The Bbz benefit explained

Are you receiving social welfare benefits and would like to start your own business? Or are you an entrepreneur whose income falls below the level of social welfare assistance due to financial problems or the discontinuation of a business? Then you may be eligible for the Bbz benefit. In this article, Moneywood gives you an overview of how the Bbz benefit scheme can work for you.

Bbz benefit explained

What is a Bbz benefit?

Bbz stands for Decree on Social Assistance to the Self Employed. This scheme is designed to support welfare recipients if they want to start their own business or start working as a self-employed person. It’s worth noting that established entrepreneurs may also apply for the Bbz. There is also a special scheme for older self-employed persons with a non-viable business. Two types of assistance are available with the Bbz: a loan or a periodic payment.

Who is the Bbz for?

1. Start-up entrepreneurs

If you want to start a business on the basis of unemployment benefits or social welfare assistance, you can apply for the Bbz benefit. For you as a starter , there are four different forms of assistance available.

a. Periodic payment
A periodic payment from the Bbz is an interest-free loan, your municipality will determine at a later date whether the loan or part of it must be repaid. The loan is intended to supplement your business income or other income to provide for your living expenses. You are entitled to a periodic Bbz payment for a maximum of 36 months, but in special cases (medical or social reasons) this period can be extended. If you have any questions about the conditions for a Bbz periodic payment, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

b. Working capital
A second option for assistance as a starting entrepreneur is an interest-bearing loan of up to €45,670 (2024). This loan is intended to be used as working capital, enabling you to make investments if you do not have the capital yourself. This working capital is not a gift. The loan must be repaid with 8% interest per year (2024).

c. Reimbursement of counselling costs
If you're starting your own business, having expert guidance can be invaluable. Someone for instance who can assist you with all the administrative arrangements required when starting your own business or writing a Business plan.

d. Preparation period
The costs for the preparation period of your company can also be reimbursed by the municipality. Costs in the preparation period can include taking courses or doing market research for example. If you receive a benefit, you will continue to be entitled to this benefit. However, it is important that you are guided by an expert in these matters.

2. Existing entrepreneurs

If you are an existing entrepreneur and you are temporarily unable cover your own living expenses, you may be eligible for two types of benefit, namely: the periodic payment or the working capital loan. In order to be able to claim these forms of Bbz benefits, you must already be working as an entrepreneur and have a viable business. This means that you must prove you have generated enough income from your business, to cover your own living expenses in the past.

a. Periodic payment
Just like the benefit for starting entrepreneurs, this is an interest-free loan. Your municipality will determine at a later date, whether you have to repay the loan or a part of it. The duration of the periodic payment is usually 12 months. This period can be extended by 24 months.

b. Working capital
If, as an entrepreneur, you are not eligible for a loan from a bank and cannot obtain the funds for an investment in any other way, it is possible to obtain a loan through the Bbz. The maximum amount of the loan in 2024 is € 248,064. The interest rate on the loan will be 8% in 2024. You will be expected to repay the loan within 10 years.

3. Bbz for older entrepreneurs

 Have you been an entrepreneur for more than 10 years, were you born before 1960, do you meet the Hours criterion and is your income lower than The Assistance Standard? Then you may also be eligible for a Bbz benefit if your business is no longer viable.

Are you 55+ and are forced to sell your business because you don't generate enough income from it? In that case, the Income Provision for Older and Partially Incapacitated Former Self-Employed Persons Act (IOAZ) can offer support in these situations.

How do you arrange a Bbz benefit or loan?

You can apply for a Bbz benefit at the Social Services of the municipality where you live. On the basis of a legality test and a feasibility study, it will be decided whether your application will be honoured. If that is the case, the municipality will give the Bbz benefit as a temporary loan. Whether you have to repay the loan or a part thereof, will be determined at the end of the financial year.

    Conditions Bbz at a glance

* You are between 18 and 65 years old;

* You have your own business or intend to start a business on benefits;

* If you have your own business, do you meet the requirements of the Hours criterion for the Income Tax Act;

* It is not possible to obtain money through a bank or institution. You only have a chance of receiving a Bbz benefit if your application for a loan has been rejected.

Continue Reading

On this page the RVO explains (in Dutch) what the Bbz entails. Here you can find (in Dutch) complete information about the Bbz benefit from the central government.

Would you like more information about the possibilities for applying for a Bbz benefit? Please feel free to contact us, we can evaluate your situation and discuss the possibilities with you.