Have you received a letter stating that you are an affected parent? Then a pause button for public and private debts will apply for one year. The pause button also applies to your current benefit partner. The pause starts when you receive the first compensation after a first assessment or an integrated assessment. Usually, this will be the €30,000 under the Catshuis scheme.
What is the pause button?
In the year that the pause button applies, we will solve as many of your debts as possible. Have most of your public debts not yet been resolved? Then the pause button for public debts will continue.
The 'pause button' prevents creditors from seizing €30,000 or other compensation. In this way, we create some peace and quiet to find a solution together with creditors. And you can use the allowance as much as possible to make a new start.
The pause button is officially called the moratorium. The moratorium applies to affected parents and their benefit partners.
To which debts does the pause button apply?
The pause button applies to:
- debts incurred before the start of the pause button.
- debts caused by you being in arrears.
- both public and private debts.
What is not covered by the pause button
‘Normal’ monthly payments (e.g. for energy, water, a newspaper subscription) are not covered by the pause button. You must therefore continue to pay them. You need not pay any reminders for payment arrears. For this, you can refer your creditor to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
Debts arising after you received the €30,000 are not covered by the pause button. It is therefore very important that you continue to pay all your ‘normal’ bills, such as rent, mortgage, taxes, health insurance and instalments.
Do you need to take any action?
The pause button is automatically activated for public debts. You do not have to do anything for that. In order to pause private debts, you must pass on a special code to the creditor.
Agreements with creditors
The State Secretary has made administrative agreements (Dutch) with the umbrella organisations of common creditors. They contain a joint moral appeal to deal with the debt settlement in a reasonable manner. And not to send parents any (new) old, written-off claims. It has been agreed that together we will support the affected parent as best we can. And we call on all creditors to also pause collection practices for affected parents.
What are creditors not allowed to do?
During the pause year, creditors are not allowed to collect debts from you, nor from your current benefit partner. Nor are they allowed to attach a bank account, wages or any other assets. Creditors may also not execute an attachment that was already in place. For example, is your house in foreclosure? Then the attachment will remain. But your house may not be sold.
Creditors are also not allowed to amend any contracts with you during the pause because there is an outstanding debt. This means, for example, that a rental contract or a subscription cannot be terminated because you are in arrears with payments.
What are creditors allowed to do?
During the pause, however, creditors are allowed to ask you to pay the debt and they may send reminders or demands. The moratorium does not prohibit this. We have, however, made administrative agreements on this. And we call on all creditors not to send any reminders and demands.
You can report to your creditor that you have been affected by the childcare benefit problems. And ask them to pause your debt. And to do nothing until we find a solution to your debts. You can use the code from the letter to that end. You can also ask your municipality for help.
What happens when my pause button expires?
After 1 year, the pause button for your debts will stop.
- Public creditors will inform you about the debts that have arisen since 1 January 2021. You will receive a letter from each public creditor about the debts you have to pay. This letter also contains information on a payment arrangement. If you need help with this payment arrangement, please contact the creditor.
- Private creditors will inform you about your outstanding debts. Debts arising after 1 June 2021 must be paid by you. Do you have a debt that arose between 1 January 2006 and 1 June 2021? And you have not yet reported this debt to the desk for private debts? You can still pass on this debt.
Emergency procedure for private debts
To prevent you from getting into trouble straight away, there is an emergency procedure for private debts. Because the following can happen, for example, if your pause button has expired and you have not (yet) passed on a judicial private debt:
- The bailiff will visit you.
- You find out that your wages have been garnished, or (part of) your income goes straight to those you are in debt to.
If your private debt is covered by the Private Debt Decree and if you get into acute problems, you can use the emergency procedure for private debts. You will be helped within a few hours. See if your private debt is covered by this decree.
How does the procedure work?
Call the Service Team Benefit Restoration: 0800 - 2 358 358 (free of charge).
They will put you in direct contact with the Broad Assistance Team. They will check whether your situation is urgent and will help you immediately.
Need any help?
Are you having financial problems because of the childcare benefit problems? Contact your municipality for help.
Frequently asked questions
I received a letter saying that I must report my debts.
You have received this letter because the moratorium on your debts is about to end. Therefore, it is important for you to report your debts to the desk for private debts as soon as possible. This is the quickest way for you to get our help. Before then, you can start listing your debts. If necessary, your municipality can help you with this.
Details of your debts
You can send a photo or copy of an invoice or reminder of each debt. You can do this digitally via the website or by post. We request the following details of each debt:
- Name of the creditor
- Customer number or reference number
- Invoice number
- Payable amount
If the creditor is a local creditor or a particular branch, we also ask for the creditor’s website, e-mail address, telephone number and domicile, if possible.
I have not received a letter saying that I can report my debts. What does this mean?
If you have not received a letter, it means your debts remain paused. If your pause button ends within 2 months, you will be sent a letter every month. This will also give you time to list your debts. Your municipality can help you with this.
Even if you have not received a letter, you can report your debts to the desk for private debts. However, debt lists of parents whose pause button ends within 2 months are the first to be picked up.
My letter states that the moratorium (pause button) applies to debts incurred before 12 February 2021. Does this apply to everyone?
If you applied before 12 February 2021, the date in the letter is correct.
If you applied after 12 February 2021, the date of payout will be the start date of the pause button. So not 12 February 2021.
Private debts that you have not yet paid and that arose before the date of payout are covered by the pause button in your case.
Monthly payment obligations such as rent, mortgage, energy, loans or debts for which payment arrangements have been made are not covered by the pause button. So you must continue to pay these costs.
The law prevails over the communication. You can, if necessary, remind creditors of the law (Section 49i(1) of the General Income-Dependent Schemes Act (Awir), in Dutch).
I am in the process of statutory debt restructuring for natural persons (Wsnp) or amicable debt restructuring for natural persons (Msnp). Does the pause button apply in this case too?
Are you in the process of statutory debt restructuring for natural persons (Wsnp)? Or are you in the process of amicable debt restructuring for natural persons (Msnp)? If so, we will pay all your debts. We have provided this guarantee so that you can spend the minimum amount of €30,000 yourself. We also want your process to end as soon as possible, but this takes time.
I applied after 15 February 2021 and have not had my initial test yet. What does this mean for my debts?
If you have debts with public organisations, those debts will be paused once you have registered with us. Every 2 weeks, we share a list of parents who have registered with us with public implementing organisations, municipalities and water boards. We also let them know who their benefit partners are. You need not take any action for this yourself.
Do you have debts with private organisations? Based on the moratorium (pause button), these will be paused only when we are sure that you an actual victim, i.e. from the day the €30,000 is paid to you. Until then, you are not protected against collection actions by private creditors, or collection agencies or bailiffs.
Which debts do I have to pay now and which debts do I not have to pay? (including examples)
The pause button, which starts after you have received the €30,000, applies to debts you had before the pause button started. Please note: It only covers debts caused by you being in arrears with payments.
‘Normal’ monthly payments (e.g. for energy, water, a newspaper subscription) are not covered by the pause button. So you should continue to pay these costs as usual. You do not have to pay reminders for late payment. You can refer your creditor to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration for this.
Debts incurred after receiving the €30,000 are not covered by the pause button. So it is very important that you continue to pay all your ‘normal’ bills, such as rent, mortgage, taxes, health insurance and instalments as usual.
If you can no longer pay your current bills either, you should contact the creditor and look at your situation together. If you need help quickly because you are in danger of being evicted from your home for example, you can read more information about what you can do here.
Check out the examples below for additional explanations:
|Example 1 The monthly payment of your mortgage is not covered by the pause button. So you should continue to pay it as usual. Before the pause button took effect, were you unable to pay your mortgage? And have you fallen behind on payments as a result? If so, the pause button only applies to the debt incurred as a result. You should continue to pay the normal monthly amounts.|
|Example 2 Financial agreements or loans with no arrears are not covered by the pause button. Have you bought something in instalments? A car or TV for example? Or do you have a gym membership? You should continue to pay the monthly amounts.|
|Example 3 You cannot pay the rent in June. You are therefore in arrears. You receive a reminder for that. These arrears are not covered by the pause button. Because the arrears occurred after the pause button took effect. You have to pay these arrears.|
|Example 4 An arrangement with a collection agency is not covered by the pause button. You made agreements with the collection agency. You should continue to pay the agreed amounts. However, you can show the agency the code in the letter, saying that we are working to resolve your debts.|
|Example 5 You receive a reminder for a dental bill. Did you fall behind on your dental payments before the pause button took effect? In that case, the late payment bills are covered by the pause button.|