Belgium’s Council of Ministers on Friday adopted two “Jobsdeal” measures related to the self-employed, the ministers for Social Affairs and the Self-Employed, Maggie De Block and Denis Ducarme, announced. The first royal decree enables self-employed persons who pursue their professional activity beyond the legal retirement age to be eligible for disability benefits, which was hitherto not the case. In fact, such workers lost their eligibility for benefits from the first day of the quarter in which they attained the age of 65 and were refused disability benefits from the first day of the month after they reached 65.
To encourage people to continue working beyond retirement age, the decree grants those who have passed that age the right to disability allowances during the first six months of primary disability if they are full-time employees and have not yet received their retirement pensions. The measure will take effect from 1 January 2019.
The second decree has to do with maternity allowances for self-employed workers and assisting spouses. The existing mechanism of payment deadlines sometimes delayed the payment of benefits. The text approved on Friday allows for other modes of payment. In this way, from 2019 onward, self-employed persons will receive their maternity allowances on a monthly basis and not at the end of their maternity leave, which left them without income for months on end. This decree will apply to all maternity leave starting 1 January 2019.