Established in 1983, the Artists' Social Insurance Fund (German: Künstlersozialkasse, or KSK) is one of its kind in Europe and at present time enables approx. 192,000 self-employed artists and publicists’ access to German social security plans such as their State Pension and their statutory medical-/ Long-Term Care insurances. Without KSK too many freelance artists and publicists are unable to afford these Safeguards, which should be available to everyone and regardless of their social class. Each and every bodies health now and financial security later, must always be imperative.
Contrary to rumours, KSK membership is not compulsory, tho’ the ideal solution for professional artists and journalists wanting to join the German social security system.
Social security contributions are divided between the member (50%), the federal government (20%) and companies that are subject to artists' social security contributions (30%). These monies are collected monthly from the members and companies and forwarded to the appropriate insurance providers. Thus, in principle, KSK fulfills the role of a regular employer and the member the of an employee.
As a member of KSK you are treated as an 'employee' rather than a freelancer/ self-employed and once accepted you will benefit from German social security insurances, i.e. their statutory pension scheme and statutory health insurance. Having chosen the health provider, medical and long-term-care insurances are then in place as from the date of acceptance and the monthly contributions are equally shared between the member and KSK.
Contributions towards the German social security insurances are based on annual earned income, which defined by profit determination rules within German Income-Tax-Law, is the difference between business revenue and business expense; to keep it simple- profit. Therefore KSK members must provide annual forecasts of their anticipated income and in the event of an audit will be asked to provide Profit & Loss Reports and/ or Tax Returns, supported by other acceptable documentation, such as: contracts, business proposals, orders, etc.
KSK contribution rates for 2021:
- Pension Insurance: 18.6%
- Medical Insurance:
- Fixed rate: 14.6% +
- Additional provider's fee (Ø 1.3%)
- Long-Term Care Insurance
- for people older than 22 and without children: 3.30%
- for people younger than 23 and with children: 3.05%
In 2020 the social security insurance contrubtion rates for the majority of KSK members was 18.38% of their income!
The often-lengthy period one must endure to finally receive for KSK's decision on approval, invariably produces concerns to those who in the meantime become in need of a residence permit. Although in certain cases the Foreigners' Office (Ausländerbehörde) grants extensions, this is indeed very much up to their policies and goodwill.
Another very important financial aspect people need to consider is that when the day does finally arrive in which KSK's acceptance letter is received, their new member is required to make back-payments on contributions towards the state pension scheme. The amount due in 2021 is 9.3% of the assessable income for both the "employee" (KSK member) and "employer "(KSK), totalling at 18.6%. Thus, having waited e.g. 8 months, based on 12,000€ assessable income the member will need to transfer 744€ (8 months x 93€) within 2 weeks of receiving KSK's approval letter.
As payments are on a percentage basis in conjunction with income, and although there are payment ceilings, having to contribute 9.3% of your income towards the German state pension scheme needs to be well thought about. Not only is this disadvantageous for those with higher income, but considering the minimum waiting period of 60 months it requires to become eligible, contributing towards a scheme one might never make use of, is an aspect that requires serious consideration.
For those with an income of less than 3,900 EUR per year, entering KSK is not possible, respectively membership will be cancelled. Exception: Those who have started their professional career are exempted for the first 3 years.
For a relatively small service-fee, we at ERICON broker will assist you from the very beginning to the day you read KSK's final decision notice and, if necessary, even beyond.
Our KSK service includes:
- Preliminary check, to assess that all requirements are fulfilled
- KSK application processing
- Collection of all necessary paperwork
- Submission of the application package
- Assistance during the corresponding phase, between applicant and KSK
- Post-Acceptance service during the members whole membership
- Appeal Procedures, including referral to associating solicitor
Should you prefer a "hands-off" application procedure, simply grant us authority to act and communicate on your behalf (Power of Attorney).
With a 100% success rate, you can sit back and let others do the work.
Thanks for your support!