Can you combine your income from an artistic activity with health or disability benefit?

You can combine an income from your artistic activity with health and disability benefit.

Are you entitled to health or disability benefit if you receive a reimbursement via the small expense compensation system for artists?

You must first obtain permission from your advising doctor to provide artistic services if these services are not voluntary work. However, even if the work is voluntary, you are better off contacting your advising doctor beforehand.

The National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (Rijksinstituut voor Ziekte- en invaliditeitsuitkering - RIZIV) does not view the reimbursement you receive under the small expense compensation system in exchange for the artistic services as professional earnings. It therefore has no effect on the amount of your benefit.

As an employee, are you entitled to health or disability benefit if you also receive an income for your artistic services as an employee or a self-employed person?

You may resume an activity that is compatible with your state of health if you have permission to do so from the health fund’s advising doctor. You may combine the income from this permissible artistic activity with your health or disability benefit. This does, however affect the amount of your benefits if the income is professional earnings.

Please note!The RIZIV also views income form an occasional activity (sundry earnings) or income from the exploitation of copyright as professional earnings. The RIZIV therefore also takes this income into account when determining your benefit.

  • Combination with an income as an employee: if you previously worked as an employee and are currently receiving health or disability benefit, you can combine the benefit with an income for your artistic services as an employee. This employee’s income does, however, affect the amount of your benefit. How much you actually keep in benefits depends on the amount of your gross income once social security contributions have been deducted. The charging of annual bonuses (such as end-of-year bonus) is spread over the 4 quarters following the quarter in which the bonus is paid.
    The income is divided into portions of EUR 11.0441, to which a percentage is linked that gradually increases and which is deducted from the daily amount of the benefit:
    • Overshoot of the first portion of EUR 11.0441: 0% withheld.
    • Overshoot of the second portion of EUR 11.0441: 25% withheld.
    • Overshoot of the third portion of EUR 11.0441: 50% withheld.
    • Above this, 75% is withheld.
       
  • Combination with income as a self-employed person: if you previously worked as an employee and are currently receiving health or disability benefit, you can combine the benefit with an income for your artistic services as a self-employed person. That self-employed income does, however, affect the amount of your benefit. The net taxable income is taken into consideration (the gross income after professional expenses have been deducted). That amount is then multiplied by 100/80ths. The self-employed artist must complete a monthly declaration of income specifying the amount of the income earned from the activity in the previous month. In that case too, the income is divided into portions of EUR 11.0441.

Example:the artist receives approval from the advising doctor to perform as a singer. He has an invalidity benefit of EUR 40 a day. 

  • Assume he performs this activity as an employee:
    Each month, he is paid EUR 500 from this artistic activity. Social security contributions are deducted from this (13.07%). This leaves: EUR 434.65. The daily amount of the income is: EUR 434.65 / 26 = EUR 16.72 and is subdivided into income portions:
    • Nothing is deducted from the first portion of EUR 11.0441.
    • 25% is withheld from the second portion of EUR 5.67 = EUR 1.41. That amount will be deducted from the daily benefit.
      The daily amount of the benefit is therefore: EUR 40 – EUR 1.41 = EUR 38.59. 
       
  • Assume he performs the activity as a self-employed person in a secondary occupation:
    He has a monthly income from this artistic activity of EUR 500, once professional expenses have been deducted. 20% is deducted for social security contributions. This leaves: EUR 400. The daily amount of the income is: EUR 400 / 26 = EUR 15.38 and is subdivided into the income portions mentioned above:
    • Nothing is deducted from the first portion of EUR 11.0441.
    • 25% is withheld from the second portion of EUR 4.33 = EUR 1.08. That amount will be deducted from the daily benefit.
      The daily amount of the benefit is therefore: EUR 40 – EUR 1.08 = EUR 38.92.

As a self-employed person, are you entitled to health or disability benefit if you also receive an income for your artistic services as an employee or self-employed person?

As a self-employed person, in principle you must stop all tasks associated with your self-employed professional activity during the period of unfitness for work (which you performed before the disablement). But the case-law is more flexible here. Continuing ‘minimal tasks’ that do not constitute ‘real work’ is not a problem. The nature and scope of the business are also important in determining whether or not the tasks are ‘minimal’.

You can resume some of the professional activity you were carrying on at the time of the disablement if you have the consent of the health fund’s advising doctor. However, the doctor may only give his consent once the first month of unfitness for work has elapsed, and for a maximum of 6 months. This 6-month period can be extended twice on request. The entire period may never exceed 18 months.

The doctor may also give his consent to begin another professional activity (not necessarily on a self-employed basis).
Example:if the artist did not carry on an artistic activity but did engage in another activity on a self-employed basis prior to his disablement, he can ask for permission to begin an artistic activity.
Permission may only be granted for a period of up to 6 months. It may be extended once by a period of 6 months.

Fully combining the invalidity benefit and professional earnings is permitted. After a period of 6 months, the benefit is reduced by 10%. If you were to stop your activity and subsequently continue to benefit from the income from your former activity, the benefit would no longer be reduced by 10%.

According to the RIZIV, an activity that is not carried on as an employee, a self-employed person or a civil servant also comes under ‘professional activity’ (such as writing and publishing a book for a copyright reimbursement or implementing an artistic project with subsidies). You are therefore best off also asking for permission before beginning such an activity. According to the RIZIV, this income also reduces your benefit after 6 months.