Gov't to compensate profiled parents who unjustly lost childcare subsidies

Belastingdienst tax blue envelope
Euros on the well-known "blue envelope" sent by the Belastingdienst, the Dutch tax officeJoeppoulssenDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The government will compensate around 270 parents whose childcare allowance was halted after unjust fraud allegations. Their compensation will be in their account before Christmas, by around December 20th, State Secretary Menno Snel of Finance said in a letter sent to parliament on Tuesday.

Around 300 parents will soon receive a letter regarding the halting of their childcare allowance. About 90 percent of them will receive compensation, Snel said. Over 200 parents will receive amounts up to 20 thousand euros. And some 70 parents will receive mounts between 20 thousand euros and 66 thousand euros. 

The compensation amounts are based on the currently available information in the investigation into childcare allowances being unjustly halted. That amount may change as more information becomes available, but it can only become higher, Snel stressed. The affected parents will be notified about the final compensation decision early next year.. 

In the letter to parents, Snel again apologized for the difficult circumstances they were left in by being unjustly labeled as fraudsters. "A sum of money can never make up for everything. Unfortunately, the injustice that has been done to these parents and the feeling of powerlessness that they have been walking around with for so long cannot be removed. I am very aware of that", he said. 

This affair revolves around the unlawful termination of hundreds of parents' childcare allowance. The parents were wrongfully labeled as fraudsters and were ordered to repay allowances, sometimes running up to tens of thousands of euros. There are suspicions that investigators used ethnic profiling - at one daycare in Eindhoven, parents whose allowance was halted almost exclusively had a second nationality.

The committee that investigated this affair concluded that the Tax Authority's fraud approach derailed and that it caused much suffering. The National Ombudsman said that the Tax Authority put hundreds of families in an impossible situation. And the Children's Ombudsman accused the Tax Authority of ignoring children's rights. 

A group of around 30 parents went to the Tax Authority to demand access to their files, so that they could see what caused them to be labeled as fraudsters. The first parents received copies of their files last week, but were furious to find that large portions of the information therein had been blacked out. 

Late last month RTL Nieuws and Trouw reported that State Secretary Menno Snel of Finance deliberately withheld information from the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, regarding how many parents had their childcare allowance unjustly halted.