UpdateOlder people with the tightest grants are left behind now that the new coalition does raise the minimum wage, but cuts the link with the state pension. According to senior citizens’ association ANBO, a group of almost 400,000 elderly people will not receive a cent extra.
Many elderly people had hoped to gain something in the coming years. That does not seem to be happening for a large group of old-age pensioners. This is because the new cabinet intends not to automatically increase the amount of the AOW with the increase in the minimum wage, which normally happens with all benefits.
The coalition parties announced on Wednesday that they want to raise the minimum wage by 7.5 percent during the coming cabinet term. But the elderly therefore do not benefit from this: the coalition parties allow social assistance and other benefits to increase, but not the AOW.
Trade unions and organizations for the elderly are angry that the historical link, which has existed since 1980, threatens to be broken with a single stroke of the pen. Threatening, because the plans still have to be converted into legislation and then piloted through parliament. FNV chairman Tuur Elzinga calls the decoupling ‘scandalous’.
The coalition agreement does state that the elderly are compensated by means of a higher discount for the elderly. That is an amount that the elderly are allowed to deduct from the tax they have to pay. But here the shoe pinches both ways.
A: This elderly person’s discount is only available to elderly people with a combined income of up to approximately 50,000 euros. Above that amount there is no discount. B: (and that’s what Elzinga is so angry about) to be able to get the elderly discount, you have to pay tax.
And that is precisely not the case for people with only AOW and little or no supplementary pension. Elzinga: ,,So they don’t benefit from a higher discount, because they can’t cash it in at all.” After all, you do not receive any money from the tax authorities.
The problem has been around for a long time
The FNV finds the coalition plan ‘harsh’. However, the coalition parties point out that there are still very few elderly people who have to get by on the AOW alone. In 2012, it was about 5000 people. Even with a little supplementary pension, the increase in the elderly person’s discount will be noticeable, it sounds like.
But according to senior citizens’ association ANBO, AOW pensioners will only benefit from the elderly person’s discount with an income of approximately 16,500 euros per year. “That means that all elderly people with only AOW or with a supplementary pension up to about 500 euros do not benefit from this and therefore also not from an increase in the elderly person’s discount,” the union says.
Together with the other senior citizens’ organizations KBO-PCOB, the Koepel Gepensionelingen and NOOM, the union is protesting the intention from the coalition agreement.
ANBO points to figures from Statistics Netherlands, which show that a group of almost 400,000 pensioners has less than 500 euros gross per month in supplementary pension. “It is therefore a much larger group than the coalition parties make it seem,” according to ANBO.
The intended increase in the elderly person’s tax credit has not yet been worked out. But the problem that by no means all elderly people can receive the full elderly person’s discount to which they are entitled has existed for some time. In 2019, according to the cabinet, 14 percent could not be cashed in. By increasing the elderly person’s tax credit, that percentage will probably increase.
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