Victims have mixed feelings about €30,000 compensation in childcare allowance affair
Parents who became victims of the childcare allowance affair will each receive 30 thousand euros in compensation. At least 9 thousand victims will get that amount by May 1 next year, State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen of Finance announced after a meeting at the Prime Minister's official residence on Tuesday. Parents are happy that they will get compensation, but still have many questions, NOS and NU.nl report.
Over the past years, the Tax Authority wrongly labeled thousands of parents as fraudsters - often using second nationality as a criteria for high risk of fraud - and halted their childcare allowance. Many families had to repay large amounts, leaving them in financial difficulties.
Last week a parliamentary committee of inquiry, led by CDA parliamentarian Chris van Dam, presented a report stating that the involved parents faced unprecedented amounts of injustice. And that cabinets, parliaments and even the judiciary all played a role in the suffering caused to tens of thousands of innocent parents. The committee said that Prime Minister Mark Rutte and members of government in the previous cabinet are all partly responsible for the brutal fraud approach that led to this scandal.
The Rutte III government will talk further about the political consequences of this report in January, but decided that parents should not have to wait for compensation. The cabinet therefore decided to compensate all affected parents with an amount of 30 thousand euros, including parents who suffered less damage. Parents entitled to more compensation will get it, Van Huffelen said.
"It is extremely important that justice is done to parents," the State Secretary said. "They have been through unbelievably horrible things. I talk to a lot of parents who have ended up in very bad situations because of these problems, so I am glad that we can now give a large amount of money quickly."
The cabinet is also considering further arrangements for children who suffered developmental delays due to the scandal. How this will be compensated, is not yet clear.
Affected parents are happy that they will get compensation in the short term, but still have many questions, NOS reports after speaking to a number of parents and the lawyers representing them.
Parent Nazmiye Yigit-Karaduman told the broadcaster that the announcement gave her some peace. "You see something happening. Not just tears and apologies, but also the fact that they are now going to fix the damage."
Personal injury attorneys Orlando Kadir, who is representing 600 parents, and Don Ceder with over a dozen parents as clients, called the compensation "of course good news". But they both doubt that 30 thousand euros will be enough.
The State Secretary assumes that half of the 9 thousand affected parents suffered less than 30 thousand euros in damage, but Kadir finds this hard to believe. "None of my clients have damage below 30 thousand euros." His office calculated damages around 65 thousand euros. Ceder also said his clients suffered much more than 30 thousand euros in damages. "It goes far beyond the refunded childcare allowance. People have lost their homes and accumulated other debts through the affair."
A number of parents feel that this compensation is an "election stunt", for the government to gain support in the run-up to the parliamentary election in March. "Looking at the elections, I have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth," parent Kristie Rongen said. She still has over 90 thousand euros in debts because of the affair, she said.
"It's just a big marketing stunt by the cabinet. It's been misery for ten years and then you take everything with a grain of salt," Kadir said.