Thousands of families do not claim benefits to which they are entitled
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    Thousands of families do not claim benefits to which they are entitled

    Between 5,000 and 11,000 children in Belgium under the age of 18 do not receive child allowances, reported Famifed, the federal agency for social allowances, in a study published Friday. As of 1 May 2015, there were more than 96,000 children under the age of 18 living in Belgium who did not receive Belgian family allowances. However, this number includes children of cross-border workers who may receive family allowances from abroad or whose applications had not yet been processed.

    Excluding these and other cases, who do not meet the conditions for Belgian allowances, there remain between 5,000 and 11,000 children (0.25% – 0.49% of children under the age of 18 living in Belgium).

    These children are entitled to child allowances but do not receive them in practice, either because the parents are not informed of their rights or because they consider that the administrative procedures to apply for them are cumbersome, says Famifed.

    The non-use of rights diminishes the impact of policy measures and impoverishes the most vulnerable families, says Françoise De Boe, coordinator at the federal service against poverty and social exclusion.

    Several speakers at a discussion about Famifed’s figures called on decision-makers to simplify the granting of social rights allowances. They also called on the federal authorities to do everything possible to ensure that the regionalization of family allowances does not increase the phenomenon of non-use of rights.

    The study is available online at www.famifed.be under “Publications”.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times