benefit coronavirus

UPDATE 09/04: Are freelancers entitled to benefits due to coronavirus?

reading time: 5min | #freelancers #Overige | 10 March 2020 | Daan De Bock

Currently, the coronavirus is creating a lot of challenges. Many people are now falling technically unemployed. Everyone is looking for possible solutions. What can you do if your project is halted by corona? Find out here what benefits you may be able to apply for. We keep this page updated with the latest measures for freelancers.



A financial benefit that serves as a replacement income for freelancers.

When are you entitled to it?

  • If you are required to close by the government.
  • If you are not required to close, but have a huge drop in sales. This allows you to choose to close "voluntarily. You may then not conduct your business for 7 consecutive calendar days.

It is important to note that after those 7 calendar days, you WILL be allowed to carry out assignments without losing that benefit. Even in the event you are required by the government to close, you may continue to perform assignments if possible.



  • Your primary residence is Belgium
  • During the quarter of the facts, you were self-employed in principal occupation or collaborating spouse or self-employed in secondary occupation with a taxable income higher than €13,993.77
  • During that same quarter, you owe social security contributions
  • You have paid at least 4 quarterly contributions for past 16 quarters
  • You no longer have any other professional activity
  • You are under 65 and cannot make a say on replacement income


How much is the benefit?

You get a bridge loan for the whole month. This is only applicable for the months of March and April.

  • €1,291.60/month (without family burden)
  • €1,614.10/month (with family burden)


Where can I apply for it?

Send an application form to your insurance fund.


New: half bridging right for self-employed in secondary occupation

Are you self-employed in a secondary occupation, but do not qualify for the full crisis bridging right? Then you can apply for the half bridging right.

You are entitled to it if you are forced to close or if you "voluntarily" suspend your operations due to a huge drop in sales. This for at least 7 consecutive calendar days. Also, your income must be between €6,996.89 and €13,993.77. Pensioners who are still self-employed and whose income is also between €6,996.89 and €13,993.77 can claim this benefit.


How much is the benefit?

  • €645.85/month (without family burden)
  • € 807.05/month (with family burden)

For this benefit, there is a maximum ceiling of € 1,614/month. If you receive temporary unemployment benefits of € 1,100 as a freelancer in a secondary occupation for your activities in salaried employment, you will receive € 514 bridging allowance.

ATTENTION: This regulation has yet to be approved by the Council of Ministers. However, pre-registration can already be done with the social insurance fund.


Adjusting social security contributions and applying for benefits

There are several options.


Option 1: reducing social contributions

Because you automatically earn less due to the corona crisis, the approval on reduction of social contribution is quasi-automatic.

Where can I apply for it?

With your social insurance fund.


Option 2: deferring social contributions

You can request up to one year's extension to pay your social security contributions. This must be requested by June 15. By doing so, you retain your rights.

Where can I apply for it?

With your social insurance fund.


Option 3: exemption from social security contributions

If it is impossible for you as a freelancer to pay the social contributions even in the long run then you ask for exemption. This exemption will only cover the first two quarters of 2020. With this you retain your rights not and don't continue to build your retirement.

Where can I apply for it?

Through the National Institute of Social Security for the Self-Employed (NSSO).

If you are applying because of financial hardship due to coronavirus, your application will be processed more quickly provided that:

  • you are applying for an exemption for the first and/or second quarter of 2020
  • you submit the application by June 15
  • you tick in the application form that your sector is in crisis and explain it
  • you alert your customer advisor that you are submitting an application because of the coronavirus

Please note that you do not build your pension during those quarters for which you have applied.


Nuisance premium

An additional premium provided by the government to compensate the self-employed affected by the measures for their loss of income. This is a one-time premium of €4,000. If you have to remain closed after April 6, you will receive €160/day on top.



  • Mandatory Closing
  • Fixed location (not a home office)

Few freelancers are going to be able to take advantage of this premium. It is only for freelancers who effectively have an establishment and not just a home office. Also, the closure is mandatory.

Where can I apply for it?

Apply to VLAIO no later than May 19, 2020.


Flemish compensation premium

If you are not entitled to the nuisance premium, chances are you can count on the compensation premium. This premium is for freelancers who carry on working, but have a big loss of sales.


How much is the premium?

  • € 3.000
    For self-employed persons in main occupation and for self-employed persons in secondary occupation who pay social contributions as high as a self-employed person in main occupation.
  • € 1.500
    • For people in secondary employment who have an income between €6,996.89 and €13,993.78.
    • Also for the self-employed in secondary employment who are required to close.
    • To receive this premium, you must not perform any additional activity as an employee that exceeds 80% of your activity.



  • At least 60% revenue loss compared to the same period last year (period this year = 14/03/2020 - 30/04/2020)
  • As a starter, you should also have 60% sales drop, but that vs. your laid down financial plan.
  • As a non-profit organization, you must have at least one person employed full-time.
  • There is a maximum of 5 premiums per company if you have multiple branches.


Where can I apply for it?

You can apply for this premium soon at VLAIO.


Fiscal support measures

The federal government has provided additional tax measures to help the self-employed who are in financial difficulty.

The repayment plan may be requested for the following tax debts:

  • Withholding tax
  • VAT
  • Personal income tax
  • Corporate tax
  • Legal entities tax

For debt, there is also:

  1. Guaranteed exemption from negligence interest
  2. A waiver of fines for non-payment

There are some options:


Option 1: postponement for paying VAT returns and withholding taxes

It applies automatically for two months. Without having to pay any penalties or interest.


  • monthly declaration, February 2020, deadline extended to May 20, 2020
  • monthly declaration, March 2020, deadline extended to June 20, 2020
  • quarterly declaration, 1st quarter 2020 - deadline extended to June 20, 2020

Withholding tax

  • monthly declaration, February 2020, deadline extended to May 13, 2020
  • monthly declaration, March 2020, deadline extended to June 15, 2020
  • quarterly declaration, 1st quarter 2020 - deadline extended to June 15, 2020

It also applies to personal and corporate income taxes.


Option 2: staggered payment of personal income tax, partnership tax, VAT and withholding taxes

If you can show that you are in payment difficulties because of the corona virus, you can spread the payment (through June 30, 2020) on a monthly basis.

Request that right away as soon as you experience problems.


Option 3: reducing upfront payments for the self-employed

If you find that your income will be lower than that of the reference year, you may choose to pay a lower amount in upfront payments.

To apply for it, send a reasoned application to the social security institution.

Would you like as freelancer Get some targeted tips to protect your business from corona? Check out the video and discover 6 tips you can apply right away.




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