Due to the amendment of the social security law with the ASRÄG in 1997, all self-employed workers – and thus also artists – were included in a statutory social insurance system. Therefore, on December 29th 2000 the Künstler-Sozialversicherungsfonds (KSVF) has been established in order to support artists, which are now insured under the Gewerblichen Sozialversicherungsgesetz (GSVG) at the Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Selbständigen (SVS), to pay their insurance bills (Subsidy for compulsory insurance).
In recent years, the agenda of the KSVF (§ 4 K-SVFG) has been expanded several times and now includes subsidies to pension, health and accident insurance contributions (Beitragszuschuss), the processing of temporary suspension of artistic activity (Ruhendmeldung), the granting of aid in exceptional cases of hardship (Unterstützungsfonds) and the granting of aid to cushion the loss of income due to the outbreak of Covid-19 (Covid-19 Fonds).
In order to receive a subsidy or any kind of support from the KSVF, the legal definition of „artist“ according to § 2 K-SVFG must be fulfilled: An artist is someone who, in the fields of the visual arts, the performing arts, music, literature, film and media arts or in more contemporary fields of the arts
Both requirements must be fulfilled.
§ 2 K-SVFG: „Künstlerin/Künstler im Sinne dieses Bundesgesetzes ist, wer in den Bereichen der bildenden Kunst, der darstellenden Kunst, der Musik, der Literatur, der Filmkunst oder in einer der zeitgenössischen Ausformungen der Bereiche der Kunst im Rahmen einer künstlerischen Tätigkeit Werke der Kunst schafft.“
To verify this, the KSVF will obtain an expert opinion prepared by a committee consisting of representative bodies. This committee is divided into several curia form the respective fields of art and composed of five expert members consisting of interest groups for artists (Interessensvertretungen) or collecting societies (Verwertungsgesellschaften) in addition to a chairman from the Ministry of Culture.
However, in case of granting aid to artists in exceptional cases of hardship as well as granting aid in connection with the outbreak of Covid-19, this decision is taken by an advisory board (Beirat). This board consists of two expert representatives of interest groups for artists, one member of the Ministry of Culture and a chairman from the KSVF.
Since its establishment, the KSVF has supported about 12.900 artists with a subsidy, 7.100 artists within the Unterstützungsfonds and the Covid-19-Fond (since 2015/2020) and 1.665 artist have reported the temporarily suspension of their artistic activity (since 2011).
Self-employed Artists who are registered for compulsory insurance and who meet the legal requirements mentioned below, are entitled to receive a subsidy towards their pension insurance contributions (and since 2008, in cases where the maximum subsidy for pension insurance contribution has not been fully exhausted, also towards their health and, where applicable, accident insurance contributions) from the KSVF. As of 2018, the subsidy is up to EUR 158 per month/EUR 1.896 per year.
The KSVF provides subsidies for the social security contributions that Artists would otherwise have to pay themself to the Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Selbständigen (SVS). Only the SVS is responsible for the social insurance. (Detailed) matters regarding social security must therefore be clarified with the SVS. The KSVF is no social security institution.
Requirements for receiving a subsidy are:
All five requirements must be met. The application can be submitted retroactively for four calendar years (e.g. in calendar year 2023 also for calendar years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022).
The subsidy is not disbursed to the artist, but transferred directly to the Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Selbständigen (SVS). It is then taken into account in the calculation of insurance contributions made by the SVS.
In the past artists have often lost the entitlement to a subsidy in particular because they did not exceed the minimum threshold (on average 15 % per year; 2001-2013). Two legislative amendments (2008 and 2015) were undertaken as a reaction to these issues in order to improve the situation for the artists. In 2011 the law set up the KünstlerInnensozialversicherungs-Strukturgesetz which has had two results: On the one hand a service centre for artists that offers advice and support for social-security issues has been established at the Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Selbständigen. The second change concerns the opportunity for artists to register their self-employed activity and the compulsory insurance resulting from it as being idle, so that they have access to benefits from unemployment insurance (Ruhendmeldung).
In 2015 the law was amended again: Since 2014 artists can reach the minimum threshold with their revenues (before the threshold had to be reached with the profit= surplus of operating revenue over operating expenses), including up to 50% profit or self-employed revenue from secondary artistic activity (künstlerische Nebentätigkeiten) like teaching, art mediation, art interpretation etc. A three-year reference period is possible and five bonus years are conceded, during which a subsidy can be received without a repayment obligation, even if the minimum threshold is not reached.
In the years 2018 to 2022, an average of 5.000 artists received a subsidy. In 2022 the KSVF transferred about EUR 9.150.000 to the Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Selbständigen (SVS), since 2001 approximately EUR 145.100.000.
Since 2015, the KSVF has also been able to grant aid for assistance in exceptional cases of hardship (Unterstützungsfonds). Hereby a maximum of EUR 5.000 may be granted per application. Within five years, a maximum total of EUR 12.500 per person will be paid out. Applications can be submitted by employed or self-employed artists, who meet the legal term according to § 2 K-SVFG and whose principal residence is in Austria for at least the past six months.
Until February 2022, 222 artists have been granted aid from the support fund. The total amount of aid for assistance in exceptional cases of Hardship granted is EUR 913.000.
From March 2020 until July 2022 the Covid-19 Fund of the KSVF was aimed at artists and cultural educators to cushion the loss of revenue due to the pandemic.
Applications could have been submitted by artists (regardless of social security or employment status) or cultural educators, who meet the legal term according to § 2 K-SVFG and whose principal residence is in Austria since January 1st of 2021.
Until Juli 31st 2022, 6.876 artists have received aid from the Covid-19 Fund. The Fund therefore disbursed approximately EUR 35.000.000.
The KSVF collects levies from commercial operators of cable broadcasting stations and the sellers/lessors of equipment intended to receive broadcasts via satellite (such as set-top boxes, televisions with DVB-S tuners, etc.) to fund the allowances and grant-system (Unterstützungsfonds).
Other means of financing are currently repayments of subsidies and other returns as well as interest income.
Although a federal subsidy is provided by law, it is currently not required due to the financial resources.
The Covid-19 Fund was funded by the Federal Ministry of Finance, with a current budget of EUR 50.000.000 (Covid-19 - Krisenbewältigungsfonds).
Please keep in mind: As our proceedings are based on federal law, all conversation with the KSVF will be held in German, which is the official language in Austria. Thank you for understanding.