Understand the social security contributions and entitlements for self-employed workers and freelancers in Belgium...

EEA nationals have the right to set up as a self-employed person anywhere in the EU. Self-employed people may be exempt from paying social security contributions in Belgium for up to 12 months if they continue to pay national insurance contributions in their own country.

Self-employed people have their own social security system. They must affiliate themselves with a social security fund in Belgium into which they must then pay a percentage of their net income. Contributions are usually payable quarterly. In the first instance they should approach the National Institute of Social Security for the Self-Employed (RSVZ/INASTI/NISSE)

The NISSE takes care of the social status of the self-employed and ensures that the person is properly insured for medical care, incapacity for work or invalidity, maternity insurance, family benefits, pensions and bankruptcy.

People who are subject to the usual Belgian regime can pay reduced contributions in the first three years of being self-employed to limit their costs when starting up. However, final contributions are based on actual income and are reviewed at the end of the three years. This means that at the end of that period they may receive a bill for the difference between the amount they paid and the amount they owe.

Self-employed contributions are a higher percentage of income than the employees contribution – the exact amount depends on age, length of time as self-employed and income.

The contribution amount can be calculated on the Belgian Social Security portal:

  • Self-employed Social Security Calculation: Click here (in French)
  • Self-employed Social Security Calculation: Click here (in Dutch)
  • For a list of social security funds: Click here
  • For a list of health insurance funds: Click here