Updates on Covid-19 support measures – April/May 2021

Covid, Info - 08/01/2021 - Xenia Kopf

KSVF Covid-19 fund: phase 3 increased to 3,300, extended until June 2021

The one-time payment has been increased to € 3,300 per capita in phase 3, the eligibility period has been extended until June 2021. Recipients and applications currently processed will automatically receive the additional resp. increased amount if nothing speaks against it (e.g., recipient has received funding from WKO emergency fund in the meantime), no separate application is necessary. Applications for phase 2 closed on 31 March 2021, a first time window for applications for phase 3 was open 15 January until 31 March 2021. Applications at KSVF will re-open 1 May 2021 and will be open until 30 June 2021.

The fund was initially worth € 5 m and was increased twice by amendments to a total of € 20 m (1 October 2020 to € 10 m, and 23 Dezember to € 20 m). Phase 1 (€ € 1,000) ended on 2 July 2020, phase 2 ran from 10 July 2020 until 31 March 2021 (€ 3,000, increased to € 3,500). Phase 3 (€ 1,500, increased to € 3,300) started 15 January 2021.

The goal of the KSVF Covid-19 fund is to ease the special emergency and difficult cases of artists and cultural workers who are not eligible for asssistance according to the regulations of the WKO emergency fund or the gap bridging measues of the SVS. The KSVF can now give aid to artists and cultural workers of up tp € 3,500 (€ 1,500 starting 15 January 2021) who at the time of application:

A. are neither eligible for the WKO emergency fund

B. nor the bridge the gap assistance of the SVS,


  1. have their main residence in Austria
  2. are significantly economically threatened as a result of COVID-19 , for instance, at the time of submission are unable to meet costs of living or costs of doing business because of official ordinances in the fight against COVID- 19 temporarily or permanently limiting or forbidding the practice of their artistic/cultural profession and source of income.
  3. receive no assistance or compensation from private or professional insurance services to cover losses entailed through COVID-19 privaten bzw. beruflichen
  4. have not received funds for the same circumstances from KSVF-Assistance fund in accordance with § 25c Abs. 3 K-SVFG.
  5.  had an income in the last fiscal year, as reported on the tax return of maximum € 60.144 (80% the annual social insurance highest calculating basis). Applicants who do not file a tax return must submit their own estimated income.

KSVF Covid-19 fund (in German)

Bridge the gap financing for artists: applications for 2nd quarter since 1 April 2021

Since 1 April 2021, self-employed artists insured with SVS can apply for another new tranche of bridge the gap financing at SVS. It amounts to € 3,000,- for the second quarter of 2021.

Key points:

  • Uncomplicated calculation method, non-bureaucratic application process
  • Processed through the Social Insurance Institution for Commerce and Trade, Freelancers and Farmers (SVS), the lawful service center for artists
  • ATTENTION: emergency funds of Chamber of Commerce (WKO) will be deducted

https://www.svs.at/cdscontent/?contentid=10007.859358 (in German)

Lockdown bonus for self-employed artists: 1,000 Euros for March/April

As of 1 April 2021, self-employed artists in Austria can apply for another lockdown compensation payment of 1,000 Euros for the time period March to April 2021.

This special payment was introduced in November 2020 in the amount of 1,300 Euros, then increased to 2,000 Euros in December 2020 (the difference of 700 Euros was paid automatically to recipients). Another 1,000 Euros was available for Jan/Feb 2021.

Everyone who is eligible for the SVS bridge the gap assistance and/or the WKO emergency fund, or who has received money from these funds, is eligible for the lockdown bonus too. It is fresh money, support received before is not deducted. Applications are open at SVS.

https://www.svs.at/cdscontent/?contentid=10007.859358 (application no. 3, for info see item #7, Lockdownkompensation für Künstler*innen)

WKO emergency fund: broadened and extended

The WKO emergency fund has been extended by another 3 eligible time periods, increasing the total number of eligible time periods to 15. On top of the ‘Comeback Bonus’, another additional bonus of 100 Euros per eligible time period (total of 15×100=1,500 max.) will introduced on 1 June. It will be paid to recipients automatically, albeit in partial amounts, no separate application necessary.

Attention! There are special rules for applications submitted on or after 15 April:

  • The self-employed entrepreneurial activity has to be active at time of application and throughout the whole eligibility period applied for (no “Ruhendmeldung”); and
  • No unemployment benefits may have been collected at the time of application and throughout the whole eligibility period applied for.

Applications have to be submitted monthly for the previous time period until latest 31 July 2021.

The emergency fund is a funding instrument of the Federal Government, providing self-employed workers and entrepreneurs with support for their personal cost of living during the Corona crisis. Key points:

  • Funding period: 16 March 2020 until 15 June 2021
  • Elegibility period: 15 months
  • “Once-only-principle” (data and information already provided during an application will not have to be provided again)
  • Minimum funding € 500 plus € 500 “Comeback Bonus”, plus € 100 additional bonus
  • Marginally (self-)employed people and pensioners will be entitled to apply (precondition: social insurance)

 WKO Emergency Fund for Self-Employed Persons (in German)

Short-time work phase 4 started 1 April 2021

The Corona short time work measure was extended once more: Phase 4 starts April 1st 2021 and will run until 30 June 2021. To be eligible for this measure, workers still have to have at least one full calender month of employment preceding short time work. During short time work, working time can be reduced to 30%. The net replacement rate is, depending on the income, 80 to 90%. If workers are employed for a full calender month prior to application, they can be included in short time work also later in phase 4.

Correction: In an earlier version, March 1st was erroneously given as the starting date of phase 4.


Protective shield fund for events starts 15 January

The € 300 m protective shield fund will ease the planning and realization of events in arts, culture, sports and other areas (incl. congresses, fairs and markets). It is supposed to also help cultural operators cover for series or cycles of events.

It will refund noncancelable expenses in case of cancellations or reductions due to Covid-19. Revenues, insurance payments and other aids will be deducted. Eligible costs are:

  • Noncacelable expenses for third party goods and services (e.g. artists, technical equipment, catering, venue etc.) as well as
  • Labor costs in direct connection with the planning and realization of the event.

The aid processed through Österreichische Hotel- und Tourismusbank ÖHT. Applications open 15 January 2021. The earliest eligible event date is 1 February 2021.

BMKÖS protective shield fund for events (in German)

Covid-19 info service by BMKÖS for artists and cultural professionals

The Ministry of Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport has set up an info service for artists and cultural professionals regarding Covid-19 issues. Hotline: +43 1 71 606 851185 (Mon–Fri 9am–3pm), email: kunstkultur@bmkoes.gv.at. FAQs, further contacts, regulations, conditions for live events etc. at:

https://www.bmkoes.gv.at/Themen/Corona/Corona-Kunst-und-Kultur.html (in German)

AMS: New calculation periods for the assessment basis, and short time work phase 3

ATTENTION: New calculation period for the assessment basis for unemployment benefits, since July 1, 2020

A long planned change in unemployment insurance laws went into effect as of July 1, 2020. Until now, calculation of unemployment benefits was in accordance with the time of application and adjusted with income from the last or previous year. As of July 1, the exact date of application is regarded as the basis.

This means the following: Calculation is based on the last twelve monthly contributions to the unemployment system before expiration of the (12 month) correction period. If there are less than 6 months of contributions, calendar months within the correction period will be included.

For example:

  • Registration with the AMS in July 2021
  • 12 month correction period including July 2020
  • Basis for calculation is July 2019 to June 2020

Also new is that special payments are calculated at a flat rate of one sixth of ongoing remuneration!

Transitional provision: If there are no monthly contributions, the old basis for calculation will be used.


Reduced VAT rate of 5% extended until 31.12.2021

To support businesses in hospitality, the hotel sector and the arts and culture sector, which were hit especially hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, the reduced VAT rate of 5% will be extended until the end of 2021. More information on extensions of Covid-19 support measures currently in place: