The assistance to the duped parents in the childcare allowance affair is being improved. Demissionary Secretary of State Van Huffelen of Finance has sent a new set-up of the so-called Recovery Operation to the House of Representatives. Municipalities will participate to help severely duped parents faster and better. It is also the intention that parents have a personal conversation rather than being informed about their situation via letters.
For a long time, it has been raining complaints about the handling of the payment affair. The cabinet promised financial compensation at the end of last year to parents who were wrongly labeled as fraudsters by the tax authorities and had to repay large amounts of childcare allowance. It concerns an amount of 30,000 euros.
Tens of thousands of registrations
But Secretary of State Van Huffelen failed to quickly give the affected financial compensation. The specially established Implementation Organization Recovery Surcharges (UHT), among other things, faced large staff shortages, the procedures were too slow and so the untreated files accumulated. Parents were also mainly informed by letter and were difficult to get further clarification about their case by phone.
One of the major causes of the delay is also the large group of people who have registered with the UHT as a duped person. Meanwhile, the counter is at 50,000. 10,000 people are still waiting for a review. 23,000 parents have been determined that they are also really victims of the approach of the tax authorities.
Unduped persons referred
17,000 people are clear that they were not duped by the childcare allowance affair. They are people who have no children or have never had an allowance. “It‘s about people who report being in trouble and came to us to get attention to their situation,” says Van Huffelen.
In the new plan, these 17,000 people are referred more quickly to other agencies, to prevent the parents who have been duped from having to wait even longer.
Furthermore, according to the Secretary of State, severely duped people will be helped with priority. It’s not just about that financial compensation. There is also more attention for “personal contact” and “room for emotional recovery”. Van Huffelen: “They want to know what went wrong. The parents indicate that speed is important, but that care and recognition for their suffering are more important.”
The municipalities are now also going to help in the new approach. They can give priority to people with major problems. Municipalities will also have personal conversations together with the UHT.
The House of Representatives and the Dutch Municipalities Association still have to agree with the new proposal.
In addition to the plan of Secretary of State Van Huffelen, the Ministry of Finance also published the first investigation report on the Fraud Signaling Facility (FSV). This is a blacklist where signs of fraud were tracked and 240,000 people were registered.
The researchers examined in a sample how the Allowances Department treated more than 9000 people on that list and what the consequences were for them. They estimate that almost 90 percent of them have been financially disadvantaged as a result. In some, at the same time as a registration in the FSV, the surcharges were stopped.
Within the childcare allowance, payment arrangements and amicable debt schemes have been refused more often than with other surcharges, the researchers further conclude. So far, around 9700 people who have registered as a duped person in the payment affair are also on the FSV list.
The researchers are also looking at how the directors of Private Individuals and SMEs have handled that blacklist. Those reports are expected later.