Participation Act

The Dutch Participation Act is aimed at finding work for everyone. If you cannot provide the necessary costs of living through work or a benefit, you will receive support with finding work. As long as you are unable to do so, you can invoke the Participation Act. The Participation Act is implemented by the municipality.

Help from the municipality

Anyone who can work, but cannot survive in the labour market without support, falls under the Participation Act. The Act must ensure that more people find work, also people with an occupational impairment. Working with an occupational impairment, social assistance benefit and Wajong benefit, among other things, fall under the Participation Act.

The municipality is responsible for ensuring that everyone who is able to work can start working, and that they receive support where necessary. Municipalities receive a budget from the central government for this.

General assistance

You are entitled to general assistance benefit (algemene bijstandsuitkering) if you meet the conditions:

  • you legally reside in the Netherlands;
  • you are 18 or older;
  • you don’t have enough income or assets to support yourself;
  • you cannot claim another provision or benefit.

A number of obligations also apply once you start receiving a social assistance benefit.

You apply for a social assistance benefit via the Benefits Office of your municipality. Please note: personal assets and the income and assets of your partner may preclude a social assistance benefit. Contact your municipality to see what they can do for you.

Starting a company with a social assistance benefit

You can start as an entrepreneur while receiving benefits under certain conditions. Depending on the rules and regulations in your municipality, you can focus on starting a company while retaining a social assistance benefit. Some municipalities offer a special programme for this. You follow this programme in the so-called ‘preparation period’.

The municipality ultimately assesses your business plan. Does it concern a viable business and do you meet the other conditions, then you can receive support under the Bbz. The municipality will decide on the amount and duration of the benefit for living costs and/or a business credit.

Benefit for self-employed persons

If you temporarily encounter financial problems as a self-employed person, you may be able to invoke the Decree on Social Assistance to the Self-Employed (Bbz).