Support for persons with special needs and/or specific limitations

Nursing allowance

The amount of nursing allowance depends on the nursing need. There are seven levels. The eligibility criterion is a nursing need of more than 65 hours per month; additional criteria apply starting from level 5. Minimum classifications apply to certain groups of persons needing nursing care (e.g. for blind persons or persons who rely on a wheelchair for independent living due to a specific illness).

An additional hourly rate has been introduced on 1 January 2009 (hardship supplement) to take into account the extended nursing need of severely disabled children and adolescents (up to 7 and 15 years, respectively) and persons with severe mental or psychological disabilities, in particular dementia (older than 15 years of age).

Detailed information on the nursing allowance at

https://www.pensionsversicherung.at/cdscontent/?contentid=10007.707701&portal=pvaportal&viewmode=content

Nursing allowance and additional earnings

In general terms, the disbursement of nursing allowance is not affected if the person takes up (minimal) employment, as the entitlement to receive nursing allowance is independent of a person’s income or assets.

https://www.oeziv.org/rechtsdatenbank/aus-der-praxis/pflegegeld-erwerbseinkommen/

This means that artists receiving nursing allowance are generally allowed to generate earnings or additional earnings from artistic activities without their nursing allowance being cut.

Needs-based minimum benefit (“Bedarfsorientierte Mindestsicherung”)

The Federal Basic Act on Social Welfare (Sozialhilfe-Grundsatzgesetz des Bundes) took effect on 1 June 2019 and needs to be spelled out in implementing legislation by the laender. The laender were given a deadline until the end of 2019 to enact such implementing legislation.

The current laws on minimum benefits in the different laender are in force until the new implementing legislation takes effect.

More on the new social benefit regime at https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/soziales/armut

Needs-based minimum benefit regulations currently in force

Amount of the needs-based minimum benefit: paid out in 12 annual instalments. The standard rates applicable in the different laender are shown on the websites of the laender governments. 

Needs-based minimum benefit generally covers: subsistence; housing; health insurance: uninsured beneficiaries will be registered for statutory health insurance.

Offset of income and assets: before needs-based minimum benefits can be claimed, the beneficiaries must, with few exceptions, use their own income and assets.

 Exemptions e.g.:

  • allowance for some assets, the amount of which will be set by the respective land,
  • real estate needed to cover one’s housing need; after a 6-month period of grace, a land register entry will be made as security;
  • motor vehicles required for professional purposes or on account of special circumstances (e.g. due to a disability or lack of infrastructure);
  • objects needed for occupational activities, household chattels;
  • nursing allowance or similar benefits.

Work / readiness to work of persons capable of working: Persons capable of work, who apply for needs-based minimum benefits, must look for a job. The criteria for taking up work are basically the same as in the Unemployment Insurance Act (Arbeitslosenversicherungsgesetz). This means that every reasonable job must be accepted. Every unemployed beneficiary of needs-based minimum benefits who is able to work must register with the Austrian Public Employment Service (PES) as a job-seeker and accept reasonable work. If there is no willingness to accept reasonable work, the needs-based minimum benefit will be cut.

Taking up work must not be demanded, e.g., from:

  • persons with disabilities who are unfit to work;
  • persons who are looking after relatives in need of nursing care at level 3 or higher,
  • persons who have reached the statutory retirement age.

Earnings in addition to needs-based minimum benefits

Needs-based minimum benefits generally rule out exemption limits for additional earnings. This means that every euro earned will qualify as additional earnings and lower the benefit claim for recipients of needs-based minimum benefits.

What does this mean for artists receiving needs-based minimum benefits?

If they generate earnings with their artistic project, this will lower their minimum benefits.

Also, do not forget to check to what extent this would apply if they receive specific expense allowances or functional allowances, which are capped at EUR 75 per month for associations.

Information by IG Kultur Wien on cultural associations

https://www.igkulturwien.net/k...

Mobility pass

The City of Vienna offers a mobility pass for recipients of needs-based minimum benefits which entitles holders to a number of discounts.

https://www.wien.gv.at/amtshelfer/gesundheit/gesundheitsrecht/ausweise/mobilpass.html

Additional earnings at a glance

Since artists with special needs or specific impairments often receive different benefits, you need to check in each individual case which benefits would be impacted by receiving a fee or by an employment or marginal activity which might change their overall situation to their disadvantage.

Earnings in addition to needs-based minimum benefits

There are generally no exemption limits for additional earnings when drawing needs-based minimum benefits. Under the needs-based minimum benefit regime, every euro earned qualifies as additional income and reduces the entitlement to benefits.  

Earnings in addition to an occupational disability pension

Recipients of an invalidity, incapacity and disability pension may earn an additional amount up to the marginal earnings limit (2020: 460.66 EUR per month) without their pension being affected.

The invalidity, incapacity and disability pension is reduced, if

  • employment exceeds the marginal earnings limit (more than 460.66 EUR per month, figures as at 2020), and
  • the total monthly earnings (= the sum total of the gross pension and the earnings from employment) exceed 1,241.97 EUR.

If these two conditions are met, only part of the occupational disability pension will be disbursed (as partial pension). The incremental amount added to the 100% occupational disability pension is then reduced by a certain percentage.

If the total income is between 1,241.97 EUR and 1,863.02 EUR (figures as at 2020), the pension will be reduced by 30%, between 1,863.02 EUR and 2,483.93 EUR (figures as at 2020) by 40% and from 2,483.93 EUR by 50%.

Earnings in addition to nursing allowance

Nursing allowance is an earmarked benefit designed to partially cover the additional expenses caused by nursing care and therefore does not represent an increase in income. Since the actual costs of care usually exceed the allowance, nursing allowance is nothing but a lump sum contribution to the costs of care.

Detailed information

https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/soziales/pflege/4/Seite.360511.html

Generally, the amount of nursing allowance will not be affected by taking up (marginal) employment because the entitlement to nursing allowance exists independent of the income and assets a person may have.

https://www.oeziv.org/rechtsdatenbank/aus-der-praxis/pflegegeld-erwerbseinkommen/.

If artists receiving nursing allowance generate earnings or additional earnings through their artistic activity, the amount of nursing allowance they receive will generally not be negatively affected.