Sunday , October 1 2023

No automatic childcare benefit for new siblings

The automatic payment of childcare benefit (“kinderbijslag”) for children after the first-born of parents in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will not take place, Dutch State Secretary of Social Affairs and Labour Jetta Klijnsma decided earlier this week. Filing a separate request for each newborn will remain necessary.

The State Secretary gave several reasons in the letter that she sent to the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday about the assessment of the automatic allocation of childcare benefit by the Social Affairs and Labour Unit of the Dutch Government Service Caribbean Netherlands RCN for the second child and subsequent children. Klijnsma stated relatively often a child on the islands doesn’t live at the address of its biological parents and for example lives with his or her grandparent(s) or another family member without this being legally arranged, or properly registered at the Census.

The law states that childcare benefit is payable to the person(s) that structurally takes care of the child.

According to the State Secretary, it remains necessary to file a separate request for each newborn in order to establish to whom the childcare allowance should be allotted. This reduces the chances of miscommunication and prevents that later on the allowance has to be reclaimed.

RCN’s Social Affairs and Labour Unit has been automatically receiving the mutation data from the Census offices of the three islands since July 2016. However, these data are only available with a delay of two months. This means that if the childcare benefit would be delayed by at least two months, “A request filed immediately after the birth of the child can be honoured faster,” stated Klijnsma.

Another reason not to implement an automatic payment for the second child and subsequent children is that the benefits are limited considering the limited number of newborns on the islands. Half of the current number of families receiving childcare benefit have one child. Per year about 250 children are born on the islands.

“Based on the findings that essential information is lacking, the longer period of registration at the Census and the relatively small number of second and subsequent births per year, I conclude that the implementation of an automatic allotment of childcare benefit in the Caribbean Netherlands is not useful at this moment,” concluded Klijnsma.

The possibilities of the automatic allotment were assessed at the request of the Second Chamber which adopted a motion to this effect in November 2015. The motion was filed by Members of Parliament Steven van Weyenberg of the Democratic Party D66 and Tjitske Siderius of the Socialist Party (SP). The execution of the motion has come up several times in the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Social Affairs and Labour.

In July 2016, the State Secretary promised to research the possibility of an automatic allotment of the childcare benefit when parents register their newborn at the Census Office.

The Daily Herald.

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