Partner to nursing home? Single AOW (state pension), yes or no?
Are you married or cohabiting in The Netherlands and is your partner going to a nursing home? Then you will receive a letter from the Social Insurance Bank (SVB) in which you can make the choice to convert a partnership state pension (in Dutch: AOW) to a single AOW. This seems attractive: a single person receives considerably more AOW than someone who lives together. But in practice, converting the AOW often has a negative effect. In this article we explain what you should take into account.
Married or single AOW: difference in income
The joint AOW amount that spouses receive is equal to the minimum annual wage. If you are married or living together, this amount per month at the time of writing (June 2022) is net € 851.25 per person per month with payroll tax credit (in Dutch: loonheffing). Without a payroll tax credit, you and your partner are entitled to € 679.02 net. If you and your partner live separately and opt for single AOW, you are both entitled to € 1,244.35 (with payroll tax) or € 992.52 (without payroll tax) each month. It therefore saves hundreds of euros per month to convert the AOW.
But the question is whether you actually have more money left to spend.
Partner or single AOW: difference in expenditure
Not everyone who chooses to switch to single people's AOW realizes that this has far-reaching consequences for the amount of the contribution that the nursing home charges. Do you have a married AOW pension? Then the nursing home always charges a low rate for the personal contribution. This rate will be a maximum of 913.20 euros per month in 2022. The personal contribution for residents of a nursing home with a single AOW pension can add up to no less than € 2,506 per month in 2022. Obviously, there is a big difference when you choose to convert a partner AOW to single AOW.
Where you can gain ‘extra’ income of up to 800 euros per month (from approx. 1700 to 2500 euros), this choice can cost you almost 1600 euros per month extra in expenses. In this scenario, you will lose no less than 800 euros per month.
In this calculation example, only the difference in costs for the personal contribution of the nursing home was examined. In addition, a higher (AOW) income may also have consequences for other income, such as allowances and taxes.
Although thousands of (married) couples with an AOW benefit were faced with unpleasant financial surprises after they opted for a single AOW, it is not said that the singles AOW is necessarily a bad choice. If your partner goes to the nursing home, it depends on various individual factors (think of pension accrual and savings) which AOW construction is financially most attractive to you. There is no single answer to the question of what is most advantageous. However, in all cases it is advisable to thoroughly investigate the consequences of converting the AOW into single people's AOW.
Changing single AOW
When your (partner) went to the nursing home, you might have converted your AOW to singles AOW and now want to reverse this. Since May 2021, this can be done once via the SVB website. You then have to log in with DigiD. Do note, this login is only in Dutch, more information about Digid in English can be found here. If you report the change to the SVB before the first day of the month, you can receive an AOW for married people again the following month. After the change has been passed on to the SVB, it is important that you let the CAK know as soon as possible in order to reduce the personal contribution for care expenses. You then send a message via this contact form. Indicate from when the AOW has been changed at the SVB. The CAK - the organization that determines and collects mandatory statutory personal contributions - then checks the change with the SVB and adjusts the personal contribution based on the data there.
Is your partner going to a nursing home? This is often a huge, impactful change. It is mainly the emotional charge that makes this situation difficult. That is why we try to make the practical matters easier. Research what you can and yourself: the consumers' association has made articles about the personal contribution when you are admitted to the nursing homeand how you can reduce it available online. The CAK has a handy calculation tool with which you calculate which personal contribution you have to pay based on your own situation. Unfortunately, this information on Dutch regulation is often only in Dutch. We are happy to help you navigation Dutch websites. Are you looking for general information about your AOW pension in English? This page of the SVB is a good starting point.