On Prinsjesdag, the Haarlem Sandra Prins (45) made herself heard in The Hague. She notices that she often falls between two stools: she has a disability, but because of her average income she is often not eligible for financial support. In the meantime, she can hardly afford her high healthcare costs. She asked MP Pieter Omtzigt to draw attention to her situation.
Adding to the many impressions, Sandra is looking at the General Reflections with her boyfriend today. It is the day after Prinsjesdag, where plans were presented to combat the growing poverty and worries of many Dutch people.
Those worries are all too familiar to Sandra. Yesterday she spoke out in The Hague about her problems with various MPs and ministers. She is especially afraid of falling between two stools again. She has an average income, but is very dependent on care due to her metabolic disease. This makes her anxious: the healthcare costs are not reimbursed and the energy costs continue to rise.
“I incur a lot of extra costs due to my care. It concerns thousands of euros that are not reimbursed”
She feels that her situation is invisible. “Minima is often looked at and their situation is also very bad. But I incur a lot of extra costs due to my care and therefore have little left. It concerns thousands of euros that are not reimbursed.”
Not really heard
That invisibility was an important reason to travel to The Hague yesterday. A unique opportunity, she thought, although she feels that she has not fully exploited it. “It was a pity that not all politicians showed up. I also miss the feeling that I have really been heard.”
She told her story to various politicians, including Pieter Omtzigt. A nice conversation, she thought, but will it make a difference? “At that point, I felt like he was really listening. He did answer, but in a political way. Yet afterwards I think, what exactly can they do with my story?”
In the morning she sees Minister Omtzigt again on TV. “Look, he now tells a personal story of someone in trouble because of the high costs. That is very similar to the stories we told him yesterday. Did he pick up anything from it?”
“It is a day job to deal with arrangements, to ask for help. That makes it difficult”
Sandra has not yet delved into the announced plans and how much this will affect her. “It takes so much energy: requesting things, gaining insight into how much everything will cost. I want to put that energy into other things, such as my health.” Her friend joins in: “It’s a day job to deal with it, to ask for help. That makes it difficult.”
She cannot therefore say how much the announced energy ceiling and the increased health care allowance will make a difference to her. She finds it complicated and the research takes time. She still does not like to look at her energy bill, the prospect of the annual statement also inspires fear.
“I do what I can, I often take the bike instead of the car. But I can’t turn off my heater, if it gets too cold at night my body gets stiff and I can’t get out of bed.”
According to Sandra, these kinds of aid schemes should be communicated more clearly. “There needs to be much more openness, and not just in professional jargon. What exactly does the content mean? I wouldn’t know who to vote for now.”
In the run-up to Budget Day, NH Nieuws made the following report about Sandra’s situation.
The perseverants: these North Hollanders can’t make it anymore
Inflation is rising to great heights and energy is almost unaffordable. Many North Hollanders can barely keep their heads above water, for many others it is becoming increasingly difficult. Big problems that affect everyday people. We call them: the perseverants. NH Nieuws will go to The Hague with this group of people on Prinsjesdag. So that we can share these harrowing stories with national politicians.
Get to know our perseverants and their stories. You can find all their stories on this page.