Starting a business with an occupational disability

Published by:
Employee Insurance Agency, UWV
Employee Insurance Agency, UWV
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Statistics Netherlands, CBS
Statistics Netherlands, CBS

Do you have an occupational disability or are you (partially) disabled? And do you want to start a business? You can do so with benefits under the Wajong, WIA, WAO, WAZ or Sickness Benefits Act. The Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV) will help you set up your own business. Here are the steps you need to know and arrange.

1.Discuss your plans with UWV

Are you receiving benefits from UWV and want to start your own business? If so, discuss your plans with a UWV employment expert first. Together, you will look at what is possible. And whether your own business is right for you. You make agreements about the steps to follow to become an entrepreneur. And about the activities and conditions. For example, about deducting the income from your business from your benefit.

2. Examine the opportunities of your plan

Before starting your own business with a disability, first research if your plan has a chance of success. For example, think about:

A good tool to help with this, is a business plan. In this plan, you also make clear how much money you need to get started.

3. Whether or not to start as a zzp’er with an occupational disability

Discuss the outcome of your plan with your job coach. Decide whether or not to start your own business as an occupationally disabled professional. Do you want to go ahead with your plans? Then continue with the following steps. If you decide it is not for you after all, nothing will change. You will continue to receive your current benefit.

4. Check if you can get financial support

You have finalised your plans. So, you know how much money you need to start your business. Are you unable to borrow money through a bank or other financiers? Then UWV can help you with a loan, and with reimbursements for tools and devices related to your disability. These are the options:

  • Starter’s credit (in Dutch): This is a loan if the amount is less than € 44.694. You pay interest on this loan, and you may take a maximum of 10 years to repay it. Read more about the conditions.
  • Preparation credit (voorbereidingskrediet, in Dutch): This allows you to declare costs incurred during your preparation. For example, for visiting business events or recruiting customers.
  • Reimbursements (vergoedingen, in Dutch): Suppose you need tools or devices when you start. For example, adjustments in your car or an adapted office chair. Then you can receive a reimbursement or scheme from the UWV.
  • Other options through UWV (in Dutch): Once you have started your business, you may be able to supplement your income. This is possible for a maximum of the first 4 years of your entrepreneurship.

5. Register with KVK

When starting a business, you must first register your company in the Business Register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce. They arrange your registration with the Netherlands Tax Administration. You will pay tax on the income from your business.

6. Apply for the starter's deduction in the event of disability

You may be eligible for tax relief for starters with an occupational disability (Startersaftrek bij arbeidsongeschiktheid, in Dutch). You then pay less income tax. To be eligible, you must meet the reduced hours criterion (in Dutch). This means that you spend at least 800 hours per year on your business. You must keep track of these hours for the Netherlands Tax Administration. These are all the hours you work for your business. So also hours for looking for clients, bookkeeping, studying or consulting with financiers, for example. And you must be an entrepreneur for income tax purposes.

7. Pass on your income to UWV and the Tax Administration

Your income from your own business has consequences for your benefit. That is why you must always report the income to UWV (in Dutch). For example, do you have a WIA benefit and do you make a profit with your company? In that case, UWV will deduct this income from your WIA benefit. Depending on your income, you will receive less or no benefit.

You must also report your income (in Dutch) to the Tax Administration. UWV and the Tax Administration will compare the statements afterwards. You must repay any excess benefit to the UWV.

Annual assessment of your benefit

Each year, the UWV determines your benefit for the previous year. To do this, they use the profit numbers they receive from the Tax Administration. This way, UWV wants to prevent you from having to pay back a lot of money later. Did you receive too much? If so, you will pay back the excess amount immediately. Did you receive too little? Then you will receive the amount still to be received as soon as possible. After 5 years, the UWV will take a final look at the consequences for your benefit (in Dutch). And whether it must be adjusted. For this, UWV looks at the profit over the past 3 years.

8. Comply with your benefits obligations

You must comply with the obligations as long as you receive benefits. Even now that you are self-employed. The UWV determines if you are still entitled to a benefit, the amount, and the period. Check the obligations for one of the following benefits:

9. Income supplementation to offset your lower income

If you continue your business part-time or full-time, this will affect your benefits. You can now provide your own income. As a result, you may receive less or no benefit at all. Is your income less? Then you can apply for a supplementary benefit to partially offset your lower income. This benefit is called income supplementation (inkomenssuppletie, in Dutch).

10. Ending your business? Report to the UWV

Is running your own company not feasible due to your disability and do you decide to stop? In that case, report to your job coach. Show that you have taken the necessary steps to end your business. For example, you have:

  • removed your business's website
  • deregistered you from the KVK and deregistered as an entrepreneur from the Tax Administration
  • ended your business insurance

You may then receive your old disability benefit.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact Employee Insurance Agency, UWV