Arbeitlosengeld for Freelancers

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Can anyone tell me if freelancers are eligible for arbeitlosengeld if they haven't been able to find work for almost a year?

 

Would be grateful for an info.

 

Cheers

RH

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No. We do not pay the state unemployment insurance. So we get to keep more of our income and, in return, we provide for ourselves through periods of no work, sickness etc etc.

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I was going to mention ALGII / Harz IV but then I realised I don't know enough to comment. Can only suggest you check it out if you get to a point of having very few means. I'd guess perhaps not so fast though.

 

The basic logic of us being outside unemployment welfare is that the boundaries between working or not (and related stuff like how much our earnings upon wihch payments are based actually are) are very difficult to nail down. What would x% of your income for our ALGI if you've not been earning, for example? When are you actually "involuntarily unemployed" (as opposed to say, only having a couple of hours but not enough to live off, or having offers but that you don't want to take etc). That's why we have to be hard-headed and hoard a bit of what we do earn - effectively that's our "insurance".

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Hmmm, I see.

 

Well, in my case I fell into freelance due to lack of suitable permanent roles following a redundancy due to restructuring. Whilst I'm now even prepared to take junior contract roles, even this is not working out as I keep being told I'm too senior for the roles I have applied to, or in other cases after applying, the projects are withdrawn which happens a lot these days as you probably know all too well.

 

Anyway, I'll look into the other options later on. But thanks anway.

 

Cheers - RH

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For Arbeitslosengeld 1 you would need to have been employed at least 12 months within the last 2 years or have been paying into an optional unemployment insurance for freelancers.

 

For Arbeitslosengeld 2 (Hartz IV), you should speak to the Arbeitsagentur. German self-employed who don't earn enough to get by can get Hartz IV, and I think for citizens from the "old" EU countries it should be the same, unless someone just enters the country and proceeds to apply for Hartz IV. If you live with a partner whose income is above certain thresholds, then applying for Hartz IV won't be possible, because you and your partner are considered as one household.

 

There are some restrictions and there's a bit of a grey area due to EU jurisdiction and Germany having to adapt its laws. I think it's best to contact the Arbeitsagentur and register as unemployed. You could perhaps get a Vermittlungsgutschein (voucher for private job agencies) if you want to get back into employment.

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I think your situ is common. I met a mate the other day who "drifted" into self-employment but did not really want to (he's now drifted out again). I said to him that think you have to really commit to the lifestyle and taking on the risks. There are a lot and they tend to be hidden while the economy is OK - everyone piles in - only for the risks to be highlighted sharply as soon as there is a slowdown. Also, even at the best of times, it can take a while to build up contacts and rep and thus get an income stream up and running. My self-employed family told me "give it 2 years" and they were spookily right.

 

On Hartz IV, is there not some sort of "social help" outside of linked to employment? I understand the point on sticking to your trade. However, I suppose I'd say that social help is hardly the life of luxury and in somewhere like Munich, pretty much any old casual income might be at least as good.

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I too am no expert in the subject, but AFAIAA there is a possibility of you claiming Hartz IV. Also, I believe that (in theory at least) the Arbeitsamt will first try to see if they can improve the chances of your current freelance work by offering training or similar. But if I’m correct, then you must register ASAP, as they surely won’t backdate anything.

 

It’s a hard position you’re in. Perhaps if you said here on TT what you do as a freelance, somebody may be able to offer [constructive] advice as to how you could improve your chances of finding work.

 

(Tongue in cheek comment to Swimmer):

You didn’t finish your sentence, did you? “So we get to keep more of our income …" ... a large percentage of which we then pay to other government departments?

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Thanks for your comments RainyDays! I think first step is to contact the Arbeitsamt/Arbeitsagentur and see what my chances are.

 

I'm not really on the breadline just yet, but I don't know how much longer it could take before I find the next contract or even the perm job. Its already 10 months that I haven't worked, but perhaps realistically 6, since 4 out of the 10 months were taken up recovering from a bad wrist fracture.

 

To answer your question Heathclyffe, my permanent profession is European marketing and communications for the technology sector at senior level. On the freelance front, I have been offering my marketing experience on a project management basis for the telcoms sector here in Germany. I guess my biggest handicap in PMO related roles is that I am also not certified. I was lucky enough to get the last two roles with two of the leading mobile operators on the back of my existing experience which also covered telco from former days in London. Haven't given much thought to putting myself through a certification as I'm not sure I'll always be doing PMO type of roles. Ultimately, I'd like to get back into a permanent role.

 

Thanks once again to everyone for their feedback - have really appreciated it smile.gif .

 

Cheers!

 

 

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You only get Arbeitslosengeld if you pay it. When I went freelance back in around '98 I went to the BfA to sort this out and they told me it wasn't worth paying it as I wouldn't get the benefits so I stopped. I used to pay my Krankenkasse extra money so that I would still get something if I was off sick but they stopped that about a year ago unless I pay extra but I do pay to the IKK which gives me something if I'm unemployed, not sure how much though.

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Hi,

I'm afraid I don't REALLY know the rules, but...

You say you worked up to about a year ago - that means you DID pay into the social insurance fund. And when your eligibility is assessed, you will need to have worked x amount of time within the last x amount of years - you are certainly still within that limit. However, you ARE self-employed (you are freelance, like myself, but they don't get freelancing at all - to the state, we are all self-employed).

 

There is something that certainly German nationals should always be able to fall back on, which is Sozialhilfe. It mightn't be called that any more now (I think it still is, though, but it now comes out of the same fund as Hartz IV, or/and at least it's now done thru' the same agency as Hartz IV is paid thru').

 

However, it's for when you're really hard up - so if you still have reasonable funds in your bank account, you won't be eligible.

 

Seeing as you were working here before, and didn't stop that long ago, and can prove that you didn't leave your job voluntarily to go freelance, maybe something could be done - do go and check it out. Hartz IV eligibility is tied to your existing funds too, as opposed to Arbeitslosengeld I.

 

It seems that the authorities - despite being required by law - often do NOT inform you of your rights, so a lot of the time it's up to you to go and find out what you're eligible for, and then ask for it!

 

There is an 'Arbeitslosentelefon' or something in some cities, so maybe give them a call. With freelancers and anything that's not the 'norm', they are sometimes a little 'überfordert', though.

 

Good luck anyway, also with the job search!

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Maybe someone can help me. I am currently claiming Arbeitslosengeld 2 and have been offered a job on an honorary basis for 3 hours per week. Obviously I won't be able to live from this so does anyone know if I can still claim ALG 2?

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Alpine Dreamer:

 

I was "paid off" to leave a company with whom I had been working 5 years in Germany, in 2008; I received Arbeitslosengeld for about a year.

 

In the meantime, I set myself up as self-employed: This took a bit of jumping through hoops with the Agentur für Arbeit (AfA) and the Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR). When this was finally done, I was offered the chance to buy back into the Arbeitslosengeld insurance at the rate of about 40 EUR/mo, by the AfA. I'm not exactly sure what rate they would compensate me at if I were to need it; the previous rate was at about 60% of salary. The general idea is that I would re-qualify for benefits if my gig completely failed. I thought it was a reasonable amount to pay, so I took it.

 

If you visit with the AfA or KVR, take along a translator if your German isn't strong.

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Skorpiola, taking up a job while receiving Arbeitslosengeld II is possible, you just need to inform the Arbeitsagentur. Income from a job that exceeds 100 €, but is less than 1000 € is counted against the Arbeitslosengeld except for 20%, see Arbeitsagentur, "Freibeträge". So if for example you make 300 €, the first 100 € are exempt + 20% of 200 € = 140 € more that you would effectively have through that job (in addition to the Arbeitslosengeld).

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Just wanted to give a second word of thanks to RainyDays, whose informative link has just helped prevent me making a drastic mistake. Thanks again, lady :)

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Is there any kind of insurance that a freelancer can get to cover loss of income if they hit a bad stretch?

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bah, my ämtliches Deutsch is so shit, I wouldn't have even known what words to put in the little box.

 

Even after reading the link I had to have my husband go over it, although, lo and behold, I had actually understood it correctly.

 

It has still saved me a heap of time because it answered specific questions I really thought I was going to have to find out in person. Although I usually get ice cream and play bumper cars on the way, going to any Amt is still just not very much fun.

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if some one contributed for the arbeitlosengelvesicherung for 8 years and then go freelance. after completing the first 6 months of freelance project if that persons becomes arbeitloss will he be able to claim the arbeitlosengel? (keeping mind he contributed 8 years for the arbeitlosgeld vesicherung)

regards,

maaziz

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