The information compiled here on insurance is partially of interest for dancers (Bayerische Versorgungskammer) who are employed at German city theaters. All other information is only of interest for those who want to become self-employed or are already self-employed.
Bayerische Versorgungskammer = Versorgungsanstalt der deutschen Bühnen
The insurance offered by the Bayerische Versorgungsanstalt is additional compulsory retirement insurance for all artists employed at city theaters. The theaters thus prevent their artists from slipping into poverty when they are elderly.
Special regulations for dance group members (payback)
For all dance group members who are giving up their dance careers, the Bayerische Versorgungskammer offers two alternatives according to the presently applicable special regulations: a payback or continued voluntary insurance.
If dancers have concluded more than 36 months of premiums, then they can receive all of their premiums as a payback with interest (if they discontinue their dance career permanently before turning 41). Then a retirement pension is no longer paid. A partial payback with a possibility for continued coverage is not available for members who signed their contracts before December 31st 2010.
According to the new special regulations, dancers between 32 and 45 can receive their payback (complete or partial) if they use it to finance continuing education, university studies or self-employment. These new regulations apply to all policyholders whose policy began after December 31st 2010. If the insurance policy was already in effect before January 1st 2011, then the previous special regulations for members of dance groups applies until December 31st 2015. Decisive is the date when your career ends. 2011-2016 is a transition period in which both regulations apply in parallel. From september 2016 on, the new special regulations apply to ALL dancers. According to the new statute regulations, all dancers have an option to receive a pension resulting from occupational disability if the begin of disability took place before the age of 32.
Voluntary continued insurance coverage
At present, only those who do not take the payback can continue to be insured voluntarily.
From the Merkblatt 20 of the Versorgungsanstalt der deutschen Bühnen:
“If theater work is interrupted, then the mandatory or voluntary insurance ends and the premium-free insurance phase begins. During the premium-free phase, there is no insurance coverage for occupational disability or invalidity. In addition, the pension fund does not increase in size. These disadvantages can be avoided by continuing the insurance. Especially in cases of unemployment, illness without wages, parental leave or freelance artistic work, it is thus advisable to continue the insurance. Continuing the insurance is also possible in conjunction with an insurance that complies with the law regulating artists’ social insurance (Künstlersozialversicherungsgesetz).”
Prerequisites: Continuing the insurance coverage is allowed when it occurs directly after
– employment at a theater;
– a pension payment due to occupational disability or invalidity;
– the end of occupational invalidity, if a mandatory insurance existed directly before its occurrence.
It is ruled out in cases of occupational invalidity and occupational disability, as long as the Versorgungsanstalt der deutschen Bühnen is paying a pension.
The basic premium is 12.50 EUR monthly and is due on the first of the month, at the latest until March 31st of the following year. Premiums paid after this date cannot be accepted. The insurance then ends and enters into the phase of premium-free insurance. As an option, an additional premium in addition to the basic premium can be paid up to the maximum sum (16% of the contribution assessment ceiling; for 2010 this is 880 EUR monthly or 10,560 EUR per year). Belated payment is possible up to March 31st of the following year for all the months of the past year in which the basic premium had been paid. Payment is in itself sufficient; an explanation is not necessary.”
We recommend the Bayerische as an alternative to private pension insurance, since its service is considered by many to be better. Also: at the start of self-employment, it is better to pay the basic premium of 12.50 EUR so that insurance coverage is continued. As soon as business improves, it makes sense to pay more, since in addition to the mandatory pension one receives the retirement pension from the Bayerische.
After the transition period (see above), e.g., after 2016, it will most likely be possible to continue voluntary insurance coverage even after a partial payback.
Tel. 089/ 9235-7333 (insurance and service)
089/ 9235-7361 Mister Schulze (compensation, bonuses and health cost subsidies)
What are the prerequisites for joining the KSK?
Since 1983, self-employed artists and writers are included in mandatory social insurance via the Künstlersozialversicherung (KSK). The unique character: artists and writers only have to cover half of their premiums and thus have a status similar to regular employees. The other half of the premiums is covered by dues paid by art and publishing businesses (e.g., galleries, music schools, theaters, radio stations, advertising agencies, publishers), and financed by a federal subsidy.
Prerequisites: One must perform a self-employed activity in art or writing as an occupation (for the purpose of making a living). The notion of art is oriented towards typical careers. In borderline cases, the character of being an artist depends on whether the artist is considered to be such among relevant experts (identifiable, for example, in the membership in an art career association or mention in the press).
If the activity in the art/writing field is only part-time, then the KSK can only be applied to a limited degree or not at all.
Work income (income minus costs) must lie above the minimum limit of 325 € monthly/ 3,900 € a year.
Exceptions: In the first three years of a career, work income can be less. Also, occasional drops below the minimum amount (twice within a six-year period) do not end the coverage. A maximum of one person can be employed. Otherwise, the artist or writer would be in a position of an employer, and he or she would no longer require protection.
Insurance coverage with the KSK: The KSK is a part of mandatory social insurance and includes the fields of pension insurance, health insurance and nursing care insurance. The entire mandatory catalogue of services applies. What many artists or writers don’t know: as a self-employed person one can apply for sick pay, either after a six-week “waiting period” (normal case) or already after a two-week “waiting period” (so-called early sick pay, when applied for and for a higher premium).
Premiums: Insurance premiums are calculated from work income and from half of the premiums of the various insurance types as well as the mandatory additional premiums. At present, the premiums are at a level of 18-19% of net income. The premiums must be paid on a monthly basis.
Example: For a yearly income (net) of 12,000 € (1,000 per month), approximately 180 € to 190 € per month would have to be calculated as a premium.
Joining the KSK: Application forms can be ordered at the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK).
When turning in the forms, don’t forget to add the proof of activity (e.g., contracts, documents showing work performed, critiques, press). After the application has been turned in, the KSK determines whether the requirements of the KSK have been fulfilled. If all prerequisites are fulfilled, then the KSK legally determines the necessity of participation; the artists’ social insurance is a mandatory insurance! It registers you at a mandatory health insurance (e.g., AOK, Ersatzkasse, guild health insurance, company health insurance – one can remain at one’s previous health insurance) and pension insurance, and passes the premiums on to them. The artist/ writer informs the KSK, what level of premiums must be paid. To determine premiums, the KSK requests an “estimated annual work income” at registration and then annually.
What happens if you fail to register with the KSK?
Those who do not register with the KSK thus give away advantages that he or she are legally entitled to. In any case, the insurance begins with the first registration with the KSK, at the earliest. For the time period before the first registration with the KSK, no insurance coverage can be granted after the fact, and no premiums must be paid to the KSK.
Can KSK membership be suspended for a few months in the case of employment?
Unfortunately, this is not intended in the KSK. For every employment with social insurance from the employer, no matter how short, you have to leave the KSK and then join it again. For periods under six months, this is possible without filling out forms; in the case of longer employment, one must fill out all registration forms again.
Can you insure yourself privately?
Career beginners and higher earners have the possibility to exempt themselves from the mandatory insurance in order to join private health/nursing insurance. The KSK then offers a contribution. An exemption is not possible for pension insurance; mandatory insurance is necessary here.
Contact: Tel. 04421/ 973 405 1500; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Insurance for self-employed artists
Voluntary continued insurance within unemployment insurance
Since February 1st 2006, the Agentur für Arbeit has been offering a voluntary continued insurance within unemployment insurance. Those who work at least 15 hours a week in self-employment and live and work in a foreign country outside of the EU or in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland qualify to voluntarily continue their unemployment insurance. The period of voluntary insurance can be used later for a qualification for unemployment benefits.
PREREQUISITE: The insured person was subject to social insurance contributions for 12 months of the last two years or received unemployment benefits.
NEW REGULATIONS: Since June 1st 2006, the self-employed and those regularly employed in non-EU foreign countries can only then be included in the voluntary unemployment insurance if they began their activities after January 1st 2004.
The application for voluntary unemployment insurance must be turned in within one month of beginning self-employment.
JURISDICTION: Voluntary insurance can be applied for at a local office of the Agentur für Arbeit. The required forms are available there. Those who work in foreign countries must apply at the Agentur für Arbeit from his or her last place of residency. Voluntary insurance begins on the day when the application is turned in to the Agentur für Arbeit. The application must be turned in personally at the Agentur für Arbeit at your place of residence. A valid ID must also be shown.
The monthly premium in 2010 is:
- for the self-employed, 78,75 EUR (West) and 67,20 EUR (East)
- for those employed in foreign countries: 78,75 EUR. The insured person must pay the premium him- or herself and do so directly to the Agentur für Arbeit.
If one ceases working in self-employment or stops working in a foreign country and is unemployed, the period of voluntary insurance is counted as a period of being subject to social insurance contributions; this means that this can be used to qualify for unemployment benefits.