Many people are confronted with financial problems. In The Netherlands 1 out of 5 households struggle to pay the bills each month. In Tilburg that means over 20.000 households.
People with (upcoming) debts often do not ask for help. Debts can therefore increase substantially. To prevent that from happening the municipality actively offers help to households with arrears, without their request.
As from January 1, 2021 the law states that municipalities may, on their own initiative, offer help upon signals of arrears. We receive those signals from housing corporations, electricity companies, health insurance companies and water companies. This new law is called 'Wet gemeentelijke schuldhulpverlening (Wgs)' and the approach is called early detection. In the municipality of Tilburg we use the procedure 'Vroeg Erbij' (early detection), for early detection can prevent substantial financial problems.
Why this approach?
Many people with financial problems do not request debt counseling (Schuldhulpverlening) for help, or do so too late. On a yearly basis approximately 4.000 households in Tilburg request Schuldhulpverlening for help.
National data prove that 1 out of 5 households have or can possibly get into debts that are risky and problematic. This means that in Tilburg over 20.000 households possibly have financial problems. A large number of those households is not known to us, but can possibly use our help. Through early detection substantial financial problems can be prevented.
How does it work?
We receive a signal when you have arrears in the payment of your fixed costs, for example rent, health insurance premium, energy or water bills. Important: we only receive a signal after the housing corporation, electricity company, health insurance company or water company has first gone through the process of social collection. This means that they have tried to get in contact with you and offer you a debt repayment scheme.
After we have received a signal, we can sent you a letter, text message or email. If we don’t receive a response we can call you or visit you at home, as soon as the guidelines of the RIVM (Dutch national institute for public health and environment) allow us to do so.
We will discuss the cause of the arrear with you and will think along with you about a solution. Our assistance is voluntary and can vary from a single advice to an elaborate debt counseling and/or care process. We will make sure that you get the appropriate aid as soon as possible. By getting in contact with you early on, substantial financial problems can be prevented.
Am I obligated to participate?
No. Participation is not obligated. Our goal is to help you. If you don’t want to use our assistance you can let us know at the moment we offer you our assistance.
Can I register myself?
Are you not able to pay all your bills in time? There are various methods to change that. For example you can contact the company that sent you the bill. You can possibly agree on a debt repayment scheme. You can also ask for advise from debt counseling : Team Schuldhulpverlening (Spoorlaan 449, Tilburg), to be reached by firstname.lastname@example.org or 013 - 583 32 50.
Does the approach comply with de privacy laws?
Yes. Early detection is a legitimate task of municipalities under the law 'Wet gemeentelijke schuldhulpverlening (Wgs)'. National agreements have been made with representative organisations and sector associations. The municipality of Tilburg has come to an agreement with each individual organisation that provides signals of arrears. Suitable agreements have been made about the exchange of data. This is done in a safe way. Only necessary data are shared and certain personal data are only visible for the staff member of Vroeg Erbij.
You can object to the exchange of data at the organisation that reported the arrear to us. Furthermore you decide for yourself whether you want to accept the help offered and whether you consent to sharing data with other organisations.