Refugees from Ukraine are entitled to financial support every month. This is referred to as the living allowance. This amount is for clothing and other personal expenditure. To receive the living allowance refugees must be registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP) of the municipality of Zaanstad and have a Citizen Service Number (BSN).
On 1 February 2023 the amount of the living allowance for food, clothing and the extra allowance for refugees staying with a host family is going to change.
From this date onwards the amounts will depend on, among other things, the size of the family and the amount of income from paid work of all family members. The living allowance is changing to make it fairer compared to other groups in the Netherlands. Asylum seekers, residence permit holders and Dutch citizens who receive social security benefit need financial help from the government as well. The rules that apply to them are now also going to apply to Ukrainian refugees. The new amounts have been determined on the basis of the regulations that apply to them and the amount recommended by the National Institute for Family Finance Information [Nationaal Instituut voor Budgetvoorlichting] (Nibud) for gas, water and electricity for one extra person staying with a host family.
The most important changes as of 1 February 2023 are as follows:
- The amount for food (previously €205.00 per person) is to be made dependent on the size of your family. The more people in your family, the lower the amount per person will be.
- If you live in a municipal reception centre, you will not receive any money for food.
- The amount for clothing and personal expenditure (previously €55.00 per person) is to be increased to €56.12 per person per month.
- If you are staying in private accommodation, for example with a host family, you will receive an extra allowance for living costs (previously €215.00 per adult and €55.00 per child) of €93.00 per person per month.
- From 1 February onwards the rules relating to work and the living allowance are also going to change. From then on the whole family's living allowance will be stopped if someone aged 18 or older starts working. The same will also apply if someone aged 18 or older starts receiving a benefit from the Dutch government, for example unemployment benefit or an incapacity benefit.
The applicable amounts from 1 February 2023 onwards are:
Size of the family
Adult or underage child
Extra allowance for people staying in private accommodation
1 or 2 people
Adult or single underage refugee
1 or 2 people
4 or more people
4 or more people
Applying for the living allowance
Refugees who are registered in the BRP can apply for the living allowance at the weekly walk-in consultation session on Wednesday mornings from 9.00 to 12.00 in the Zaanstad town hall at Stadhuisplein 100, Zaandam. There is no need to make an appointment and you can simply report to reception. Please bring the following with you:
- Your identity document or your passport and, if applicable, those of your partner and child(ren). You should also bring your partner and child(ren) with you.
- If you have opened a Dutch bank account, please bring your bank card with you.
- Children aged 18 and older must apply for the living allowance themselves.
Refugees who are not yet registered in the BRP can arrange this by scheduling an appointment with the civil affairs department [Burgerzaken] of the municipality of Zaanstad, or they can telephone 14 075.
Payment of the living allowance
The living allowance is paid out to a Dutch bank account on the first of the month.
It is important to report changes
- Bank account
If you have opened a bank account, please e-mail a photo of your bank card to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating your Citizen Service Number (BSN). We will then be able to transfer your living allowance to you.
If you change your address, you must inform the municipality of Zaanstad. This can also be done by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
If you go travelling outside the municipality, you must report this by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then temporarily stop your living allowance until you inform the municipality of Zaanstad that you have returned.
- Report paid work to the municipality
If refugees from Ukraine start doing paid work, they are no longer entitled to the living allowance. This rule will apply to all family members from 1 February 2023 onwards. If you have a job, you are obliged to report this to the municipality of Zaanstad. You can do so by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
In some cases you may be eligible for additional reimbursement for special expenses
- Expenses for an official translation of residence documents and additional essential travel expenses.
- Expenses for the translation of documents of proof.
- Travel expenses for a visit to the Ukraine Embassy, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, or for personal medical reasons, if the expenses won’t be reimbursed by the Regulation of Medical Care Ukraine or health insurance.
These fees will only be reimbursed if it will not be reimbursed by any another ordinance.
To request for the reimbursement for special expenses, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is possible that you will be asked to send documents of proof of eligibility.
Weekly walk-in consultation session for questions about the living allowance
Every Wednesday morning from 9.00 to 12.00 a walk-in consultation session is held at the town hall so that you can get answers to any questions you may have about the living allowance. A Ukrainian interpreter is present. There is no need to make an appointment and you can simply report to the reception desk in the Zaanstad town hall (Stadhuisplein 100).
You can also find more information at www.refugeehelp.nl. You can find more information about the living allowance on the website of the Central Government.
Opening a bank account in the Netherlands
We recommend that you open a Dutch current account. To do so you need a Ukrainian biometric passport or identity document and in most cases a Citizen Service Number (BSN). In the brochure which accompanies this folder you will find more information about Dutch banks, the costs and the terms and conditions. You can also find more information at www.refugeehelp.nl.
You are covered by the liability insurance [WA-verzekering] of the municipality of Zaanstad. If you cause damage in the house of your volunteer/host family in Zaanstad, the damage will be covered to a maximum amount of € 5,000. Damage caused by normal usage, or wear and tear, or damage to the accommodation is not covered
Due to the complicated legal position of refugees from Ukraine, there is still a lot of confusion as regards cars and insurance. It may be that the rules for liability insurance will still have to be amended. We recommend that you wait to see how things develop and contact your insurance company in the event of any problems.
You can find more information at https://nlbureau.vereende.nl or www.refugeehelp.nl.
If you have taken your car with you from Ukraine to the Netherlands, you may have to pay road tax for the car. On the website of the Tax and Customs Administration [Belastingdienst] you will find all the information you need about the rules for tax and vehicles with a foreign numberplate.
You can find more information at www.belastingdienst.nl and at www.rdw.nl.
Ukrainian banknotes exchange scheme
Refugees with Ukrainian nationality are allowed to exchange a maximum of 10,000 hryvnia in cash on a one-off basis. You can do this at branches of the GWK money exchange and transfer service. You can find the addresses on the website: www.gwktravelex.nl.
NB: This scheme applies in the first instance for 3 months and is going to run until 15 September 2022. You will only be able to exchange banknotes of UAH 100 or more. Hryvnia coins will not be accepted.
Child benefit is a contribution to the costs of looking after your child. If you work in the Netherlands and have one or more children under the age of 18, you may be entitled to child benefit. If you would like to know whether you are entitled to child benefit, or if you have another question about child benefit, please contact www.svb.nl/kinderbijslag.
The childcare allowance is a contribution to the costs of childcare for parents who are working or studying. There is currently no specific scheme for Ukrainian parents to claim childcare allowance. However, one is being prepared. Until that time the government is (as from 20 July 2022) making advance payments to cover the childcare allowance, in anticipation of a change in the law. If you fulfil the conditions of the proposed change in the law, you will be able to apply for childcare allowance sometime in the future. If you would like to know whether you are entitled to childcare allowance and/or you would like to apply for it, please consult the website of the Tax and Customs Administration. www.belastingdienst.nl.