Persons living and working in the Netherlands are obliged to have health insurance in this country and to pay the appropriate contributions. If income obtained is low, it’s possible to apply for a special allowance to reduce the costs of paying for such insurance. This is the Zorgtoeslag health care allowance which constitutes the subject of our article.

1. What is Zorgtoeslag?

The requirement to purchase basic health insurance – the so-called Zorgverzekering – applies to anyone who legally stays and works in the Netherlands. Failure to fulfil this duty may result in a fine. Usually, it is the employer who takes care of the obligation in question and deducts the appropriate amounts from the employees’ wages under the group policy. This is especially the case for persons engaged through a temporary employment agency. If this isn’t done, the worker has to pay for Dutch health insurance himself/herself and thus to pay monthly contributions.

As the costs incurred for the insurance package are quite high, the Dutch government provides financial support for persons on lower incomes. The Zorgtoeslag supplement constitutes such a form of assistance that is available to insured persons even if they don’t use the health care services despite paying contributions. It partially compensates for health insurance expenses. This co-financing is granted by Toeslagen, a cell of the Dutch tax office Belastingdienst which is responsible for receiving and processing applications for social allowances, as well as for paying such supplements.

2. Who is entitled to the Dutch health care allowance?

The Zorgtoeslag allowance is payable to persons who:

  • are at least 18 years old,
  • have earned income (both in the Netherlands and outside this country) that can’t exceed a certain treshold on an annual basis (In 2024, this treshold is EUR 37,496 for single persons, and in the case of partners – EUR 47,368 in total for both partners),
  • have compulsory health insurance in the Netherlands, paid by the employer or independently,
  • work under a contract or/and live in the Netherlands,
  • have assets below a fixed value.

Although the lack of registration doesn’t eliminate the chances of obtaining Zorgtoeslag, this fact limits the possibilites of applying for health insurance subsidies, as will be mentioned later in this article.

3. Amount of Zorgtoeslag

Each year, the Dutch administration determines the maximum amounts that can be obtained within the framework of the receipt of Zorgtoeslag. The amount of the health care allowance depends, among others, on the insured person’s income earned both in the Netherlands and in other countries. As a general rule, the lower the income of a person applying for Zorgtoeslag, the higher the allowance he/she is entitled to, which will reduce his/her monthly health insurance contribution. Similarly, more income means less co-financing.

The living situation of the insured person constitutes another important factor taken into account when determining the amount of Zorgtoeslag. Indeed, there are different tresholds for taxpayers who settle their income individually and for those who prepare the settlement together with their spouse or partner.

4. When should Zorgtoeslag be applied for jointly?

People who are married or in a partnership, i.e.:

  • married couples,
  • registered partnerships,
  • persons who aren’t married but raise a child together and live in the same household,
  • co-owners of the appartment who are registered there for the whole year and aren’t married at the same time,

can’t apply for Zorgtoeslag separately.

If someone is entitled to receive the allowance, wants to request it and has a partner, he/she can’t apply for the benefit on his/her own. He/She must claim it together with his/her partner.

Moreover, in the case of a joint application for the health care allowance, both persons must have a social and tax identification number BSN (Burgerservicenummer). This is the Dutch equivalent of the Polish PESEL number and the successor of the former Sofi number (Sociaal Fiscaal nummer).

5. Way of submitting an application for co-financing for health insurance

The following ways of applying for Zorgtoeslag are distinguished:

  • electronically via the applicant’s own profile on the website of the Dutch tax office, provided that the applicant is registered in the Netherlands and has a DigiD (Digitale Identiteit), i.e. the so-called digital identity thanks to which it’s possible to handle many official matters in this country online;
  • in writing – this option can be used by a person without registration and without DigiD. It’s sufficient that he/she legally provides temporary work in the Netherlands. The paper application shall be sent by traditional mail to the Dutch tax office;
  • electronically, but by means of a special commercial program from an external company, which can also be used by a person without registration.

A correctly completed application must be submitted within a fixed deadline. This shall be done by 1 September of the year following that one to be covered by the allowance.

6. What is needed when applying for the reimbursement of health insurance

When applying for the Zorgtoeslag allowance, it’s necessary to include:

  • the bank account number to which funds granted under co-financing for health insurance are to be transferred,
  • the BSN number (Sofi),
  • a copy of the insurance policy or other form confirming that the applicant is paying health insurance in the Netherlands,
  • copies of the Jaaropgaaf tax card or salaris, i.e. wage slips from the employer for a given year,
  • a copy of the applicant’s identity document.

Moreover, sometimes it happens that the applicant will be asked by the tax office in the Netherlands to show other documents.

7. Waiting time to receive the Zorgtoeslag allowance

Persons who have submitted the application for Zorgtoeslag to the Belastingdienst Toeslagen usually wait around 8 weeks for a decision on the allowance and its amount, and thus for the receipt of the health care allowance. However, the application processing time may be extended in the event that the Dutch tax office makes a more detailed analysis and proceeds with careful verification of all the applicant’s data to ensure that the appropriate criteria are fulfilled.

8. Method of payment of Zorgtoeslag

The payment of the funds that the Dutch tax office transfers to the insured person’s bank account under the Zorgtoeslag co-financing may occur in one of two ways. The first one concerns monthly advances paid during the year. The second involves a single transfer of the entire amount due after the end of a given year. The choice of payment option depends on the decision of the person who is to receive the health care allowance.

9. Automatic renewal of the allowance payment and its consequences

Submitting the application for Zorgtoeslag constitutes a one-time activity. Therefore, in subsequent years, this allowance is automatically granted by the Dutch office. This may result in situations where persons who have lost their entitlement to the benefit will continue to receive co-financing for health insurance and then will be asked to return the funds transferred to their account and interest. In order to avoid it, it’s extremely important to inform the office of changes concerning life circumstances.

10. Legal notice

The study is a work within the meaning of the Act of 4 February 1994 on Copyright and Related Rights (OJ 2006, No. 90, item 631, consolidated text, as amended). Publishing or reproducing this study or its part, quoting opinions, as well as disseminating in any other way the information contained therein without the written consent of Crede sp. z o.o. is prohibited.

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