Social Loan and Micro-Credit
Do you live in Belgium and you have questions about social assistance in this country? So you are in the right place. I will explain what are the equivalents of QWE, ASD and ZXC in Belgium, what are the relief for students, what are the financial aid for the unemployed, and how to borrow if you are stuck at the National Bank of Belgium . At the end of the article, I will also discuss the mechanisms that exist in Luxembourg, Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IN BELGIUM
1. The QWE in Belgium
In Belgium, we do not speak of QWE (income of active solidarity) but of income of social integration. If this name does not tell you anything, perhaps you have heard of its former name: the right to livelihoods.
Are you entitled to it?
To benefit, you must be over 18 years old and not have enough money to live with dignity. You must also enter one of these categories:
- You live in Belgium.
- You are Belgian.
- You are part of the European Union.
- You are a refugee.
- You are a foreigner but you have registered in the population register.
How much will you touch?
In each situation will correspond the payment of a different sum. What’s good for your neighbor may not be worth it for you. The amounts :
- For a single person: € 711.56.
- For a person with children: 948,75 €.
- For a person who lives with someone who contributes to the expenses: 474,37 €.
2. The MNBs in Belgium
If you are a tenant in Belgium, you can receive financial assistance to pay your rent if you do not have sufficient income to cope with it.
Several devices exist, especially if you live in an unhealthy dwelling or if you are disabled. Some regions are also making more efforts than others to make housing accessible to all. I will list the aid region by region:
In the Brussels region
If you live in the capital or its surroundings, perhaps you could benefit from one of these 3 helpers:
- A help to relocate you.
- The rental guarantee: up to 90% .
- The rent allowance: between 100 and 150 € per month.
The guaranteed rental loan in Belgium
This is a loan from the Belgian Housing Fund to help you pay your deposit. I remind you that this rental deposit must be deposited in a blocked account opened jointly by the tenant and the owner.
The housing loan will be paid into this account. To benefit from it, you must have the ability to repay and not be registered as a debtor at the National Bank of Belgium’s Personal Loans Center. Be careful not to exceed the following income:
In the Flemish region
In this region, housing assistance exists. It is aimed above all at homeless people and all those who live in substandard housing or not adapted to their disability.
The resource conditions are particularly strict in this region. Thus, a couple without children should not earn + € 16880 per year to benefit. To this sum is added 1510 € per dependent child.
Paid rent is also important. It must be above 570 € monthly for a couple (add to this amount between 57 and 71 € depending on the municipality per dependent).
If you live in Wallonia, you can benefit from the LKJ (Moving and Rent Allowance). If you are eligible (contact the Housing Department of the region to find out), you will benefit from:
- A help to move: 400 € in one go.
- Help to pay your rent: around 100 € per month.
To find out more about housing benefits in Belgium you can read the full article I wrote on this topic.
3. ZXC in Belgium
You have the right to family allowances if you have children. The amount may vary by region. The amounts I am going to give you below for basic family allowances will be increased if you are a single woman with children in Belgium.
In Wallonia and Brussels
- 1 child: 95,80 € .
- 2 children: 177,27 € .
- 3 children: 264.67 € .
In the region Flanders
- 1 child: € 93.93 .
- 2 children: 173,80 € .
- 3 children: € 259.49 .
The single parent supplement:
- 1 child: € 47.81 .
- For the second: € 29.64 .
- For the third and the following ones: 23,90 € .
In all these areas is added a monthly supplement which increases these benefits there, from the 6 years of your child:
- From 6 to 11 years old: € 16.36 .
- From 12 to 17 years old: 24.92 € .
- From 18 to 24 years old: 28,72 € .
Do not forget the back to school bonus
- From 0 to 5 years old: 20,81 €.
- From 6 to 11 years old: 44.74 €.
- From 12 to 17 years old: 62.42 €.
- From 18 to 24 years old: 83,23 €.
4. Financial aid for students
If you study in Belgium, here are the helpers to which you are entitled:
The scholarship of the Wallonia Brussels Federation
You must have Belgian citizenship or reside in Belgium (and be a citizen of the European Union, political refugee, be a foreigner and live there for 5 years) and continue your studies in high school or in higher education.
You must also be – 35 years old. Your parents, or you even if you declare your own income should not earn more than:
Other scholarships exist, such as the General Directorate for Development Cooperation for students coming from African countries, or Erasmus for students coming from Europe.
Help to take public transport
- If you are between 12 and 24 years old and you are studying: discount on STIB, TEC and De Lijn subscriptions.
- If you are – 26 years old: you benefit from a cheaper fare on the train ticket.
Less expensive housing
You can find accommodation in a student residence for – 350 € per month or in a boarding school for about 300 € per month.
The good plan: intergenerational housing. The principle: you live in an elderly person and spend some time with her. In exchange, you get a reduced rent for about 180 € per month.
5. Social aid in Belgium for French
They exist! Whether it is consular social assistance, or family benefits for cross-border workers.
Consular social assistance
If you are French and live or visit Belgium, be aware that the Consulate has a budget to occasionally help the French who request it with grants of 1000 €. However, the budget allocated for this is not very important.
This money can be used to repatriate you, to help you if you get out of prison, but also to face a social emergency such as the importance of treatment if you do not have health insurance in Belgium.
Associations that can help you
Some associations which are on the Belgian territory help the French in difficulty:
- The French charity association of Liège.
- French mutual aid in Brussels.
- The French mutual aid of Ghent.
- The French company of mutual aid of Courtraisis.
- The French charity society of Namur.
Family allowances for cross-border workers
Because of your place of residence and your place of work, you know that your situation is special. The good news is that you will be able to receive family benefits on both sides of the border, but not all.
You are more likely to receive Belgian family benefits if:
- You work in Belgium.
- You and your spouse work in Belgium.
- Your spouse does not work and does not receive unemployment benefits from Pole Emploi.
You are more likely to receive French family benefits if:
- Your spouse works in France.
- Your spouse does not work and receives a French social benefit.
What to do in Belgium when a bank does not want to lend money, because of the low resources of the home? Failure to make a loan is problematic, whether it’s changing your car, doing energy saving work in your home or decorating your apartment. In this case, what to do?
6. The solutions to borrow
The following list allows you to borrow cheASDy in Belgium, but under certain conditions. Be careful with loans: you have to repay them, even when you are poor!
All low income loans in Belgium:
1. Social credit
Low-income people can also borrow to consume. With small incomes, they can not do with their usual bank. Social credit is for low income. He has a small interest rate. This is a mortgage loan for the poor.
Social credit accompanied
It allows Belgians to consume, provided they live in the Walloon region. To do this, you must contact VBN (CREDIT ALternative), for a maximum of € 10,000 borrowed. It is aimed primarily at the unemployed receiving benefits, those who receive the minimex (minimum livelihood) and employees with a small monthly salary.
You will not have to justify yourself on the use of the sum. You can either buy furniture or borrow this money to go on vacation. The microcredit VBN Belgium is not limited in its use, and anything that can improve life is taken into account such as energy work for example.
VBN and micro credit
Microcredit, unlike traditional bank loans, is for those who receive social benefits or who earn the minimum wage by working, even for a full-time job.
In general, it will be able to be requested by those who are regularly denied the loan by the bank.
This is a pilot program for the unemployed in some parts of Brussels. It will enable job seekers in Brussels to start their own business and get back to work.
Microfinance is a real chance to become a business creator for those who do not have access to credit usually, by creating a micro enterprise capable of generating income.
The microstart program allows young entrepreneurs to get started, which they could not have done if they had not had access to VBN micro credit.
Partnerships of choice
The Belgian association is also inspired by the success of the ADIE (association for the development of economic initiative) in France, and enjoys its support for creators who require logistical support to get started. Entrepreneurship in neighborhoods is therefore fortunate to benefit from the dual expertise: that of ADIE and VBN.
A bank, BNP Paribas Fortis, is committed alongside VBN for Belgians who want to realize their dream of business. The poorest at last have access to a chance to become an entrepreneur, even if the project is of a small scale at first.
It should be noted that the microcredit loans lent as part of this operation are endorsed in ¾ by the European Union, which supports the Belgian initiative in favor of the economy for the poorest.
3. FRCE (Global Energy Cost Reduction Fund)
This consumer credit is for those who want to save energy, by doing the necessary work for it. The FRCE borrowing rate is 2%, which is low compared to a conventional bank loan. It is thus possible to borrow up to € 10,000, which must be repaid in 5 years at most.
Only households that do not earn a lot of money will be able to benefit from it (- 15000 € per year, increased by the number of dependent children).
4. The eco loans
When you want to improve the energy consumption of your home, it is possible to make an eco loan rather than a consumer credit or a mortgage loan.
The main advantage lies in the interest rate: 0%! This credit is between € 2,500 and € 30,000, and the repayment period will depend on the duration of the credit chosen (between 4 and 10 years).
To obtain it, it is necessary to apply to the Walloon society of Social Credit, or to the housing fund of the large families. Housing conditions must be met:
- He must be healthy.
- To be located in Wallonia.
- Be the principal residence of the person who makes the credit.
- Do not have too much market value.
For renovation work: the eco-pack of the Walloon region
It is a credit rate 0 for the inhabitants of Wallonia who want to renovate their homes, especially from an energy point of view.
Small innovation: the duration depends on income. It finances all work aimed at saving energy. A professional must perform them within 2 years of obtaining, and the work must not begin before obtaining the loan.
5. Mortgage credit for housing for all
It will allow you to become a homeowner even if you do not make a lot of money each month. The rate is fixed, and it is guaranteed for 30 years, which avoids unpleasant surprises caused by a rate that can fluctuate.
Some municipalities allow to borrow up to € 210,000 to become homeowners in Belgium, provided it is the first time.
The income of the beneficiaries can not exceed € 46,600, plus € 2,300 per dependent.
6. The credits granted by the other Belgian provinces
Belgium is not limited to the Wallonia, the other provinces are also discarded for the most modest.
- In the province of Liege: several possible social loans for housing, young people and students.
- In the province of Namur: a loan to become an owner by buying a house or building a house, and loans for energy work.
- In the province of Hainaut: help to find accommodation and to save energy.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IN LUXEMBOURG
The social in Luxembourg is more developed than one might think. That everyone can live with dignity is a concern of the Grand Duchy.
1. Help for people who are in great precariousness
To ask for financial aid is to be in great precariousness and to wait for the Luxembourg state to intervene to overcome it.
But this financial aid can not replace a job, and this is normal. Its main attraction, apart from the financial side, remains the social support associated with it.
How to ask in Luxembourg?
The request must be made to the social office (it can be done online or by mail) from the city where you live. To benefit, you must live in the Grand Duchy and reside legally.
Social assistance will be paid in cash. It excludes foreign students but also those who are only passing through the country. Similarly, prisoners can not be entitled to it.
The social office, after having served the receipt of the request, will then direct the applicant to the right service. There will be a form to fill out, including the complete civil status of the applicant and the subject of the application.
As with any file, it will be necessary to attach the supporting documents that can assist in the rapid and complete processing. It should be known that the social office is entitled to carry out its small investigation, to verify certain information and to follow up, or not, with the request.
A little more than 4 weeks to wait
The decision will be made within 25 working days (be careful, do not count Saturdays and Sundays). It will be motivated (if it is refused, we will know why the file is not passed).
The decision will arrive at the applicant’s home by registered letter. If there is urgency, that is to say if the applicant has a need for quick payment of money to be able to eat, to lodge and to dress, the file may be a priority. He will benefit from a quicker decision from the commission charged to study the file of application for social assistance.
Attention: in case of false declaration, the money will be claimed and must be returned. Having a paid job and declaring yourself without work and in great precariousness is not good!
2. The guaranteed minimum income in Luxembourg
To be helped by the state is a right in Luxembourg if you are in need. The POI (general minimum income) is paid to those who can not reach the minimum income with their income, no matter where they come from. The money obtained through the POI will help to reintegrate and prevent social exclusion of families who request it.
It is of two kinds: a financial contribution, managed by the national solidarity fund, and an insertion, headed by the national service of social action.
Who is entitled to the guaranteed minimum income?
There are certain rules to respect. The first is to be at least 25 years old (unless one has a dependent child for whom one already receives family allowances), and to reside legally in Luxembourg. In terms of income, they must be below what is planned to be entitled to the POI.
You must live in Luxembourg
Your home must be emotional (not that you live 3 months here and there). A person outside the European Union and the Swiss Confederation must have been Luxembourg resident for at least 5 years (possibly discontinuous) over the last 5 years.
Attention: for European or Swiss nationals, it is not possible to contact the POI during the first trimester of presence in Luxembourg, even if they came to look for work.
How much does one have to earn to reach the POI?
There are income conditions, as for any payment of this type in Europe. It is the income of the family that is taken into account for the calculation. But the money you make every month is not the only condition. Thus, one should not have left one’s own job, unless serious motivation for the resignation.
In the same way, dismissal for serious misconduct is not admissible.
How is the POI amount calculated?
The guaranteed minimum income is determined according to the resources of the applicant and his tax household. For income, we take into account the salary, but also social benefits and income from capital (investments, savings booklets …). Assets located abroad also fall into this category. What else can be paid by the state is not taken into account in the calculation.
Supporting documents for the processing of the file
This is the certificate of residence (basic requirement) and a communal certificate indicating how the family of the applicant is composed (a certificate on honor is not enough).
Applicants who work will also have to attach a document proving membership in a pension fund. For those who do not work, a certificate proving registration as a job seeker.
For an applicant who is not yet 25 years old (and has no dependent children), and still wants social assistance in Luxembourg, a medical certificate from the doctor will be required indicating that the patient is not able to make a living.
What to do in case of rejection of the application?
There is a right of appeal in case of refusal. A reasoned letter must be sent to the Arbitration Council for Social Security. The decision may therefore be revised, but there must be some matter for that.
3. The supplementary allowance
This is another social assistance that is paid by the Grand Duchy. It is intended for those who can not, for several rasions, benefit from professional integration. This is a differential allowance, which will be paid according to the composition of the family.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IN SWITZERLAND
They are slightly less numerous than in Luxembourg and especially in Belgium, but they exist, and this is good news!
1. The association the chain of happiness
There are also Swiss people who experience precariousness and large-scale financial difficulties. The poor are everywhere, even in Switzerland! Associations such as the chain of happiness fight against precariousness, complementing the action of the government and that of the various cantons of the country.
How to benefit?
To qualify, applications must go through a public social service. Funds are mainly for children, for women and mothers in distress, and for individual social action.
All requests are different, they will be analyzed according to the financial situation of each, and accepted if they meet the criteria, to give a boost to those who need it in Switzerland.
The association is for the poor. It supports people in need, who are in distress or who are about to become one: the fall is sometimes very fast when one is in great financial difficulty, even in Switzerland!
2. Allowances in Switzerland
They are aimed at the poorest. Those who have an income below the subsistence level, those who are not covered by health insurance, and those who have a disabled minor in their homes.
The conditions are primarily income conditions, especially to receive significant support.
QWE ELSEWHERE IN EUROPE
Crisis forces, the countries harden their position with regard to QWE, and this in order not to dig deeper the debt. The trend is at work in exchange for maintaining social benefits equivalent to the QWE.
The principle to keep his allowances
it is necessary to work a certain number of hours per week for the community, as is currently the case in Portuga l.
England goes even further, soon putting in place the elimination of unemployment benefits in case of 2 refusals of post following a job offer.
In Spain , to reach unemployment, one must commit to actively looking for a job, the period of compensation being longer than in France. There is currently no equivalent to the QWE in our Spanish neighbors.
As for Germany , it took unemployment by the horns, reducing the duration of compensation of job seekers to 12 months. Then, it is an unemployment that takes over, with a little less than 400 € per month for the long-term unemployed.
They are also obliged to accept small jobs if they are offered (called job 1 €, no social charges).
In the end, social assistance in Europe is shrinking, and all countries are following almost the same trend, which is not the case for the long-term unemployed, who are less and less compensated.