About 6,000 to lose unemployment benefits


Several thousand people in Flanders and Brussels will receive a letter this week explaining that they are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits

Activation benefit scrapped

Some 6,000 people in Brussels and Flanders are due to be cut off from unemployment benefits later this month as a change in the inschakelingsuitkering, or activation benefits, comes into effect.

The activation allowance, previously known as wachtuitkering, or waiting benefits, covered those who did not qualify for regular unemployment benefits because they had not worked long enough in the country. This included students graduating from secondary school or higher education who had not yet found a job.

The previous federal government, under Elio Di Rupo, put a time limit on the allowance of three years, to encourage people to actively look for work. Now the allowance will be scrapped entirely.

Jef Maes of the socialist union ABVV argued that the new rules are unfair because there is no work to be found in some parts of the country, particularly for people with few qualifications. “I’m talking about the big cities in Flanders, like Ghent and Antwerp, along with Liège and Hainaut in Wallonia,” he told VRT radio.

Most of the people affected by the new ruling live in Wallonia, where some 14,000 are due to lose the benefits, compared to about 3,000 in Flanders and 3,000 in Brussels.

Photo: ingimage