Participation Act

The Participation Act (Participatiewet) is aimed at finding work and the safety-net of Social Security. If you are unable to support yourself through work or an allowance, you receive assistance in finding work. As long as you are unsuccessful in finding work, you can apply for the benefit provided. The allowance is paid by the municipality, where you can also submit your application.


To be eligible you must satisfy the following conditions:

  • You're older than 18 and live legally in the Netherlands
  • You do not have enough income or equity to cover your living expenses
  • You can not appeal to any other benefit
  • You are participating in activities your municipality offers you to find work

Modest Scale scheme for self-employed

Some local authorities, including the Work and Income Service (DWI) of the Amsterdam local authority, apply a Modest Scale scheme. You are eligible for this if you are your own boss on a part-time basis and this activity does not generate enough income. In that case your income is topped up with an allowance until you are able to be independent.

Starting up while in receipt of unemployment benefit

Are you starting up as a self-employed on or after the day on which your unemployment benefit takes effect? In that case, with the approval of your work coach you can take advantage of the start-up scheme. You will then receive unemployment benefit minus 29% for a fixed period of 26 weeks. During this start-up period you can do everything necessary for your own enterprise: take on and carry out assignments, fit out a business premises, or open a shop.

Allowance for self-employed

If you are self-employed and run into temporary financial problems, you may be eligible for assistance via the Decree on assistance to self-employed (Bbz, Besluit bijstandverlening zelfstandigen).