In the Netherlands, it is compulsory that everyone has health insurance. This sounds scary at first, especially when you don’t have much money to spare — but fear not, the Dutch government can help you there.
The Dutch take insurance very seriously and who can blame them! In most cases, insurance is an affordable cost that comes with many benefits and allowances. Speaking of allowances, let’s talk about the Zorgtoeslag.
🏥 Zorgtoeslag — healthcare allowance in the Netherlands
A basic health insurance package with an own risk of €385 will usually cost you between €120-160 per month. A heavy price to pay if you aren’t earning very much. Well, good news, there’s a healthcare allowance in the Netherlands.
The government acknowledges that for some people this is too much to pay each month. As a result, there is a benefit you can claim for this.
It’s called zorgtoeslag (healthcare allowance) and it is a monthly allowance that the government pays you prior to your health insurance being paid out.
The maximum allowance in 2023 is €154 per month if you earn €25,000 per year (see the conditions below). In some cases, this will leave you with less than €10 to pay per month towards your healthcare!
👨👩👧 Who can receive the zorgtoeslag?
If you are living in the Netherlands and registered with your local municipality, chances are you are required to take out health insurance. As someone who pays for their health insurance, you may in turn be eligible for the zorgtoeslag. This depends on a number of factors.
🌍 Can you receive the zorgtoeslag if you are an international?
Whether or not you are eligible for the zorgtoeslag as an international in the Netherlands firstly depends on if you are required to take out health insurance in the first place.
Most of the time, health insurance is compulsory for both Dutchies and internationals. The majority of the time, if you are residing in the Netherlands for more than 4 months (non-EU) or 1 year (EU) and are not working, you need to take out Dutch health insurance. If you are working, then you need to take this out right away.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are an international student who has come to the Netherlands to study, you are not required to take out Dutch health insurance.
Similarly, if you are completing an internship that pays below minimum wage as part of your studies, then you are also not required to take out health insurance. Of course, you may still decide to take out Dutch health insurance if you wish, it’s just not compulsory in this case.
Regardless of whether you are required to take out health insurance, or simply choose to, you will be eligible for the zorgtoeslag if you meet the below conditions.
✅ What are the conditions of the Dutch healthcare allowance?
The conditions for receiving the Zorgtoeslag in 2023 are as follows:
- You must be 18 or older
- You must have taken out Dutch healthcare insurance
- You (and your tax partner) must be a Dutch national or have a legal residence permit/you are registered with your local municipality and have received your BSN
- You do not earn more than €38,520 each year
- You and your partner do not earn more than €48,224 jointly, if you have a tax partner
- Your individual assets must be no greater than €127,582
- You and your partner’s joint assets are no greater than €161,329
🌏 Am I eligible for the zorgtoeslag if my partner or I live abroad?
If you or your partner are working for a Dutch company but are living abroad, you may still be eligible for the zorgtoeslag if you live in an EU or EEA country.
It is also possible if you live in a country where the Netherlands has signed a social security treaty or any other country if you are obliged by law to take Dutch health insurance out.
TIP: Already claiming? Don’t forget to tell the Belastingdienst within 4 weeks, if your situation changes! If you don’t, you’ll receive a nice bill to tell you to pay it back, ouch.
🤔 How do I apply for healthcare allowance in the Netherlands?
Any benefit applications need to be filed in Dutch on your benefits government section, using your DigiD to sign in. Click here to log in.
If you’re struggling, you can call the helpline (0800-0543) or visit your local tax office and they will advise you on what to do.
Sometimes they can organise for someone to help you with your application. If not — ask your bestest Dutch friend — I’m sure they’ll help you out!
📅 Is there a deadline to apply for Dutch healthcare allowance?
Yes, there is. If you want to have back-payments from 2022, then you have until September of this year to claim them back. To apply for 2022, the deadline is September 2023, and so on.
Hopefully, this will help you get well on your way to not being bankrupt when trying to insure yourself. If you want to calculate how much you might get to prepare yourself, you can do so here.
Dutch healthcare allowance FAQ:
How do I know if I’m eligible for Dutch healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag)?
There are certain requirements that you have to meet to be eligible to receive the Dutch healthcare allowance. You have to be over 18, have Dutch health insurance and meet certain income requirements. You can find more information about this hier.
How much Dutch healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag) can I receive?
This will depend on how much you earn and whether you have an allowance partner. The more you earn, the lower your healthcare allowance will be.
You can look here to see an estimation of how much Dutch healthcare allowance you will get for different incomes. This also shows how much you will get with and without an allowance partner.
If you are not already receiving a healthcare allowance, you can see exactly how much you would receive by doing a test calculation here.
If you are already receiving a healthcare allowance, you can log into your “Mijn toeslagen” account here. You can then use your DigiD to log in and find out your exact Dutch healthcare allowance.
How much do I have to earn before I’m no longer eligible for the zorgtoeslag?
You are eligible to receive the Dutch healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag) for 2023 if your gross annual income is not higher than €38,520 without an allowance partner, and €48,224 with an allowance partner.
If you earn more than that, you are no longer eligible to receive zorgtoeslag. You can calculate your income before benefits here.
How can I apply for the Dutch healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag)?
You can apply online. If you meet the conditions to receive the Dutch healthcare allowance, you can follow the easy steps here to apply for your zorgtoeslag.
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This article was originally published in March 2018 and was fully updated in April 2023 for your reading pleasure.