The Benefits Department of the Ministry of Finance will have more time to make a decision on compensation for the victims of the benefits affair. All parents must be given clarity before the deadline of 1 July 2024. This has been decided by the District Court of Central Netherlands in a ruling on the slow decision-making process regarding the compensation of benefit parents. This means that it no longer makes sense for aggrieved parents to demand a faster settlement through the courts.
By replacing the current decision period of a maximum of one year with a deadline within which all cases must be settled, the claim settlement will be fairer, says the judge.
The allowance affair revolves around at least 26,000 parents who were wrongly labeled as fraudsters by the tax authorities between 2005 and 2019, and sometimes had to pay sky-high fines. The previous government promised to compensate the victims financially for the damage they suffered.
A separate part of the Benefits Service deals with the settlement of damage claims, the so-called Implementation Organization for Recovery of Allowances (UHT). The duped parents are dissatisfied because they have to wait a long time for a decision from the UHT in their case.
Last summer it turned out that for 32,000 applications it had not been possible to make a decision within the statutory period of a maximum of one year. The Benefits Service acknowledges the problem, but says it cannot change it in the foreseeable future.
On top of the pile
Many parents therefore go to court to speed up the decision. He then instructs the recovery organization UHT to make a decision within twelve weeks. These cases end up on top of the pile at the UHT, so that parents who do not litigate have to wait even longer. In addition, the implementing organization loses a lot of manpower to the lawsuits, another reason why other cases are delayed.
The judge today swept the House of Representatives off the mantle, because at the end of last year it agreed to a decision period that was already clear at the time that it was unfeasible. The parents were given a promise that could not be kept, the court ruled.
The UHT will be given more time to ensure that the recovery operation is handled fairly and that the cases are dealt with in the order they are received. “The judge actually said: we want the collective to be the most important, not an individual case. That is why we now decide that a decision must be made in all cases by 1 July 2024,” press judge Hans Zuurmond summarizes the ruling. “That means that capacity no longer needs to be devoted to solving problems in the courtroom, but that the executive organization can handle cases in the order they are received. And that seems to be in everyone’s interest.”
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