On Friday 17 June 2016, the Belgian Cross-Border Worker Commission LCGB-CSC (CFB) visited the office of the Minister of the Walloon Government, Maxime Prévot, to address the autonomy insurance plan in the Wallonia region.
The CFB aimed to clarif several issues for Belgian cross-border workers, including the question of a possible "double payment" of contributions, both to the new Walloon autonomy insurance and to Luxembourg dependency insurance.
In response, the Minister's office confirmed that legal provisions would be take to avoid such double charging for Belgian citizens crossing the border to work. They will be exempt from Wallonia autonomy insurance contributions as they are subject to Luxembourgish social security and therefore already contribute to care insurance in the Grand Duchy.
The CFB also claimed that whilst Belgian cross-border workers contribute to care insurance in Luxembourg, they can only partially benefit therefrom, the majority of these benefits being in kind and such workers being unable to access it. Cross-border workers may only receive a small proportion of credit hours which is convertible into cash benefits.
According to the CFB, for several years now, Luxembourg's 175,000 cross-border workers, of which 40,000 are Belgian, have been contributing to the social benefits system whilst receiving limited access to this. The General Social Security report from 2015 found that in 2014, 13,464 people benefitted from Luxembourgish dependency insurance, of which 13,038 were residents, making up 96.8% of beneficiaries.
Similarly, expenses for dependency insurance benefits amounted to €530.9 million in 2013, with €525.2 million, or 98.9% going to residents. As previously no equivalent provision existed in Belgium, the right to benefits was not exportable but the autonomy insurance project in Wallonia is opening a door to a similar provision to that in the Grand Duchy.
The LCGB-CSC has therefore called on the Walloon Minister's Office to conclude a bilateral agreement between the two regions to define the operating principles between the two care insurance systems so that Belgian cross-border workers may benefit.
Pointing to the level of contributions made by Belgian cross-border workers to care insurance in Luxembourg, the CFB asked for legitimate reimbursement from Luxembourg care insurance, the same kind of benefits that would be granted by Walloon providers.