New rules drive up the cost of love

With new laws set to kick in that require co-habitating couples to live up to the same obligations as married couples, one young couple wonders why they don’t get the same benefits

(photo: Stephen Wright)
November 30th, 2013 8:15 am| by admin
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Martin Dale is a British citizen who has been living and working in Denmark for 13 years. He is a musician, producer and artist who owns his own production company.  He purchased and is paying a mortgage on a flat in Helsingør. He speaks fluent Danish. In other words, he has jumped through all of the hoops required for residency. But Dale now faces the very real possibility of having to pull up sticks and leave Denmark forever. His crime? He fell in love with a Danish woman.
 
Dale has been in a relationship with Anne Kastrup for four years. They aren’t married, and therein lies the rub. Kastrup has a back injury and is in treatment for mental issues that make her unable to work. She collects unemployment benefits from the government. When the new laws kick in at the beginning of next year requiring the working member of an unmarried couple to pay the disability benefit of the partner who cannot work – the way married couples are required to – Dale and Kastrup will essentially go broke.
 
“If I make more than 11,000 kroner per month, the amount is taken out of Anne’s benefits,” Dale said. “If I should make 22,000 kroner in one month, she will receive no benefits at all.”
 
Dale, a hard-working musician who tours and works constantly, said that the new rules actually encourage people not to work so that their partners can keep receiving benefits.
 
Short end of the stick
Dale said that the couple are being treated like a married couple, but receiving none of the tax breaks or benefits that married couples enjoy.
 
Anne will continue to pay taxes on her benefits, and Dale will continue to pay income tax on his earnings on top of being docked for Anne’s benefits. Married couples who support each other receive tax breaks and are able to write off income that unmarried couples cannot under the new laws.
 
“Even though everyone involved in Anne’s case knows she can’t work, she has to go to ‘job interviews’ regularly as there is no box for sick or injured people in the new system,” said Dale.
 
(photo: Stephen Wright)
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