Social Security for the Self-employed

Information on the social security entitlements and obligations of self-employed workers and freelancers in Belgium...

Social Security contributions are paid every three months and are based on income from the business. Since no benchmark for tax can be established for a person who is just starting to trade, initially a provisional amount is paid, on account, every quarter, the amount of which is fixed by royal decree. This continues for at least three years (twelve quarters) up to a maximum of fifteen quarters. Once the fund has accurate figures for the actual income generated since start-up, it adjusts the provisional contributions and sends a demand for payment of any amounts owing.

Registration of an assisting spouse

An assisting spouse is one who assists or stands in for the self-employed person in the performance of the business without being linked by a contract of employment. Since 1 July 2005, an assisting spouse who undertakes no other activities that provide him or her with social welfare protection in the strict sense has, by default, maximum self-employed social security contributions status ("maxi-statut"). He or she must therefore also register with a social security contributions fund.

Health insurance

Contributions are managed via the national social security fund. At the start of each year, the national social security funds provide the mutual health insurance funds with particulars of the contributions made by registered people for the past year. Cover is only against major risks, such as operations, hospitalisation, and x-rays. However, individuals may take out supplementary insurance against "minor risks" such as consultation fees for a GP, pharmaceutical expenses and dental care.

Prepared using information supplied by ING Bank SA/NV www.ing.be