Many social benefits are generally designed based on having a permanent job with an employer. For artists, who are often freelancers with fluctuating, hybrid incomes, the rules for health and parental insurance are more complicated.
Sickness benefit-qualifying income
The compensation you are entitled to if you become a parent or become ill is based on your income. The part of your income on which your sickness or parental benefit is based is called the sickness benefit-qualifying income (Sjukpenninggrundande inkomst or SGI). It is related to your income and thus indirectly to what you pay in taxes.
The level depends on how much you earn, as your qualifying income is calculated on your income from your salary or from your sole trader company. In order to receive a sickness or parental benefit, you must be unable to work and lose income because of it.
If you are an employee
If you are an employee, this compensation is based on your future estimated earnings based on the monthly information submitted by your employer. This also applies if you run your own limited liability company or an association together with others and receive a salary. As an employee, your qualifying income is determined by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) based on your estimated annual earned income, i.e. your total salary before tax. Your qualifying income must be based on the remuneration for work performed that you are expected to receive in the coming year.
If you have your own sole trader company
If you have a sole trader company, this compensation is based on the information you submit in your income tax return to the Swedish Tax Agency. It is important that you have taxable income in order to receive sickness and parental benefits and a future pension.
Net taxable income is the sum of your company’s profit after deducting fees, expenses and provisions – but before tax. In its assessment, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency can also take into account previous years assessed net taxable income.
Qualifying period refers to the days at the beginning of a sick leave when you are not paid. As a self-employed person, you can choose how many qualifying days you want. If you do not make an active choice, you automatically have 7 qualifying days.
Note: If you are sick for more than 14 days, as a self-employed person you must inform the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, which will assess whether you are entitled to receive a sickness benefit.
If you have your own limited liability company
If you have a limited liability company, it is your company that pays sick pay during the first 14 days of illness. Sick pay is 80 percent of your salary. The same qualifying period applies as for other employees.
If you are a hybrid entrepreneur
A hybrid entrepreneur is someone who runs a business alongside being employed at another job. When the Swedish Social Insurance Agency calculates your sickness benefit-qualifying income, they look at both your salary and your company’s profit after deductions and before tax. In order to receive the sickness benefit, you must fill in an application and submit it to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.
However, according to the rules, you must either have income from employment for six consecutive months or annually recurring in order to count the income as the basis for qualifying for a sickness benefit. This can be difficult for artists, who often have short, irregular assignments and employment.
The parental benefit serves as insurance against the loss of income and provides basic coverage. It enables parents to receive financial compensation for taking care of their children at home. The parental benefit amount depends on how many parents share the days and whether there was a multiple birth (twins, etc.).
If you do not have an income or have earned less than SEK 117,590 in one year, you will receive SEK 250 per day at the sickness benefit level. This corresponds to approximately SEK 7,500 per month.
Unemployment insurance can provide you with financial support for a limited period of time while you are looking for jobs and commissions. This is important for artists to know since they often have short-term employment and sole proprietorships.
Housing allowances and housing supplements
If you are under the age of 29 or have children living with you, you might be entitled to receive a housing allowance. The amount of the allowance partly depends on your income and expenses. A housing supplement is a tax-exempt supplement for people who have a low pension.
If you have your own business, or combine a business with employment, you need to think a little more about your future retirement and often supplement your pension with your own savings.
Taxes, tax returns and social security
Professional artists often have different types of income, such as income from employment, from business activities or from hobby activities. Click to learn how to declare your income and pay taxes.