5 ways to go from complaint to solution

A negative decision on an extra supplement. A lower Groeipakket amount than expected. A decision that puts you at a disadvantage. An unsatisfactory answer to your question. We understand that, as a parent, you may not be happy with such an outcome. After all, this is about the most important person to you in the world: your child.

That’s why we understand when you want to dispute a decision or make a complaint. What’s more, we will help you do just that. Your objection may actually be the first step towards a solution. And that solution can come closer in 5 ways.

Option 1: We want to hear what you have to say

At MyFamily, we set the bar high for our Groeipakket coaches. Do you know which talent we consider to be more important than listening skills, case knowledge and solution-oriented thinking? You guessed it: caring about kids. People with their heart in the right place will always go the extra mile to find a solution.

This is why you should first contact your Groeipakket coach if you have a complaint or a problem. They will move heaven and earth to give your child the support to which they are entitled.

Tips

  • If you have a complaint, let us know by e-mail rather than picking up the phone. This will allow you to immediately attach the documents needed to support your complaint;
  • You can find the contact details of your Groeipakket coach on the letters you receive from MyFamily;
  • Have your national identification number to hand if you need to contact us, as we can then locate your file quickly;
  • We understand that you might be unhappy with something. Even so, we would ask you to remain courteous.

Option 2: Our ombudswoman will assist you

Yes, we have an ombudswoman. Hilde Coddens will help to bridge the gap between you, our client, and MyFamily. She will listen to what you have to say and look for a resolution As she takes a fresh look at the matter and is able to judge objectively, she will often find solutions that may have previously been overlooked

Besides her role as ombudswoman, Hilde is also a quality manager at MyFamily. She monitors the quality of the service, which is good news for you: the more satisfied customers we have, the higher the quality level and the happier Hilde is with her work.

Hilde will be happy to hear from you.

  • Send an e-mail to: ombudsdienst@myfamily.be
  • Or send us a letter by post to:

MyFamily Ombudsman Service
Brouwersvliet 4 Box 3
2000 Antwerp

Option 3: Contact the Complaints and Mediation Service

No matter how hard our Groeipakket coaches try, they are human, too. They, too, can have a bad night’s sleep, get up on the wrong side of the bed or have a bad day at work.

“That has nothing to do with me, though, does it?”, you might ask, and you are right. This is why you have the option of going to the Complaints and Mediation Service. This independent body of the Flemish government – linked to the Groeipakket Payment Agency – comes into play if you are not happy with the service you have received from us.

You are welcome to submit the following types of complaint to this body:

  • In your opinion, the information you have received from us was incorrect, incomplete or not possible to understand;
  • You are dissatisfied with the actions or attitude of one of our employees on the phone or at the counter;
  • You believe the quality of our services falls short of expectations. For instance, the accessibility of our offices, waiting times or – we can scarcely imagine it – a document that goes missing;
  • We fail to fully comply with our legal obligations, such as your right to privacy

Tips

  • You should never file a complaint anonymously, nor should you file a complaint in which you have no personal involvement. If you do, the Agency will not respond. We will similarly not respond if the matter is more than a year old;
  • Always ask the Agency for written confirmation of your complaint. You may need this later to interrupt the period of appeal, as you will see in the fourth option.

Contact information

  • Phone: 02 897 10 60
  • E-mail: info@groeipakket.be
  • By letter:

Groeipakket Payment Agency
Complaints and Mediation Service
Trierstraat 9
1000 Brussels

Would you prefer to go to the Flemish Ombudsman?

The Flemish government is responsible for your Groeipakket. As a result, you are welcome to file your complaint with the Flemish Ombudsman, who will try – as their website explains – to “find a solution that is acceptable to both parties”.

In that case, you will be dealing with an experienced intermediary. In 2018, the Flemish Ombudsman successfully handled no fewer than 10,000 disputes. The service aims to complete 100,000 dispute mediations in the next five years. If you want to help them achieve that figure, you can contact them here:

  • on the toll-free number 1700, every working day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • at info@vlaamseombudsdienst.be
  • By letter:

Flemish Ombudsman
Leuvenseweg 86
1000 Brussels

  • At the office, provided you make an appointment in advance.

Option 4: Appeal to the Disputes Committee

The preceding options are all mediation options. This method – where we look for a solution together – is MyFamily’s preferred approach. After all, we firmly believe that you and MyFamily have a common mission: to make sure your child gets every opportunity in life.

Unfortunately, things may escalate beyond this stage, with the mediation leaving you feeling dissatisfied. If this happens, you can take your complaint to the Disputes Committee of Kind en Gezin. You can do so in one of two ways:

Kind en Gezin
Disputes Committee
Hallepoortlaan 27

1060 Brussels

How do you make an appeal?

Submit a petition to the Committee’s secretariat in your preferred manner:

  • Via the website
  • By post
  • By submitting your letter in person

Officially speaking, this must be done “within a period of three months starting on the third calendar day following the day on which you were informed of the decision of the paying agency.”

We will explain this in plain English using a few examples:

  • Let’s say you received a decision from MyFamily on 7 March and you don’t agree with it. In that case, you have until 10 June to submit an appeal (= 7 March + 3 calendar days + 3 months).
  • if you received the decision on 14 December, you would have until 17 March of the following year to respond (14 December + 3 calendar days + 3 months).

This period ends once you contact the Complaints and Mediation Service of the Groeipakket Payment Agency. More information on this is set out in option 3.

Tips

  • Do not try to do everything by yourself. You are perfectly entitled to ask someone to assist you or to represent you during the procedure, e.g. a confidential counsellor. However, you will need to appoint this person in writing;
  • Your appeal to the committee is free of charge, unless it is considered “vexatious” or “without merit”. (Article 1017 of the Belgian Judicial Code)
  • If you disagree with our evaluation following your application for a care allowance, you should not take the matter to the Disputes Committee, but to the Labour Court. You can read more about this in option 5;
  • The same applies for designating a beneficiary. If you are still unhappy with the outcome, you may contact the Family Court no later than 6 months after the decision;
  • For more information about submitting an appeal to the Disputes Committee, take a look at the section on Kind en Gezin.

Option 5: Appeal to the Labour Court

We already mentioned that there are 5 paths to go from a complaint to a solution. The final option is one that we take with considerable reluctance at MyFamily. If a complaint goes to the Labour Court, this means that we could not find a solution for your grievance as a customer. This is something that always leaves us feeling uncomfortable, no matter how much we tried to do our best.

You can submit an appeal to the Labour Court in the judicial district where you live. Send your petition by registered post to the Registry or hand it over in person. You can also appoint someone to represent you during the proceedings of this court. (Article 728 of the Belgian Judicial Code)

You can choose between:

  • A trade union representative with your written power of attorney;
  • A legal counsel at your own expense;
  • Your spouse, legal partner or (blood) relative, also with your written power of attorney and with the consent of the court.

As with the Disputes Committee, you must submit an appeal within three months. An appeal is again free of charge, except where it is considered “vexatious” or “without merit”. (Article 1017 of the Belgian Judicial Code)

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