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Factsheet for measure DE-2020-13/404 Updated – measures in Germany

Basic income support for solo self-employed

Grundsicherung für Solo-Selbstständige

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 23 March 2020 – 31 December 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Extensions of income support to workers not covered by any kind of protection scheme
Author Sandra Vogel (IW)
Measure added 09 April 2020 (updated 27 February 2023)

Background information

The German Federal Government decided to ease up rules for basic income support for solo-self employed persons. Usually, basic income support is only available for persons in need looking for work. As many orders and engagements of solo self-employed persons were cancelled, the basic income scheme was opened for new target groups, such as solo self-employed persons temporarily out of orders/work. This measure is part of a broader rescue package adopted by the government at the end of March 2020, in order to help out German business, freelancers and micro entrepreneurs. The whole package consists of reducing tax burdens, easier access to loans, start-up support, lowering companies personnel costs by improved short-time working scheme and other financial help for solo- or micro entrepreneurs.

Content of measure

The German Federal Government eased rules for basic income support, in order to help solo self-employed persons to get through the crisis. As it is hard to find new work for solo self-employed and free lancers and many of their jobs are cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government opened up the basic income scheme. The new scheme also includes groups that are not truly looking for a new job, but are only temporarily out of business, such as solo self-employed. Applicants for basic income support working as solo self-employed will not have to make any statements on their financial assets and will also not have to tap these assets within the next six months, before being granted basic income support. With the basic income support, they should be able to pay rent or finance their housing. The new rules also provide that application will be provisionally approved and the usual means-testing will be conducted later. In this way, the government hopes to facilitate easier and faster access to these grants.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

26 January 2023

The measure was not prolonged as such. However, at the beginning of 2023, the newly created citizen's benefit took effect, easing rules for receiving basic income in general.

20 May 2022

Due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, eased rules for basic income support were prologned until the end of 2022.

24 November 2021

At the end of November 2021, the programme period for the basic income support for solo self-employed was extended to the end of March 2022.

01 April 2021

On 1 April 2021, the social protection act III took effect. The also includes a one-off payment worth €150. The one-off payment was paid to all eligible participants in the basic income-support scheme for solo-self employed in May 2021. The payment is meant to help recipients with the rising living costs incurred by the pandemic and covers the first half of 2021.

30 March 2021

At the end of March 2021, the Federal Employment Agency announced that the basic income support for solo self-employed will remain open until the end of 2021.

07 January 2021

At the beginning of November 2020, the Federal Government issued another aid package after announcing a partial lockdown in Germany. As part of the package, new rules on eased access to basic income support for solo self-employed were prolonged until 31 March 2021.

08 October 2020

In early September 2020, the Federal Government extended the Social Protection Act 1 until 31 December 2020. This includes basic income support for solo self-employed.

Use of measure

No information to date. The Federal Employment Agency provides data on basic income support. However, this data cannot be broken down to identify solo self-employed persons receiving grants from the new scheme.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
One person or microenterprises
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Public employment service
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


German social partners (employer and union representatives as well as public body representatives) sit on the board of the Federal Employment Agency that manages the funds of the basic income support scheme. Board members decide on the strategic goals of the Federal Agency, its budget and are also responsible for issuing orders.

Views and reactions

The Confederation of German Employers' Association (BDA) and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) jointly welcomed the crisis package adopted by the Federal Government in spring 2020.



Eurofound (2020), Basic income support for solo self-employed, measure DE-2020-13/404 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.