare allowance
  • child budget
  • child support

Why do I have to come to an appointment and bring bank statements. You already have everything, don't you?

If you have benefits, you have some duties. These are rules you must follow. Of course, you also have some rights.

One of the obligations is that you must cooperate with investigations into your entitlement to benefits. You may be invited to an interview for this purpose. To see if you are still entitled to benefits, your bank statements will be checked.

For more information, also visit the website of the central government | What are my rights and obligations in the assistance?

I have applied for benefits. Can I get an advance?

You can only get an advance if you really have no more money to live on. Each situation is considered individually.

After 4 weeks, has the municipality still not decided whether you will receive benefits? Then you are automatically entitled to an advance payment of at least 90% of the benefit. This is only possible if:

  • What is certain is that you are entitled to benefits.
  • You have sent all supporting documents.

Do I always need permission to attend training if I have benefits?

No permission required

You do not need permission to follow a:

  • Evening Course.
  • Written course or training.
  • Training from the Open University.

If you take one of these courses, your benefits will continue. Are you offered a job? Then you must accept it.

Permission required, however

Do you want to attend a day school? If so, you must seek permission from your income director.

Can I be required to attend training if I have benefits?

Yes, the municipality can require you to take training if it will increase your chances of employment.

You will keep your benefits while in training unless you are entitled to student loans.

Do I always have to apply for a job if I have benefits?

Yes. Everyone on (welfare) benefits must apply.

If you cannot work, you do not have to apply for a job. There can be several reasons for this:

  • You are sick for a long time.
  • You are a single parent:
    • Your (youngest) child is under the age of 5.
    • You have all the care for this child.
    • The period you do not have to look for work is up to 5 years.
    • However, you must use these 5 years to increase your chances of employment. To do this, you will make a plan with your income director.
  • You are 60+ and you really can't find work anymore.
    • The municipality looks at what your job prospects are.
    • If these chances are very small, you may not need to apply.
    • However, you are expected to stay active by volunteering, for example.
  • You are a caregiver for someone who cannot live without your help.
    • No one else can take that care from you.

Do you find that you are unable to apply for and/or accept work? If so, report this to your income director.

Should I accept any job if I have benefits?

If you have benefits, you must always accept suitable work.

This may mean:

  • Work that is lower than your education (with an MBO degree, you must also accept LBO work).
  • Work that earns you less than your previous job.
  • Work outside your hometown or region.
  • Temporary, temporary or part-time work.

Only if you are unable to perform the work because of physical or other limitations are you not required to take the job.

Do you refuse work that the municipality believes is appropriate? If so, you may receive reduced benefits or no benefits at all.

Am I required to apply for a job as a single parent?

You are not required to apply if:

  • You are a single parent.
  • Your (youngest) child is under the age of 5.
  • You have all the care for this child.

The period you do not have to look for work is up to 5 years. However, you must use this time to increase your chances of finding work. To do this, you will make a plan with your income director.

What types of home visits are there?

Our staff will visit your home if we have any doubts about whether you have provided us with the correct information. We will check whether your situation matches our information. For example, whether you do live at the address provided.

There are 2 types of home visits where our staff will visit your home.

  • Home visit by appointment (verification visit)
  • unexpected home visit (monitoring visit)

Home visit by appointment

At this visit, we will make an appointment with you in advance when our staff will come to your home.

Unexpected home visit (monitoring visit)

In the event of an unexpected home visit, there are 2 options:

  1. Our staff will show up at your door unexpectedly and ask permission for a home visit.
  2. You come to City Hall for a conversation about your situation. In that conversation, the clerk will tell you that we will come to your home later that day.

Reasons for an unexpected home visit include:

  • Verification that you do live at the address you provided.
  • Checking whether you may be cohabiting.
  • Checking whether you may be working (black) (for example, you buy and sell things over the Internet).
  • You state that you rent a room, but you cannot show a (proper) lease.

Home visit and your privacy

A home visit is a violation of your privacy. Therefore, we may make a home visit only if we cannot verify information by any other means.

Consent to home visit

Our staff always asks permission to enter your home. Also, opening rooms and/or closets is done only with your permission.

Refusing a home visit

You have the right to refuse a home visit. Are you not cooperating? Then you are acting in violation of your duty to cooperate. This may have consequences for your benefits.

Can you show that you have a very urgent reason why you cannot cooperate with the home visit at that time? Then your benefit will not be affected. The home visit will take place at another time.

The following situations are not grounds for not cooperating with a home visit:

  • It's a mess in your home.
  • There are other people in your home (visitors).
  • You must first have permission from roommates or your landlord.
  • You have an appointment to go to.

You may refuse a home visit (without stopping your benefits) if it is an inspection visit. At this visit, there is no evidence that you have given false information.

What happens during and after a home visit?

  • During an (unexpected) visit, at least 2 of our staff members will visit your home.
  • Employees can always prove that they are from the municipality.
  • They will tell you why they are visiting you.
  • They always ask your permission to enter.
  • They may ask you to view rooms and/or open closets.

Report and decision

  • A report will be made of the visit.
  • You may see this report when the examination is complete.
  • Based on the information from the home visit, the municipality makes a decision.
  • You may receive an invitation for an interview.
  • In that conversation, you will be told whether your benefits will be adjusted or stopped and why.

What happens if I am not home during a home visit?

Are you not at home when one of our employees comes by? Then you will receive an invitation to come to the Werkplein. The date and time are in the invitation.

It is also possible that you will not receive an invitation, but that a staff member will visit you unexpectedly.

What should I do if I am blamed for fraud?

If we find that you are committing or have committed fraud, we will send you a letter (a notification). This letter states what fraud is involved and what this means for you. If you want, an employee of the municipality (a social investigator) can give more explanation in an interview.

Are you not guilty?

Then you can contact the social investigator or your income director. In that conversation, you can tell them why you think you are not guilty. This is called hearing rights.

Do you think someone close to you is committing fraud?

If so, you can report it to us. For more information, see the product Fraud, report suspicion. You can also make your report anonymously.

How long can the municipality demand repayment of benefits?

The municipality can demand repayment from you up to 5 years after you received the benefit.

You can do this if, for example:

  • Received benefits when you were not entitled to them.
  • Received an excessive amount of benefits.

Is it due to an error on the part of the municipality? Then there is a 2-year period in which reimbursement can be requested.

The amount you have to repay may be deducted from your account over a period of 20 years.

When will my benefit be deposited into my account?

Your benefit will be transferred each month on the last business day of that month. Please note! It can sometimes take a few days for the amount to appear in your account. This depends on your bank.

Vacation money

Vacation pay on your benefit is transferred once a year separately from your benefit. This is done in May of each year. You cannot get an advance on the vacation pay. You will receive a separate statement about the vacation pay. Note! This does not apply if you pay off debts through your benefit.

Do you pay off debts through your benefits?

If you pay off debt through your benefits, the following changes for you:

  • You will be paid your vacation pay every month starting June 1, 2024, instead of once a year. Do you want to keep your vacation money aside for a vacation, for example? Then you must arrange this yourself.

Is your debt completely paid off? Then we will pay your vacation pay again in one lump sum in May.

Why did this change as of June 1, 2024?

We pay off your debts each month through your benefit. The amount you then received is below the legal minimum. The judge says this has to change. By paying out your vacation pay each month now, you will get a higher amount each month that meets the legal minimum.

Will I get higher benefits if I have a child?

No, your benefit will not increase.

You may be able to get a child budget. You usually do not have to apply for this yourself. You will be notified about this by the Tax Office. For more information: Belastingdienst | Child budget.

Can the municipality pay my benefits directly? For example, to my landlord, gas, water, electricity supplier or health insurance company?

No, unfortunately we cannot do that. You must take care of payment to your landlord, gas, water, electricity or health insurance provider yourself.

Are you having trouble administering your money matters? The municipality can help you. For more information: Help with money matters and debt.

How do I get the annual statement?

Resident Portal

Do you receive benefits from the municipality of Zoetermeer? Then you can download your annual statement and benefit specifications in the Inwonerportaal. The annual statement can be found in the Inwonerportaal from February/March each year.

Find annual statement in the Resident Portal

How does this work?

  1. Go to inwonerportaal.zoetermeer.nl.
  2. Log in with your DigiD.
  3. Are you logging in for the first time? Then enter your e-mail address and phone number in your profile.
  4. You will now be taken to the home page.
  5. Click on the "Annual Statement and Benefit Statement" tile. You will now enter the screen where you can request your annual statement and/or benefit specification.
  6. You can download the annual statement by choosing a year. In the 'Period' box, do not enter anything.
  7. Click on the "Download" button.

Finding benefit statements in the Resident Portal

How does this work?

  1. Go to inwonerportaal.zoetermeer.nl.
  2. Log in with your DigiD.
  3. Are you logging in for the first time? Then enter your e-mail address and phone number in your profile.
  4. Click on the "Annual Statement and Benefit Statement" tile.
  5. You will now come to the screen where you can request your benefit statement The benefit statement can be downloaded by choosing a year and under 'Period' choose a month.
  6. Click on the "Download" button.

Need help?

The Forms Brigade is happy to help. The address is Croesinckplein 24 in Zoetermeer. Walk-in consultations are held on weekdays between 9 a.m. and noon. For more information: www.formulierenbrigadezoetermeer.nl.

Questions?

Contact your income director. If you do not know who your income director is, contact them by calling 14 079.

Can I volunteer if I have welfare benefits?

Yes you may but you must seek prior approval from your income director. Volunteering must not get in the way of (finding) a paid job.

Sometimes you will receive a small amount of money if you volunteer. You may "earn" up to €210 per month (and up to €2,100 per year) in 2024 by volunteering alongside your benefit (without being cut from your benefit). This does not apply to persons under the age of 27.

Is your question not listed?

Then contact us using the contact form or call 14 079.