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New bridging right as of January 2021

Monday 28/12/2020
Overbruggignsrecht aanvragen

The government continues to provide support measures to help entrepreneurs get through this Corona crisis. Although the restart bridging right expired on 31 December, the crisis bridging right due to enforced closure will be extended until the end of January.

In addition, a law is to be passed introducing a new bridging right up to and including 31 March 2021, which may be extended further. 

The new crisis bridging right for self-employed workers as of January 2021 covers four types:

  • Enforced interruption of business
  • Continuation of operation with a loss of turnover of at least 40%.
  • Quarantine without illness
  • Caring for children due to closure of school or childcare 

Enforced interruption of business

The double crisis bridging right for entrepreneurs who are forced to close their business will be extended up to and including 31 January 2021

You can apply for this bridging right as from 10 January 2021, and payment will be made in the first week of February at the earliest.

Significant loss of income of at least 40%

If you were not obliged to close your business, but suffered a considerable loss of income, you can apply for the crisis bridging right.
You must meet three conditions:

  1. You can prove that your turnover fell by at least 40% in the calendar month preceding the month for which you are claiming a benefit. This fall in turnover must be proven in comparison with the same calendar month of the reference year 2019.
  2. You actually paid social security contributions for at least four quarters of the past sixteen quarters. These sixteen quarters are counted from the quarter in which the month of the benefit lies. If you have been subject to a maximum of twelve quarters as a self-employed person, the payment of two quarters will suffice.
  3. You have not received a bridging right due to forced interruption for the same month.

You can apply for this bridging right as from 10 January 2021, and payment will be made in the first week of February at the earliest.

Quarantine without illness

If you are forced to completely interrupt your activity because you have to spend at least seven consecutive calendar days in quarantine without actually being ill, you can apply for the crisis bridging right. The benefit depends on the number of days of interruption.

This should be seven consecutive days, but they should not fall in a single calendar month.

If you are ill and therefore have to be quarantined, you do not qualify for this bridging right. You can, however, apply for benefits from your health insurance fund.

You can apply for this bridging right as from 10 January 2021, and payment will be made in the first week of February at the earliest.

Childcare

If you have to interrupt your activity completely for at least seven days in order to take care of a child under the age of 18, you can apply for the crisis bridging right. 

There is no age limit for children with a disability.

The seven days need not be consecutive, but they should be within one calendar month.

The reason for the childcare must be crisis-linked:

  • Your child, or his or her class must go into quarantine.
  • The school or childcare facility closes to limit the spread of the Corona virus
  • Your child is obliged to follow distance learning

The benefit depends on the number of days of interruption.

It is not yet possible to claim this benefit. 

Classic bridging right relaxed

The classic bridging right is also changing. The following relaxations will apply in the case of bankruptcies, forced interruptions and closures between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021:

  • Starters should only have paid for two quarters, instead of four.
  • The accumulated replacement income becomes possible up to the amount of the bridging right.
  • In addition to retaining the rights in the health insurance, pension rights are also safeguarded for a maximum of four quarters.
  • In the case of events that took place between 1 April 2020 and 31 December 2020, the application period is extended by two quarters.

Do you have any questions? You may find the answer in our Corona second wave FAQ. But our specialists are also ready to provide you with more information and explanation.
 

Contact one of our experts

Bert Lutin

Bert Lutin

Partner Tax & Legal Services

Tanja De Naeyer

Tanja De Naeyer

Senior Manager Tax & Legal Services