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Starting a business with an occupational disability

This information is provided by:Employee Insurance Agency, UWVEmployee Insurance Agency, UWVNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKStatistics Netherlands, CBSStatistics Netherlands, CBSNederlandse versie

You can start your own business with an occupational disability, or limitation. Do you receive benefits under the Dutch Invalidity Insurance (Young Disabled Persons) Act (Wajong), Work and Income (Capacity for Work) Act (WIA), Invalidity Insurance Act (WAO), Invalidity Insurance (Self-Employed Persons) Act (WAZ), or Sickness Benefits Act? Then the Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV) will help you set up your own business. Discuss your plans with your job coach first. Check if you are eligible for a starter credit, allowances, or a supplement to your income. Here are the steps you need to know and arrange.

1.Discuss your plans with UWV

Have you been declared unfit for work, but are you thinking about starting your own company? With an occupational limitation, you can look for employment that matches that disability. But starting your own business with a disability is also an option. As a self-employed professional (freelancer, zzp’er), you can organise your work yourself and attune it to your limitations. Discuss this first with a UWV job coach. Together you assess the possibilities. You make agreements about the process and the conditions.

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. A good tool to check this is making a business plan. In this plan, you also make clear how much money you need to start.

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 in various ways. Not only with a loan, but also 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 € 36,762. 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 help 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 and report to the Tax and Customs Administration

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 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 hours criterion. This means that you spend at least 800 hours per year on your business. 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 and Customs Administration. UWV and the Tax and Customs Administration will compare the statements afterwards. You must repay any excess benefit to the UWV.

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. You may then receive your old disability benefit.

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