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Bridging right for the self-employed (Coronavirus) - relaxation

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.

The measure can be applied for when the company is forced to halt all activity for at least a full month. (‘Forced interruption - event with economic activity’).

In addition, a bill has been proposed relaxing the measure due to the coronavirus, wherein self-employed people forced to halt their professional activities for at least 7 consecutive calendar days can apply. The amount of the financial benefits will be between 25% and 100% of the amount of the monthly financial benefits.

The relaxation is to start from 1 March 2020 until further notice. You can review the bill in Dutch and French here.

Who qualifies

Self-employed people 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 an 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.

Specific conditions due to the coronavirus

You can apply for the bridging right if the corona-crisis interrupts your activities, as it pertains to ‘Forced interruption - event with economic activity’. Your activities will need to be interrupted for at least a full month.

In addition, a change in legislation is coming to provide the bridging right in case of a cessation of professional activities for at least 7 consecutive calendar days due to the coronavirus.

Contents of the support measure

The bridging right consists of 2 parts:

Financial support

When invoking ‘Forced interruption - event with economic activity’ after being forced to shut down your professional activities for at least a month, you can receive financial benefits for up to 12 months for the following amounts:

  • no dependants: €1,291.69 per month
  • with dependants: €1,614.10 per month

Benefits will vary between 25% and 100% of the monthly benefits when it pertains to a forced interruption of at least 7 calendar days.

Days of interruption

no dependants

with dependants

7 to 13

€322.92

€403.53

14 to 20

€645.84

€807.05

21 to 27

€968.77

€1,210.58

28 and over

€1,291.69

€1,614.10

 

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.

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

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.

Economic difficulties

Those forced to officially shut down their professional activities by economic difficulties, can in certain cases apply for the bridging right.

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.


 

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