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 €350 will usually cost you between €90-110 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 2021 is €107 per month if you earn below €20,000 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 whether or not 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 healthcare allowance?
The conditions for receiving the Zorgtoeslag in 2021 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 €31,138 each year
- You and your partner do no earn more than €39,979 jointly, if you have a tax partner
- Your individual assets must be no greater than €118,479
- You and your partner’s joint assets are no greater than €149,819
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 healthcare allowance?
Yes there is. If you want to have back-payments from 2020, then you have until September of this year to claim them back. To apply for 2021, the deadline is September 2022, 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.
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Feature Image: Marcelo leal/Unsplash
This article was originally published in March 2018 and was fully updated in March 2021 for your reading pleasure.