Social relief

Do you not have enough money to make ends meet, perhaps because you are unable to work or your AOV benefit has been cut? Social relief is a contribution of the State Government to support residents of the Caribbean Netherlands who are temporarily unable to make ends meet. To be eligible for social relief you must be 18 years or older and island child or have been a resident of the Caribbean Netherlands for at least 5 years legitimately and uninterrupted.

Applying for social relief

You can apply for social relief by going to the SZW unit during the consulting hours for social relief.  A social relief officer will ask you about your situation and assess whether you meet the conditions. If the social relief is granted, it will take a maximum of 5 weeks before you receive the first payment.

Social relief amount

The social relief amounts differ between islands and are annually indexed for inflation. The support consists of a basic rate. There are also supplements per household situation, such as a  supplement for independent living, for children living at home and for people who are not able to work. The social relief amounts are given in this table. For instance, a single person living independently with 1 child is entitled, on top of the basic amount, to the child supplement 1st child and the supplement for living independently. If the same person is also fully and permanently disabled, this extra supplement also applies. The basic amount and the supplemental amounts together can never exceed the statutory minimum wage.

You can go to the SZW unit during the social relief consulting hours to have your personal situation assessed. The social relief is paid out once every two weeks.

More information?

For more information you can go to the SZW unit during consulting hours, call 715-8888, or send an email to

For the official laws and regulations governing social relief, see the BES Social Relief Act and the Publication of policy rules for social relief.