Amsterdam welfare recipients can continue to work part-time for the time being without all their earnings being set off against their benefits. This is apparent from a letter to the municipal council from alderman Rutger Groot Wassink. In its own words, the municipality is looking for the edges of what is legally allowed.
Since 2018, there has already been a trial with about 5000 people in Amsterdam. Research by the municipality showed that twice as many people started working in this group as in a comparable group that did not participate in the experiment.
The municipality also saw that the so-called additional income premium contributes to more social security. That is why, since March this year, everyone with assistance has been eligible for it, and the scheme will now be extended until the end of 2023.
Get out of help faster
“A considerable group of people on social assistance work part-time or would like to,” says Groot Wassink. “With the premium we can strengthen people’s livelihoods because they get more from it. It also helps people to get to work regularly and to get out of social assistance more quickly.”
Under the scheme, people entitled to social assistance may receive 30 percent of their wages, up to a maximum of 219 euros per month, as a premium. This happens once every six months, without their monthly benefit decreasing. For example, Amsterdam wants to encourage people to work on welfare. The rest of the money earned is settled with the benefit.
Debts and fixed costs
The money is mainly spent on paying off debts, paying arrears and fixed costs such as rent, insurance and subscriptions, the municipality says based on conversations with participants. The premium is not formally seen as income, so it is not at the expense of, for example, the housing benefit.
Based on the experiences in Amsterdam, the municipality believes that national policy should be adjusted. “Amsterdam is currently looking for the edges of the Participation Act”, says alderman Rutger Groot Wassink.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment has warned that a structural additional income premium may mean that tax has to be paid, Groot Wassink writes in a letter to the city council. That is why an extension of two years is now being opted for.
Various other municipalities have also experimented in recent years to get people on social assistance to work. They receive a financial incentive or there are initiatives for extra guidance or fewer obligations. The results of this are variable.
Similar projects are underway in Rotterdam, Wageningen, Doetinchem and Aalten as the additional earning premium in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam will continue with a premium for workers on social assistance for longer
Source link Amsterdam will continue with a premium for workers on social assistance for longer