FREELANCE DEALS
FREELANCE DEALS
FREELANCE DEALS

Bridging right for the self-employed (Coronavirus)

Reinhardt Haverans
27 March 2020

What does the measure mean

The full-time self-employed forced to temporarily stop their activities due to Economic difficulties can receive financial aid for up to 12 months.

You can also apply for the bridging right if you were forced to stop your activities due to the coronavirus for at least 7 consecutive days.

This measure can be applied for now at your social security fund. They will be able to proceed with payment as soon as the Royal Order is posted in the Belgian Official Gazette.

Who qualifies

Self-employed persons who meet the following requirements:

General

  • Your primary residence is Belgium;
  • You are under 65 and do not qualify for a replacement income (unemployment, disability, pension…);
  • You were self-employed full time, active as assisting spouse or helper (maximum status) in the quarter of the fact and at least the three quarters prior;
  • You have no professional activity whatsoever;
  • You owed social contributions in the quarter of the fact and at least the 3 quarters prior;
  • You paid at least 4 quarterly contributions over the course of the previous 16 quarters.

Specifically for Economic difficulties

If you are forced to halt your activities (for at least 7 consecutive days) due to Economic difficulties (such as the coronavirus), you can apply for the bridging right as long as you meet the following requirements:

  • You are currently receiving social welfare benefits;
  • The Commission for Exemption of Contributions or the National Institute for the Social Security of the Self-employed (NISSE) granted you an exemption from social contributions during the past 12 months;
  • The income from your activity did not exceed €13,993.78 (€6,147.47 for assisting spouse) in the year of cessation and the year prior.

Contents of the support measure

The bridging right consists of 2 parts:

Financial support

You will receive financial support for up to 12 months for the following amount:

  • no dependants: €1,266.37 per month
  • with dependants: €1,582.46 per month

Equivalence

You will maintain for a maximum of 4 quarters your rights to medical care, family benefits/growth packages and disability benefits. You will not, however, build your pension rights during the bridging right.

Additional condition

When Economic difficulties occur (as with the coronavirus), you need to be able to show that you have been building pension rights for a minimal number of quarters. The more quarters you can show, the longer you will be able to use the bridging right.

Number of quarters pension rights Number of quarters bridging right

 

fewer than 8

no right

between 8 and 20

1

between 20 and 60 

2

more than 60

4

 

Application procedure

You are to apply for the bridging right at your social security fund before the end of the second quarter following the quarter in which you stopped all activities.

Other situations

Besides the situation of Economic difficulties, there are 3 more possible situations in which you can apply for the  bridging right:

Collective debt regulation

Whomever stops their self-employed activities within 3 years after collective debt regulation, can also apply for the bridging right. The 3-year period ends the first day of the quarter following the quarter in which you stopped.

Bankruptcy

Whomever is forced to stop their activities due to personal bankruptcy or the bankruptcy of the company can apply for the bridging right.

If within the company you were manager, director or working partner, you must be able to show you were active in that position at the moment of bankruptcy.

Forced interruption

When extreme circumstances force you to interrupt your professional activities for at least 1 calendar month, you can apply for the bridging right. The following circumstances qualify:

  • Fire;
  • Natural disaster (flood, earthquake...);
  • Damages to the professional building or equipment specific to your profession;
  • Allergies caused by exercising your profession;
  • Event with an economic impact.

Contact

National Institute for the Social Security of the Self-employed (NISSE)

Willebroekkaai 35 - 1000 Brussels - Belgium - T: 02 546 42 11

This text is a literal translation of a Dutch-language text provided by Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship. By translating it to English, we aim to help even more entrepreneurs in this time of crisis. Please contact us with any questions.


 

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