Thousands of parents who have been victims in the childcare pension affair are still waiting for their money. Municipalities want to help the victims, but this is difficult. On Friday, the ministry announced that a solution is in the works so that municipalities can also call victims themselves early next year. This is necessary because until now municipalities only know how many people are involved. Not who they are. The problem: privacy rules.
Due to the GDPR privacy law, the tax authorities are not allowed to give the names of victims. “The fact that it takes so long for people to be compensated by the government is already terribly unfortunate”, says Peter Heijkoop of the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG). “And that comes on top of that.” Heijkoop speaks with the Ministry of Finance on this issue on behalf of the municipalities.
According to CDA MP Pieter Omtzigt, one of the drivers of the childcare pension affair, this is the upside down world, “the victims have been classified as fraudsters in all systems for years, but now they need help, there are privacy rules.” The cabinet was intended to compensate the parents for 235 million this year, but this did not work. 18 million will end up with the parents this year, the rest will have to wait until next year.
Reimbursement and compensation is a matter for the government that municipalities cannot help with. The municipalities therefore provide support with practical matters such as debt counseling or debt relief. To get in touch with victims, they then look after themselves. For example, the Hillersum municipality has primary school, childcare facilities and children placed a call and placed an advertisement in a door-to-door newspaper in the hope of getting in touch with the 38 victims in the media city. The result led to five responses.
Twenty victims have reported so far in Arnhem. Before the summer, the city was informed that the total will probably be 340 people. “We’ve also been able to find some people through debt counseling, but the pace is just slow,” says Alderman Martien Lowers.
One of the victims is Miranda Suvaal. Childcare committed fraud with her data and she had to repay the tax authorities. In general, this amounts to just over € 10,000, which in practice a refund of more than € 400 per month.
Her mother read an appeal from the municipality in the newspaper. Last Friday, she had her first appointment in Rijnstad, a welfare organization that assists victims on behalf of the municipality. “The worst thing is that I got the stamp of fraud, while I thought I was doing everything right and just having a job.”
Commitment Verstegen, social worker at Rijnstad, says that some people no longer dare to apply for a childcare allowance: “while they are entitled to it. As a result, they are biting on a piece of cake in the meantime.” The kind of things that a municipality can help with.
Tamara Hardenbol is one of the victims of the benefits by the tax authorities. She wrongly had to repay thousands of euros in childcare pension, which had major consequences for her and her family: