The ‘Artists Status’ is a generalistic container expression for 5 rules in the unemployment benefit system (UBS). Five rules out of 180 existing rules in the UBS that make a world of difference for artists. The Artists Status, a 'simple' stepbystep plan here below.
STEP 1  Admissibility
salary per task
Temporary measure until 31/12/2021, extension of reference period
Alternative reference period: past professional career
Amount of the unemployment benefit fee
Abroad
Vzw (ASBL) / nonprofit organisation
STEP 2  Neutralization rule
Return to the first period
STEP 3  Extension of the Neutralizaton Rule
STEP 4 – NAJO
STEP 5  income NOT wages & author’s rights
STEP 6  CUMULATION with per task salary
FYI: There is a new artists status in the making. The explanation here below concerns still the current system.
First step is to prove your entrance to the system, which is the unemployment benefit system. For this you need to prove 312 working days (or more depending on age) in een referral period of 21 months.
There is an alternative which will look into the 10 years before and check how many working days (as an employee) you did.
You can also use the cachet calculation. This alternative will not look at the real working days but the amount of bruto salary IF the contracts were ‘per task’
After proving this 'toelaatbaarheid'/admissibility, you are in the highest period. To avoid descending after 12 months, you can prove the so called Neutralisation rule.
> For this at the end of the first period of the UBF (Unemployment Benefit Fee), you have to prove 156 days of which 104 artistic days at least.
The referral period for this is 18 months, counting back from the end of the 1st period of the UBF (unemployment Benefit)
So 6 months of the referral period count to prove this. So possibly a part of the days you have to prove, you will already be able to prove.
> As a member of Artists United we can help you with this! :)
Artists can also prove this via a so called ‘salary per task’
Temporary measure until 31/12/2021, extension of reference period
Measure applying to any demand for unemployment benefit as a fulltime worker from 1 April 2021 to 31 December 2021: longer reference period
Decree of 9 June 2021 on certain unemployment measures
To be eligible for full time unemployment benefits, a worker must normally prove a period of paid work within a reference period.
This depends on the worker's age at the time of application for the benefit.
With this new measure, the reference period is extended by 12 months, so that the worker has a longer period to accumulate the required number of days of paid work.
The table thus looks as follows:
Age at the date of applying for unemployment

Number of days of paid work to be proved 
under 36 years of age 
312 days (= 12 months) in the 33 months (instead of 21) preceding the application 
from 36 to 49 years 
468 days ( = 18 months) in the 45 months (instead of 33) preceding the application 
from 36 to 49 years 
624 days ( = 24 months) in the 54 months (instead of 42) preceding the application 
Attention! This measure is valid for every application for unemployment benefits as a fulltime employee from 1 April 2021 to 31 December 2021.
Do not hesitate to apply if you think you have the necessary working days with the extended reference period.
Alternative reference periode: past professional career
A. Under 36 years old, number of working days required
312 days during 21 months prior to the application
or 468 days during 33 months prior to the application
or 624 working days during 42 months prior to the application.
B. From 36 to 49 years old, number of working days required:
468 days during 33 months prior to the application
or 624 working days during 42 months prior to the application.
Additional options:
234 days during 33 months + 1,560 days during the 10 years preceding these 33 months;
or 312 days during 33 months + for any day missing to get to 468 days, 8 days during the 10 years preceding these 33 months.
C. From 50 years, number of working days required:
624 working days during 42 months prior to the application.
Additional options:
312 days during the 42 months preceding your application and 1,560 days during the 10 years preceding these 42 months;
or 416 days during 42 months + for each day missing to get to 624 days, 8 days during the 10 years preceding these 42 months.
Amount of the unemployment benefit fee, 2 options
Abroad
Please note: if you were working abroad, you must then work in Belgium for 13 weeks/3 months (this used to be 1 day, but this condition has been aggravated) before being able to apply for an unemployment benefit fee.
Except if you had retained your normal residence in Belgium. For example you were a ‘frontier worker’. (You come back daily or at least weekly).
No 3 months:
A. if you have worked (and were subject to) your employment in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, while maintaining your habitual residence (also known as the "center of your interests") in Belgium:
 or you are a frontier worker, meaning: you return daily, at least weekly;
 or you are temporarily staying in the other country; you return after your employment has ended; upon return you can still have your foreign periods taken into account immediately. If you choose to apply for benefits first and look for work there, you must first exhaust your entitlement to export benefits.
B. if you were employed abroad as a seconded wage earner (since this is Belgian work in the field of social security).
Vzw (ASBL) / nonprofit organisation
Beware of being a board member of a nonprofit organization: you are allowed to be a board member of a nonprofit organization for your own limited artistic activity. However, there is a very restrictive interpretation. We therefore advise against being a board member of a nonprofit organization and only a member of the General Assembly.
Artists United has pleaded for some time to abandon this restrictive interpretation and to make it possible for artists to sit on the board of directors a an artistic nonprofit organization.
Have you descended to the second period? Return to the first period
you can return to the first period. The parameter is the same as for the Benefit Rule: Proving 156 days (of which at least 104 are artistic). Then you return to the first period. At the end of that first period you can try again to prove the Benefit Rule.
Extension of the Benefit Rule / Neutralization Rule: you can extend the Benefit Rule with 3 artistic performances / days. If at the end of the previously extended period (see step 2) you can prove that you have done at least 3 artistic days / performances, your period will be extended again by 12 months.
This can be extended year after year.
What if I also do nonartistic work?
Beware with income not equal to wage such as income as an independent worker. That can cause your benefit fee to descend or even to have to pay back your benefit fee.
STEP 6  CUMULATION with per task salary
If you are already entitled to an UBF (Unemployment Benefit Fee) / have the 'artist status', be careful with the cumulation calculation (art. 48bis). This cumulation calculation uses a very unfortunate parameter amount: the amount is lower than a normal sector wage!
You can keep in check the consequences of the cumulation calculation yourself by looking for a balance between gross salary and expenses (and the number of days that you indicate for this assignment).
If your gross per task salary is at least equal to or more than 70,86 (index 01/05/2022), you prove at least 1 day in the 'artists status'.
The parameter for the cumulative calculation is 106,29 € (index 01/05/2022). The calculation is however more complicated and more advantageous than stating that if you have more than 106,29 € per day of per task salary, your UBF will be affected:
Formula & examples
[YA  (C x Y )/Y
YA: gross salary for the activity that is subject to the NSSO
C: number of activity days mentioned on the control card as a result of the employment contract or the activity subject to social security
Y: 106,29 (index 01/05/2022)
Example 1: You worked 1 day for which you earned 200 € gross. You subject that income to social security (article 1bis). You have deleted 1 working day on your control card. That fee corresponds to a nonreimbursable calendar period calculated as follows:
[180(1 x 106,29) / 106,29 = 0.88 days, rounded off to 0 days
The nonreimbursable period is therefore 0 days
Example 2: You worked 1 day for which you earned €250 gross. On your control card you have deleted 1 working day. That fee corresponds to an unreimbursable calendar period calculated as follows:
[200(1 x 106,29) / 106,29 = 1.35 days, rounded up to 1 day
The nonreimbursable period is therefore 1 day
Example 3: You worked 2 days for which you earned €400 gross. On your control card you have deleted 2 working days.
That fee corresponds to an unreimbursable calendar period calculated as follows:
[400(2 x 106,29)] / 106,29 = 1,76 days, rounded off to 1 day
The nonreimbursable period is therefore 1 day
The more expenses, the higher the net amount (which reduces the gross pay) .
Conversely: The higher the gross salary/task, the lower the net amount, but the more days you prove in the 'Artists status'.
 For example, when you still have to prove your benefit rule;
 the more days you prove, the easier you can protect yourself against a NAJA, nonartistic job offer where the parameter is 156 days (of which at least 104 are artistic) which you have to be able to prove every time when a nonartistic job offer is made. The VDAB is clearly working on a more active followup of artists with regard to this rule these last months and weeks.
So it is often a matter of finding a balance for you as an artist between proving sufficient working days (and thus sufficient bruto salary) and between having sufficient net amount left over. Within the legal and fiscal possibilities, you can choose whether or not to fill in the kilometres under 'kilometre compensation'. Likewise, one can or cannot opt for a meal allowance for each day if indicated. These things increase the net amount and decrease the gross amount.
Depending on your situation and the objective to be achieved (e.g. in connection with the 'artists status'), you are therefore copilot of the assignment you enter and you can make a number of choices.
DO bear in mind that the lower the gross salary, the less social contributions you make. This can have an impact on your social security such as your status and pension.
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