Aid programs for self-employed individuals, micro and small businesses, and freelancers


  • Short-time allowance: You need financial support to continue paying and employing your employees / trainees.
  • Basic income / Hartz IV: As a result of Corona you no longer have an income to ensure your subsistence and that of your family.
  • Tax relief: You want to reduce your expenses by deferring / postponing your tax prepayments.

November and December assistance: direct application

[Translate to English:] Solo-Selbständige, die bisher noch keinen Antrag auf Überbrückungshilfe gestellt haben, können mit einem Direktantrag in eigenem Namen bis max. 5000 Euro baentragen. Voraussetzung ist ein Elster-Zertifikat. Informationen und den Online-Zugang zum Antrag finden Sie hier oder wenden Sie sich bei Fragen an Ansprechpersonen in Ihrem Bundesland.

New start-up assistance can be applied for

All solo self-employed persons who started their self-employment before 1 May 2020 and who experience high turnover losses from January to June 2021 due to Corona can apply for the new start-up aid of max. 7,500 EURO. Information and online access to the application form can be found here or contact the person in your federal state.

Bridging aid III can be applied

Solo self-employed persons, freelancers, non-profit companies and organisations as well as companies with an annual turnover of max. 750 million euros that experience a turnover loss of at least 30 percent between November 2020 and June 2021 can receive subsidies of up to max. 1.5 million euros, depending on the amount of the loss. You can find the application here or contact persons in your federal state.

November aid extended: December aid

The November aid of the Federal Government is aimed at companies, businesses, self-employed persons, associations and institutions that had to cease business operations due to the decision of the Federal Government and the Federal States on October 28, 2020. Hotels are also eligible to apply. Also eligible to apply are companies that are indirectly strongly affected. Self-employed persons can submit the application directly.

The aid was extended for December.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with your contact person in your federal state.

Bridging Aid for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

The bridging aid for small and medium-sized enterprises will continue until December. New: also solo self-employed persons and freelancers can get the assistance and receive grants. The requirements have been lowered and the grants increased, with a maximum of 50,000 euros per month. Thus, companies can receive up to 200,000 euros for four months.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with your contact person in your federal state.

Aid programs from the Federal Government

KfW Quick loan: You can use the loan to finance your purchases and running costs. The loan is 100% secured by a Federal guarantee.

  • You have max.  50 employees, then you can apply for a loan of max.  500,000 Euro - but no more than 25% of your annual turnover in 2019.
  • You have max.  249 employees, then you can apply for a loan of max.  800,000 Euro - but no more than 25% of your annual turnover in 2019.

The interest rate is 3.00% per year over a term of 10 years, the first 2 years are without repayment. There is no risk assessment by your bank and KfW takes over 100% risk assumption. The prerequisite is that you have made a profit in 2019 or on average from 2017 to 2019. Important: In addition to the KfW quick loan, you can also use the aid provided by the Federal and State governments.
You can prepare your application here and view a video regarding the application.

KfW Entrepreneur loan: for companies that are older than 5 years. KfW assumes up to 90% of the risks for small and medium-sized businesses, the remaining risks have to be borne by the banks. The maximum amount is limited to 25% of the 2019 annual turnover or double the wage costs of 2019 or the financing requirements for the next 18 months or 50% of the total debt for loans over 25 million Euro. Applications can be submitted by companies with an annual turnover of up to 50 million Euro.

Further required documents can be found here:


ERP start-up loan universal: for companies that are younger than 5 years. KfW assumes up to 90% of the risks for small and medium-sized businesses, freelancers and start-ups and successors. The maximum amount is limited to 25% of the 2019 annual turnover or double the wage costs of 2019 or the financing requirements for the next 18 months or 50% of the total debt for loans over 25 million Euro. KfW does not carry out its own risk assessment for loans of up to 3 million Euro, and a simplified risk assessment is carried out for applications of up to 10 million Euro. Applications can be submitted by companies with an annual turnover of up to 50 million Euro.  

How to apply for the loans:

1. Contact your bank and make an appointment.

2. Your bank submits the loan application to KfW.

3. KfW checks all documents and makes a decision on the funding.

4. You conclude the loan agreement with your bank and then the bank allocates the funds.


Further required documents can be found here:


An overview of the interest rates of KfW.

Short-time allowance

You need financial support to continue paying and employing your employees / trainees.  

All businesses with at least one person who is subject to social security contributions can apply for short-time allowance. At least 10% of employees have to cut their gross wages by more than 10%. The Federal Employment Agency pays 67% of the net wages for employees who have at least one child and 60% of the net wages for employees without children. They will also be fully reimbursed for the social contributions for the lost working hours. The short-time allowance can be drawn for up to 12 months. Temporary workers are also entitled to a short-time allowance and can do short-time work. This also applies to trainees when the interruption of training is inevitable, for example when the business is closed. However, the full training allowance must continue to be paid for at least 6 weeks.

How to apply for the short-time work allowance:

1. First you have to register short-time work for your company with the Employment Agency. To do this, create an account in the “eServices” area on the Employment Agency website. You will find the form for the notification there. With the notification you attach an Agreement with the employee regarding short-time work.

2. You submit the application for short-time work allowance. The short-time allowance can only be granted at the earliest from the month, in which you notify the Employment Agency that you have lost work.

If you have to quit, speak to a legal advisor beforehand.

  • Employer hotline of the Federal Employment Agency: Tel.: 0800 45555 20


Warning: Please delete immediately! If you receive the request to apply for your short-time allowance at the email address:, this is an attempt to defraud. Delete it immediately!

Additional benefits from the Job Centres

As a result of Corona, you have less sales/income and need support/supplementary subsistence benefits for yourself and your family.  

You have less turnover / income and do not earn the minimum income to ensure your subsistence, then you can receive additional benefits from the Job Centre.

How to apply for additional benefits:  

1. Tell your Job Centre about the changes in your income.  

2. Fill out a preliminary EKS form.    

3. Explain in a short text, why you made less sales as a result of Corona and why you need additional benefits. Send the form to your Job Centre by post.

You can find the determination of your minimum income here.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with your contact person in your federal state.

Basic income / Hartz IV

You had to close your company / business and no longer make any money to ensure your subsistence and that of your family.  

If you have no unemployment insurance and can no longer ensure the subsistence for yourself (and your family), you can apply for basic income (Hartz IV). Fill out the form „Main application for subsistence benefits according to the Second Book of the Social Security Statute Code (SGB II)“ and submit the application to the Job Centre. 

If you have any questions, please get in touch with your contact person in your federal state.

Freelancers, self-employed individuals, small businesses (including cultural professionals)

You need aid as a result of lost work and income.

Borrowing: see aid programs from the Federal Government 

Creative professionals: You can receive one-time aid amounting to 250 Euro within the framework of the social allowances of the Society for the exploitation of performance rights (Gesellschaft zur Verwertung von Leistungsrechten - GVL). You can find the application here. Send the application with the declaration of consent to:

Short-time allowance: if you are a sole trader, you cannot receive a short-time allowance. Only self-employed persons with at least one employee subject to social security contributions can apply for the short-time allowance (see above).  

Unemployment benefit (ALG I): You receive unemployment benefit when you have unemployment insurance. You do not have to end your self-employment completely; you can continue to work up to 15 hours a week.

Additional benefits / Basic income (Hartz IV / ALG II): If you earn less or have no income, it is easier for you to receive ALG II subsistence benefits and to cover social security: a simplified means check applies for six months and the actual costs of accommodation and heating are recognised from the time the application is made. The benefits are initially granted for six months and self-employment does not have to be given up. For the child benefit extra, only the proof of the current income from the last month must be provided. You will receive the ALG II benefits retroactively maximum for the beginning of the month, so you should submit an informal application as soon as possible and then submit all documents.

You only fall under the basic income because you cannot pay the health insurance costs. Then you can receive a grant for health and nursing care insurance without falling under ALG II.

Consumer loans: You can postpone your payment obligations from consumer loans, which must be paid by 30 June 2020, by three months. If there is no common solution after 30 June 2020, you will have to make the payments again. However, the contract will be extended by three months so that you do not have to pay twice. The regulation applies until 30 June 2020.

Contracts: with concluded, ongoing contracts you, like the client, have to keep to the agreement. If you have not made any special arrangements, you can generally assume that the client will have to pay for the financial consequences when terminating a contract. However, this only applies if your contract does not contain any special regulations.  

Compensation as a result of quarantine: only with your own health insurance and subject to two conditions:  1. You have a corresponding optional tariff or daily benefits insurance and 2. You are on sick leave.

Exception: There is State compensation for self-employed individuals during an officially decreed quarantine. The amount of compensation is based on the average profit in 2019. You can also apply for funds for other non-covered business expenses (Application). You must apply for compensation within 3 months.

Social security: The contributions to the various social insurance schemes (including health, accident, pension and nursing care insurance) can be deferred or reduced.

Artists’ social security fund: Here you can submit a notification in a timely manner. You can find information in the news section of the Artists’ social security fund and there is also a form to change the contribution.

Statutory health insurance companies: If you are voluntarily insured and if you earn more than a quarter less than last year, you can apply to your health insurance company. Most of the time you need proof of a current advance payment notice from the Tax Office, which you have to apply for beforehand. Some companies allow a three-month period of grace during which the contribution can be reduced. However, you have to pay at least the minimum monthly contribution for health and nursing care insurance of around € 200.

Statutory pension insurance: You can lower the contribution, but it can take time. You have to prove that you earn 30% less than in your last tax assessment. If you present these documents, your contribution will be reduced.

Private health and pension insurance: You have to ask your insurance company whether a reduction is possible. But the insurance company decides for itself and not according to legal regulations.  

Reduce taxes: see under Tax relief.

Credit / loans from financial/credit institutions / foundations / other

Loan: the Volksbank in Ortenau offers companies, the self-employed and traders an instant loan of max. 100.000 Euro. The loan is exempt from repayment in the first year. To make an inquiry, you need a profit and loss account or an income surplus calculation for 2017/18 and information about your sales revenue in 2019. You can submit the application online. Before doing so, however, you should make a no-obligation inquiry and seek advice.  

Grant / Loan: Facebook is providing a total of 100 million US Dollars to approximately 30,000 companies worldwide that have been affected by the coronavirus. The basic requirements are: the business has between 2 and 50 employees, has existed for more than one year and is in the vicinity of a Facebook facility. You can find further information here.

Operating costs and rent payments

Operating costs: You want to reduce your expenses by reducing your operating costs. You can temporarily suspend “significant long-term obligations” such as  electricity or telecommunications if you cannot meet your obligations.

Rent payments / protection against eviction: You would like to reduce your expenses by deferring your rental payments.
Due to loss of income, you cannot pay your rent from 01 April to 30 June. Your landlord is not allowed to give notice to you for that reason! You do not have to provide any complicated proof. If you have a private landlord, make contact and clarify whether your landlord will allow you a delay in the rent.

Tax relief

You want to reduce your expenses by means of tax relief.

The Tax Offices can support you in the current situation:

Adjustment of ongoing advance payments

  • Your current advance payments for income tax or corporate tax will be adjusted. The same applies to the estimate amount for business tax purposes. Submit an  application to your Tax Office. You have to prove that your income has already decreased or will decrease. The decision on the application can take a long time, so you should at the same time submit an “application for interest-free technical deferral”, otherwise you will have to pay the original tax amount until your application is decided on.
  • In the case of income and corporate tax as well as sales tax, the enforcement of overdue tax debts up to 31.12.2020 is waived and accruing late payments are waived.
  • Similar measures apply to the energy and air traffic tax (Customs administration is responsible) as well as insurance and sales tax, if the Federal Central Tax Office manages it.

Deferral of tax payments

  • Your tax payments due are postponed (deferred). The deferral of the tax payment is free of interest and the application can be submitted to your Tax Office until 31 December 2020. You must justify that you are affected by Corona. This has an impact on your income and corporate tax as well as sales tax.


Contact your Tax Office immediately.

Information from the Federal Ministry of Finance: Annex

Social security contributions

You would like to reduce your expenses by deferring / postponing or reducing your contributions.

You can defer (postpone) your social security contributions.

The requirements are:

    • in spite of this help, your employees have suffered a considerable loss of wages.

As proof, a declaration that you have significant sales losses due to Corona is sufficient. Specifically, this means: The contributions due for March and April 2020 can be deferred, reminder fees or late payment surcharges no longer apply. In special cases, enforcement measures can also be waived in the event of arrears or due contributions. If your application is granted, then your contributions for health and nursing care for voluntarily health insured employees will also be deferred (Central association of health insurance companies).

You are a self-employed individual. Before deferral, you have to check whether a reduction in your contribution helps. For this purpose, the health insurance company can also accept credible statements from you about significant losses in sales and have them apply.

Find out from your health insurance company, for example, the AOK if they will accept this recommendation.

You employ seasonal workers. These are now 115 instead of 70 working days free of social security. In addition, the amount of additional income for early retirees will be increased to 44,590 Euro by the end of 2020 and the allowances for employees who receive short-time allowance will also be increased: Additional income up to the amount of the actual net wage will not be taken into account (until October 2020).

Contributions to private insurance

You can reduce your expenses by an expansion of Coverage.

Some insurance companies are expanding the scope of their policies and want to accommodate their customers.  For example, children can be insured for accidents at home without additional costs or the driver group can be expanded for car insurance. If you have payment difficulties, some insurance companies also offer a deferral of contributions. Such insurance companies include among others Allianz or Generali. Ask your insurance company about the options you have.

Contact persons

A list of contact persons can be found on the respective pages of your Bundesland.