Care for the poor
What did the care for the poor consist of 50 years ago? And even before then?
People who legally reside in the Netherlands are entitled to benefits should the need arise. These benefits are provided by the government according to national directives, even when the actual arranging for the benefits is organised by the local authorities. This is now going to change in 2015: the government will transfer these tasks to the local authorities. This will bring us back to the situation of before the National Assistance Act (ABW) of 1964. This Act provides for a nationwide practical organisation and levelling of the care for the needy. The ABW completed the development towards greater uniformity and state influence that was started in 1901. Before 1964, the care for the poor was a task taken up by the church and the local authorities. Care varied per town and per church. A large, and almost insolvable, problem was the fact that more money was available in places where there was less need and vice versa. This led to the unequal treatment of equal cases, depending on the relevant church or town. This was a century-long problem that was only solved by the ABW. Let’s hope it does not return.