King Willem-Alexander to meet victims hurt in Cabinet's childcare benefits scandal
King Willem-Alexander will meet with some victims of the childcare allowance scandal on Wednesday afternoon, government information service RVD confirmed to NOS. According to the victims, the King is at least partially responsible for their suffering.
In September, five victims wrote a letter to the King asking for his help and an apology. They said that they found letters, subpoenas, and writs with the King's name on them stuck to their doors. "In our view, you are also responsible for the suffering that has been caused to us and our children," they said in the letter.
The victims also emphasized that their problems are far from being solved. The Cabinet is still working on financial compensation for these parents, wrongly labeled as fraudsters and forced to repay large amounts of childcare allowance. Many are still facing financial difficulties. The Cabinet set 1.1 billion euros aside for dealing with this scandal.
According to NOS, this will be the first time the Dutch monarch meets with victims of government failure. The RVD would not say anything about the meeting.
In his Budget Day speech last month, King Willem-Alexander addressed this scandal. "In the childcare allowance affair, the government wronged people literally and figuratively. In both cases, mistakes must be corrected, and those who are entitled to compensation should receive it as soon as possible," he said.
Tens of thousands of parents are entitled to compensation from the government, many of whom still struggle with debt as a result of their childcare benefits being stripped away, and unjust orders to repay the government for benefits used in the past. The issue has dragged on for years, but it could “take a very long time” for all of the victims to receive compensation, State Secretary of Finance Alexandra van Huffelen said in an interview with Nieuwsuur last week.
Nearly 50 thousand people have already filed a claim with the Dutch tax office.
A review of the scandal by Parliament determined that many parents faced an "unprecedented injustice." Since 2012, the tax office determined parents acted fraudulently if they made simple mistakes or incorrectly completed documents in supplemental filings. They were also placed under increased scrutiny simply for holding dual citizenship, or if they underpaid personal contributions. They were often were stripped of their benefits without being told why, and faced harsh financial and social issues when ordered to repay benefits which often topped ten thousand euros.