It has become a tradition: the Belgian King helping out the poor. Just like the previous year, King Philippe has given some money to Belgians who really need it the most. In 2016 King Philippe handed out 200 euros per person to a total of 769 Belgians in need.
Each year King Philippe receives lots of letters and cards, not only for birthdays or anniversaries but also to ask the King for help. The palace has stated that the King receives around 50,000 pieces of correspondences a year. In 2016, 11,000 people have written to the King to ask for his help. Most of the Belgians who write to the King for aid are redirected to social services. However, some of them have actually received aid through an amount of money.
In total, the King has given 154,000 euros to poor people and those in need. In 2016 the King has remarkably given more money to those asking for help than in 2015. In 2015, His Majesty gave 104,000 euros in total to 520 people. The rise can be declared by the fact that the letters of December 2015 have been dealt with in 2016.
Also, King Philippe’s father King Albert gave small amounts to people who wrote to him for help. Therefore it is not a new tradition. Before giving any money, a “social research” takes place to make sure the King only gives money to those who need it most. The money comes from a fund that is called “Noodfonds van de Koningin” (“Emergency Fund of the Queen”). A spokesman of the palace has said: “It are mainly people who suddenly can’t pay their rent anymore, have high energy bills, or suddenly face unforeseen schooling cost of their children.” The palace has stated that since the financial crisis in 2008, more people have expressed their need for help.