Welfare system & social security

The aim of social security in the Netherlands is to provide an income for all those for whom it is not possible (or no longer possible) to support themselves independently by working. The underlying principle is that people who are affected by unemployment, invalidity or illness must be given the opportunity to exercise their political and civic rights on an equal footing.

Social security in the Netherlands can be divided into schemes:

  • Volksverzekeringen (national social security) which applies to all residents of the Netherlands where benefits are not related to salary levels.
  • Werknemersverzekering (employee social security) is restricted to employees; benefits are related to the level of pay earned, and are payable in the event of loss of income due to illness (after 2 years), permanent disability for work, and unemployment. 
National Social Security

Algemene Kinderbijslagwet – AKW (General Child Benefit Act)
Offers parents a contribution towards the costs of raising and caring for children aged up to 18 years. How much child benefit a person receives depends on the age of the child.

Algemene nabestaandenwet – ANW (National Survivor Benefits Act)
Offers financial support from the government for people whose partner has died, and for children who are orphaned.

Algemene Ouderdomswet – AOW (General Old Age Pensions Act)
Offers a basic state pension for people who have reached their AOW pension age.

Wet langdurige zorg – WLZ (Long-term Care Act)
For people who need care or support on a daily basis, for example because of mental or physical limitations.

Employee Social Security

Werkloosheidswet – WW (Unemployment Insurance Act)
For those who become fully or partly unemployed a WW benefit can partially compensate for the loss of earnings.

Wet werk en inkomen naar arbeidsvermogen – WIA (Work and Income [Capacity for Work] Act)
This benefit provides support for people who are or have become partially unable to work.

Ziektewet – ZW (Sickness Benefits Act)
Only applies to people who do not have or who no longer have an employer, such as temporary employment agency workers.