You live with 1 other adult

The amount of your AOW pension depends on your situation. If you are married or in a registered partnership and you live with your partner, you will get an AOW pension at the rate for a person living with another adult

If you are not married but you live with another person, we will have to check whether you can be regarded as having a shared household with that person. 

If we decide you have a ‘shared household’, you will get an AOW pension at the rate for a person living with another adult. If we decide you do not have a ‘shared household’, you will get an AOW pension at the rate for a person living alone

What is a shared household?

Under the AOW pension scheme, you are regarded as ‘sharing a household’ if you live with someone aged 18 or over and you both regularly contribute to the household.

There are 2 ways you can contribute to the household: 

  1. Contributing financially: you pay part of the costs of living in the house, the shopping etc. 
  2. Contributing by providing mutual care: you help each other by cleaning, shopping, doing the paperwork and cooking, and looking after each other when one of you is ill

Financial contributions or mutual care are not taken into account if they are insignificant or infrequent.

Example

Liz has an AOW pension and lives in 1 house with her brother. They share the household costs. They also both do the cleaning and the weekly shopping. This means they both contribute to the household. Liz therefore gets an AOW pension at the lower rate for a person living with another adult.

If you live with another adult in 1 house, you will always be regarded as sharing a household if you and the other person:

  • have been married to each other before 
  • have lived together before 
  • have a child together (your own child or an acknowledged child) 
  • have a cohabitation agreement drawn up by a notary public 
  • if your household has already been classed as a shared household under another piece of Dutch legislation 

Which pension rate can you get?

Select your situation to see if you can get an AOW pension at the (lower) rate for a person living with another adult, or at the (higher) rate for a person living alone.

If you are not married and you live with your child, you will get an AOW pension for a person living alone. It does not matter how old your child is.

If you are not married and you live with your father or mother, you will get an AOW pension for a person living alone.

If you are not married and you live only with your grandchild, you can get an AOW pension for a person living alone until your grandchild reaches the age of 18. 

If your grandchild is aged 18 or over, you will be regarded as ‘sharing a household’ if you both contribute to the household, either financially or in another way. If you have a ‘shared household’, you will get an AOW pension at the rate for a person living with another adult.

Example 

Eileen has an AOW pension. She lives with her grandchild Michael, who is a student. Michael eats with her sometimes and does the shopping occasionally. He does not pay anything. Is Michael regarded as contributing to the household? No, his contribution is too small. Eileen therefore gets an AOW pension at the rate for a person living alone.

If you rent out part of your house to someone, or if you rent accommodation yourself and live in the same house as your landlord or landlady, you probably have a ‘commercial relationship’ with each other. If so, you will not be regarded as living in a shared household. You can therefore get an AOW pension at the rate for a person living alone. 

For a ‘commercial relationship’, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You live in the same house as 1 or more persons
  • You rent a room to or from someone else. Either you are a lodger, or you have a lodger
  • You have a written agreement with the other person
  • You can prove that your relationship is commercial by showing a contract and bank statements
  • You and the other person have a business relationship 

It is not possible to have a ‘commercial relationship’ with a person if you and that person:

  • have been married to each other before
  • have lived together before
  • have a child together (your own child or an acknowledged child)
  • have a cohabitation agreement drawn up by a notary public

Example 

Monica has an AOW pension. She has a large house and rents part of it out to Caroline. Caroline has her own shower and toilet. They both use the kitchen but they never eat together. Agreements concerning the use of the house and the amount of the rent are written down in a contract. Caroline transfers the rent every month from her bank account. This is a ‘commercial relationship’. Monica therefore gets an AOW pension at the rate for a person living alone. 

Make sure that you have a ‘commercial relationship’ by using one of our model agreements.

If you are married or in a registered partnership and your partner is living in a nursing home or sheltered housing for the long term, you will normally continue to receive an AOW pension for a person living with another adult. If you prefer, however, you can ask us to change your AOW pension to the rate for a person living alone.

It may seem a good idea to change your AOW pension to a pension for a single person because you and your partner will receive more money. However, in most cases, there are financial disadvantages because you may be required to pay a much higher personal contribution under the Long-term Care Act (Wlz) or Social Support Act (Wmo). We would therefore advise you to contact the CAK first before making a decision.

Other consequences of choosing an AOW pension for a person living alone

  • You will probably have to pay more tax
  • The amount of healthcare benefit you can get from the Belastingdienst may go down
  • The amount of rent benefit you can get from the Belastingdienst may go down
  • If you receive a company pension, your company pension may also be affected.
  • A change to your AOW pension may have consequences for benefits paid under the schemes for Victims of Persecution ( Wuv) and Civilian War Victims ( Wubo), and under the extraordinary pension schemes
  • If one of you dies, the surviving partner will not be entitled to a death grant under the AOW scheme 

If you want to know what will happen if you opt for an AOW pension for a person living alone, we advise you to contact the Belastingdienst, the CAK and, if relevant, your company pension fund. You can then decide whether or not to change your AOW pension to the rate for a person living alone.

Please note: if you change your pension to a different rate, you cannot change it back again until your partner has left the nursing home or sheltered housing.

If you live with someone so that you can look after them, or they can look after you, this is called a ‘care relationship’. In this situation, you will get an AOW pension at the rate for a person living with another adult. 

If you both have a home of your own

You can get an AOW pension at the rate for a person living alone if you both meet the conditions for the two-house rule:

  • you are not married 
  • You each have your own home (whether rented or owner-occupied) or rented sheltered accommodation or communal housing, or accommodation based on usufruct or real right of occupation  
  • you are both registered with the municipality as living at your own address  
  • you pay all the costs of your own home  
  • you have unrestricted use of your own home 

What do we mean by ‘unrestricted use of your own home’?

  • You do not rent out your home 
  • There is no one else living in your home (with the exception of your own child, stepchild or foster child under the age of 18) 
  • No one else has a right of usufruct of your home 
  • No one else has a real right of use or occupation of your home 
  • Your home is connected to the water, electricity and gas networks

Your care relationship started before 28 November 2014 

You can get an AOW pension at the rate for a person living alone if: 

  • you each have your own home
  • you pay the costs for your own home yourself 
  • one of you needs extensive care 
You must inform us if the need for extensive care stops. We can then assess your situation again.

If you and your partner both have a home of your own, but you spend most of your time in the same house, you can still get an AOW pension at the rate for a single person, providing you and your partner meet all the conditions for the ‘two-house rule’. The two-house rule does not apply to holiday homes or recreational homes.

Conditions for the two-house rule

  • You are not married 
  • You each have your own home (whether rented or owner-occupied) or rented sheltered accommodation or communal housing, or accommodation based on usufruct or real right of occupation  
  • you are both registered with the municipality as living at your own address  
  • you pay all the costs of your own home  
  • you have unrestricted use of your own home 

What do we mean by ‘unrestricted use of your own home’?

  • You do not rent out your home 
  • There is no one else living in your home (with the exception of your own child, stepchild or foster child under the age of 18) 
  • No one else has a right of usufruct of your home 
  • No one else has a real right of use or occupation of your home 
  • Your home is connected to the water, electricity and gas networks

If you do not meet all the conditions for the two-house rule, we will assess whether you can be regarded as ‘sharing a household’. 

If you are regarded as sharing a household, you will get an AOW pension at the rate for a person living with another adult. If you do not ‘share a household’, you will get a benefit for a person living alone.