As many as 120,000 families in Wallonia had on Friday still not received their family benefits for the month of January, according to Famiwal, the agency which administers the system. Some 170,000 families in the region are eligible for family benefits, which were correctly paid out to less that one in three. Only those families whose benefits are paid to a Belfius bank account received their money on time. Other families receive their benefits on their own bank account, but it comes to them first through the state-owned bank Belfius.
The benefits for any given month should be paid on the 8th of the following month – which should have been on Friday, as it was for Belfius customers. The rest will have to wait for the normal course of interbank transfers, which take no account of weekends.
“Famiwal has insisted on several occasions, in its contacts with its banking partner, on the importance of respecting the date for all families, whatever bank account the money is paid to,” Famiwal said in a statement. “We of course are horrified by the situation, and have been in contact with a lawyer to see whether the families affected by the delay can be compensated.”
Meanwhile Alda Greoli (photo), the Walloon region’s minister for social action, ordered Belfius to ensure all families had received the payments due to them by this Monday at the latest.
“What has happened this weekend is totally unacceptable, and I cannot express how angry I am,” she said in a statement. “For some families, the eighth is effectively the end of the month. For those families, the sums involved are essential. It is up to the payment department and their banking partners to make timely payment their absolute first priority. Clearly that has not been achieved everywhere. That is inadmissible, and will not be without consequences.”