Freelancers in the cultural sector: How you apply for temporary benefit.


Freelancers that are active in the cultural sector and are now in trouble due to the Coronavirus can apply for temporary benefits via the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (TOZO). The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) asks freelancers who still have sufficient financial reserves to wait with an application. In this way municipalities are less overburdened and can handle more adequately.


Check the official website of your municipality to find out if there is any information on the temporary benefits and application options.



The KvK-advisory team of the Coronavirus of the Ministry of SZW can be reached from Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 17:00 by calling 0800-2117. The KvK-advisory team also answers Tweets: @KvK-NL. FAQ can be answered in English.


There are two types of benefits:

1. A maximum of 3 months income-support up to a social minimum.

2. A loan for working capital.


The scheme for freelancers amounts to a maximum of €1.500,31 net per month. This is based on the existing Bbz (decree on assistance for freelancers) but in this case will be processed and provided more quickly. There are a few temporary and flexible conditions: The income-support for life sustenance will not have to be repaid. In addition, a loan for working capital can be requested.


For the time being, TOZO applies for 3 months (until the 1st of June 2020 and with retroactive effect from the 1st of March 2020) and is carried out by the municipality where the freelancer lives. The ministry of SZW will further elaborate the scheme together with the association of the Dutch municipality among others.


What will the scheme look like?

You will be able to request support in the form of an additional benefit for living and/or working capital. You will be able to apply for this in the municipality where you live, not where your company may be or is located.  


What is different?


–          Testing for viability is not in order, which means that applications can be processed more quickly.

–          Within 4 weeks and for a period of max. 3 months income-support will be provided. Municipalities can work with advances.

–          The amount of income-support, depending on both income and the household situation, is a maximum of €1.500,31 net per month.

–          The accelerated procedure applies to working capital loans and amounts up to €10,157.

–          Income-support for life sustenance will not have to be repaid in the future. There is no asset- or partner test in this temporary scheme.

–          The option to postpone the repayment obligation is included when a working capital loan is granted.

–           When a working capital loan is granted, a lower interest rate than the usual Bbz is applied.


To whom does this scheme apply?


The scheme applies to freelancers who have become a victim of the Coronavirus crisis. The ministry of SWZ is asking all freelancers to only apply for the scheme when he or she is seriously affected by the Coronacrisis and when they meet the following requirements:

–          You are an established freelancer from the age of 18 to the retirement age.

–          You are a resident (lawfully) in the Netherlands.

–          You are Dutch or equivalent.

–          Your business or profession is carried out in the Netherlands.

–          You meet legal requirements for running your own business, including being registered in the trade register of the KvK.

–          You started your business before the 1st of January 2020 and you meet the hour criterion, that is to say at least 1,225 hours per year working in your own company or profession.

–          If you started your company less than a year ago, you must have worked at least 24 hours a week in / on your company in the period before 1 March 2020. Hours for administration and acquisition also count.

–          You are a resident in the municipality in which additional income-support is requested


Please note: The procedure/scheme is not yet in force


Because the scheme is not in force yet municipalities do not have access to it. However, they can process applications. Municipalities that desire to support freelancers without the new scheme can do this by granting an advance.


How do you apply?


To apply you must fill in the existing Bbz application form. Submit this form to your municipality, together with an extract from the Trade Register from the KvK, copies of your identification, bank statements and existing orders and letters. More information can found on the KvK website.


For more information on granting advances, visit the website of your municipality


Currently the Ministry of SWZ is working on the scheme and expects to be able to provide more details by 25th of March 2020. We repeat: the official scheme itself is not yet in force, mainly due to the demanding procedures attached to it.


foto: Matthew Waring