Ombudsman calls for immediate action on welfare requests

National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen calls on Dutch municipalities to immediately act on welfare requests from residents over the age of 27. A number of municipalities first require applicants to apply for jobs. According to the Ombudsman, this is "absolutely improper" and against the welfare rules, reports.

Starting in 2012 young people under the age of 27 who request welfare benefits, first have to spend four weeks looking and applying for jobs. But for people over the age of 27, this does not apply. The Ombudsman emphasized that people over the age of 27 are usually iin a different situation than young people. They have responsibilities and my have children to care for. It is therefore irresponsible to make them wait four weeks unduly for a welfare benefit to kick in.

Van Zutphen makes this call after the case of a partially disabled woman who moved to the town of Krimpenerwaard came to his attention. In her previous municipality the woman received a welfare benefit to supplement her income. But in Krimpenerwaard she first had to attend an infromation meeting and then apply to at least five jobs per week for two weeks before she qualified for a benefit. 

"The woman could also immediately apply for a benefit. This was not pointed out to her by an employee of the municipality with whom she had an appointment", the Ombudsman said. It was also not mentioned on the municipality's website. The Ombudsman instructed the municipality to adapt its policy and information provision on such matters. 

The Ombudsman received information that a number of municipalities operate in the same way.