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Hardship scheme

There are various schemes to help solve the childcare benefit problems. One of these schemes is the hardship scheme. Below you can read who this scheme is meant for. And what the scheme entails. In December 2020, it was decided to compensate all parents falling under the hardship scheme with the compensation scheme. This scheme is more favourable. You can read more about this on this page.

For whom is the hardship scheme meant?

The hardship scheme is meant for parents who have run into problems due to an excessively strict application of the rules. We call this the hardship of the benefits system. These are parents who made minor mistakes when applying for childcare benefit. For example:

  • Parents who did not provide all the documents we needed to check the application.
  • Parents who did not pay their personal childcare contribution, or paid too little.

In such situations, parents often had to repay all their childcare benefit for that year. And not just the part they might have received in excess. Because that is how the law was applied. In hindsight, we think this was too strict. A small mistake could lead to a large amount being reclaimed. With today's knowledge, we think this is no longer fair.

Lower limit is €1,500 per benefit year

To qualify for this scheme, a lower limit has been set. This is €1,500 per benefit year. This means that only parents who had to pay back €1,500 or more per year due to the hardship rules are eligible for the hardship scheme. The scheme applies only to problems arising after 2005.

Change in hardship scheme since December 2020

In December 2020, the government decided that parents who have been affected by the hardship of the system will now be eligible for the compensation scheme. Financially speaking, this is the most favourable scheme for restoration purposes. Under this scheme, parents are repaid the childcare benefit to which they were actually entitled.  And they will now also receive compensation for material and immaterial damage. And interest compensation.

How is your compensation structured?

Have you been affected by the hardship of the benefits system? And have you had to pay back €1,500 or more (per benefit year) in the past 15 years because of the strict rules? Then we will compensate you under the compensation scheme.

First, we conduct an investigation to find out what exactly went wrong with your childcare benefit. We do this for each benefit year. As soon as this investigation is completed, you will receive the results. This is called a decision. The decision will state the amount you will receive. And also how this amount is structured.

Difference between “biased treatment” and “hardship of the system”

There is one important difference between parents who have been treated in a biased manner and those who have been affected by the hardship of the system.

  • For parents who have been treated in a biased manner, it was not right in retrospect that they had to pay back money.
  • For parents who have been affected by the hardship of the system, it was right that they had to pay back part of their childcare benefit. But it was not right that they had to pay everything back.

Therefore, when calculating the compensation for parents under the hardship scheme, we only look at the part they had to pay back unduly.

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