Major differences in allowance for voluntary caregivers


While some municipalities in Flanders provide monetary allowances to those caring for relatives, others do not, which leads to unequal treatment, says one MP

‘Too ridiculous for words’

There are major differences among municipalities concerning the allowances provided to informal caregivers, according to statistics provided by Flemish MP Peter Persyn (N-VA). While some people caring for elderly or disabled loved ones receive €900 a year, others receive nothing.

Further, said Persyn, more and more municipalities are cutting allowance or adding extra conditions due to budget cuts. More than 600,000 Flemings voluntarily take care of a family member, acquaintance or neighbour. Municipalities in Flanders are free to decide on the provision of allowances to these “informal caregivers”.

On average, a caregiver receives €246 a year. The statistics show that the number of municipalities providing an allowance has decreased from 80% to 72%  over the last four years. “In some jurisdictions, there is a generous allowance, but one kilometre further down the road, informal caregivers receive nothing,” said Persyn. “That is too ridiculous for words.”

Persyn suggested a region-wide policy to regularise the funding. Nathalie De Bast of the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities pointed out that towns also provide other kinds of support. “Many municipalities offer psychosocial assistance to informal caregivers,” she said. “Many also have their own home care services or subsidise one.”

De Bast also noted that informal caregivers can apply for €130 per month from the Flemish Care Insurance scheme.

Photo: Avery Healthcare/Wikimedia Commons