Artists fear for their insurance – SWR2

It’s a fine line: you can’t make money on art in times of Corona. But if those affected keep their heads above water with a part-time job, they risk being kicked out of the artists’ social security fund and losing insurance coverage. But that is not the only problem: there is a risk of poverty in old age.

The art and culture scene has been extremely affected by the pandemic. There is no theater, no more exhibitions, no income for the artists. This affects the existence of many of those affected. When there is no longer any money to be made from art, the only option is to find a part-time job. But the initiative can become a real own goal. the end of the artists’ social security fund threatens, those affected suddenly find themselves without any insurance protection.

The German Cultural Council recently criticized the artists’ initiative and called for urgent improvements.

After all, low-income workers can stay in the artists’ social security fund.

In at least one respect one can speak of something like the go-ahead: those who earn almost nothing from their artistic work no longer have to fear being kicked out of the artists’ social security fund: anyone who earns less than 3900 euros per year remains insured. This minimum wage scheme was suspended until the end of the year due to the pandemic. An important measure. Because at a time when almost all artistic projects have been cancelled, many artists live on grants and scholarships. This is not without its problems, as video and performance artist Daniel Beerstecher explains:

“Those grants and aid are not considered income, they are not taxed afterwards, which is also good… but on the other hand I cannot claim them from the artists’ social security fund either.”



The artist Daniel Beerstecher during his performance

The artist Daniel Beerstecher during his performance “Walk in Time”



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Daniel Beerstecher


Anyone who, like Daniel Beerstecher, also makes a living from one-off art campaigns, ie can’t sell an image of his studio, has to earn his money some other way. But anyone who earns something extra as a freelancer, and in another sector as well, has a bad hand if they take home more than 5,400 euros a year. He is out of the artists’ social security box.

The artists’ social security fund with its low contributions is a blessing, but many regulations urgently need to be reviewed, says Daniel Beerstecher: “As a contemporary artist, I don’t really have any chance of retiring. I’m heading towards poverty in old age.” with the income I have.

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