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MyBEnefits provides proof of right to discounts
An average 150 people a day are using the app MyBEnefits to prove that they are eligible for discounts or special rates. The app was launched one year ago by social affairs minister Maggie De Block.
Of Belgium’s 11 million residents, some two million have the right to economic concessions in a number of areas, such as the cost of utilities or internet connections. People on benefits or with certain disabilities can also, for instance, get discounts on admission fees to movies, amusements parks or museums.
But not everyone with the right to these adapted fees are aware of it or find the administration involved daunting. The app MyBEnefits allows users to input their information and get a QR code with their rights digitally encoded. This serves as proof of status to any providers of goods or services.
So far 24,000 people have created accounts and are collectively using the codes 150 times a day. “The app is working well, and the number of users is reasonably good,” said De Block. “But it could be better.”
The app is one of two ways to recognise people’s rights to social benefits; a database is the other way. This federal database is accessible to, for instance, utility providers, which then offer automatic discounts to those with the right to them.
There are, however, rights that are decided at the local level, such as free cultural passes or rubbish bags. De Block would like to see the rights allowed by city councils co-ordinated with the federal database so that these would also be automatically offered to citizens, too.
“We are calling on local councils to sign up to the federal database,” said De Block.
Photo: Maggie De Block and Philippe De Backer, minister of the digital agenda