Update on Phase 2 of the Hardship Fund (Härtefall-Fonds)

by | Apr 15, 2020

*Because this is an unofficial translation, provided purely to help people, please understand that the translation is not perfect. This is a convenience translation of the original German article available online. This information has been primarily extracted from the Chamber of Commerce’s (WKÖ) website (https://www.wko.at/service/haertefall-fonds-phase-2.html)


The WKÖ has just released further information about applications for support from the Hardship Fund (Härtefall-Fonds) | Phase 2

Emergency aid of up to 1,000 euros was provided during Phase 1 for self-employed people, and Phase 2 of the Hardship Fund (Härtefall-Fonds) will be initiated 20 April. The WKÖ reports that Phase this will allow significantly more entrepreneurs receive money from the Hardship Fund. The funding amount has been doubled to two billion euros.

As of 20 April, you can apply for subsidies using the online form at wko.at/haertefall-fonds. Applications for emergency aid for Phase 1 are still possible up to and including 17 April 2020.

Key information about the Hardship Fund during the second phase:

  • 14 April: An initial overview of Phase 2 of the Hardship Fund is available at wko.at/service/haertefall-fonds-phase-2.html. As soon as the detailed FAQs have been completed during the coming days, the site will be updated.
  • 16 April: As an orientation guide, we will provide a sample form online with information about the data required for the application.
  • 20 April: Start of the submission process for the Hardship Fund Phase 2.
  • The application for the Hardship Fund runs until 31 December 2020.

The most important changes:

For the group of persons entitled to apply (single-person entrepreneurs, micro-entrepreneurs, working partners with compulsory insurance, newly self-employed persons, freelancers, freelance professionals), the criteria have been extended and adapted as follows

  • Founders who founded their companies between 1 January and 15 March 2020 can apply for a lump sum.
  • In the future, upper- and lower-income limits will no longer apply (however, positive income from self-employment must be shown in the last available income tax assessment and, alternatively, a consideration of income earned over a 3-year period can bechosen).
  • Additional income is permitted, but this income is taken into account when calculating the allowance.
  • Multiple health and/or pension insurance coverage is permitted.
  • You must have compulsory insurance or voluntary insurance (new) within the framework of the statutory social insurance.

The “loss of earnings” (Verdienstentgang or net loss of income) can be compensated by a subsidy of up to 2,000 euros per month for a maximum of three months.

Together with the Corona-Relief Fund (Corona-Hilfs-Fonds), the Corona reduced-hours (Kurzarbeit) work program and federal loan guarantees and deferrals, the Hardship Fund supports local companies and their employees during this serious crisis. The Chamber of Commerce will continue to ensure that applications for this fund are processed as quickly as possible.

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