Some self-employed still missing out on Covid support: Ombudsman
There are still self-employed people in the Netherlands who are excluded from the government's coronavirus support packages, while they desperately need the support, National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen said based on over 500 reports to his hotline.
"Self-employed persons and small entrepreneurs who are not eligible for corona support are having a hard time," Van Zutphen said to NOS. "Buffers have run out, pension pots have been used, money has been borrowed from family and friends." And the problems will be even bigger when the government starts to reclaim aid. "Real customization is needed, otherwise many entrepreneurs will not make it."
Self-employed people are running into trouble when applying for the TOZO scheme, a bridging scheme specifically set up for self-employed. But also when applying to the TVL scheme for help with their fixed costs, or even the TONK scheme made to help entrepreneurs who do not qualify for other schemes, the Ombudsman said.
A major problem with the TVL scheme is in determining the level of support for the quarter. The Netherlands enterprise agency RVO looks at a pre-pandemic quarter to see how much the entrepreneur earned. For new companies who had not built up much of a turnover yet in 2019, this often means little to no support.
The major bottleneck for the TOZO scheme is the partner test - if the self-employed person's partner still has income, the aid amount is often too low to cover their high costs.
Entrepreneurs who can't get enough support through TVL or TOZO, can apply at the TONK support fund. Municipalities can determine the requirements for TONK support. And according to the Ombudsman, these requirements are so strict in some municipalities that hardly any entrepreneurs qualify.