Netherlands' debt counseling falls short: Ombudsman
The Dutch government's approach to helping citizens with their debts is definitely lacking, National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen writes in a critical report. Those who ask the government for help with their debt, are faced by obstacle after obstacle, the Telegraaf reports. Some of the obstacles the Ombudsman noticed is that entrepreneurs and homeowners are often denied debt counseling due to their position, without a suitable alternative being offered. Van Zutphen also encountered complaints that completing the debt counseling procedure is lengthy, poorly accessible and that people are not formally notified if their aid applications are rejected. The Ombudsman also found that the government takes too little notice of people who are not self sufficient, while it is they who are particularly dependent on the government to solve their problems. This is even a bigger problem with financial problems, given that the lack of self sufficiency is often the cause of debt, according to Van Zutphen. Van Zutphen concludes that the government is living under an illusion that people can easily come to them for help with their debts. "The government assumes a standard, and if you do not meet it, you fall by the wayside. It should never be the intention that the citizen is excluded because he does not fit into the standard of debt relief distribution."