A worthwhile option, especially for those able to partially work
If you are still limited in your ability to work (about three hours a day, compared to the usual eight), the disability pension may be a blessing. However, this will be applicable at the earliest, after six months of illness. The amount is based on the last earned net income. If you can work less than three hours a day, you will still get the full amount. If you are able to work between three and six hours, you will receive half of your disability pension.
In order for you to take advantage of the disability pension, you must meet some requirements: first, your inability to work must be attested by a physician. No funny business, and it is not even worth it. In addition, you must have paid contributions to the statutory pension fund for at least five years and have paid your compulsory contributions for the last three years prior to the disability pension.
If you meet these requirements and are still able to work to a limited extent, the disability pension is a great addition to your daily sickness allowance, which will not be paid out after a few months.
But, in the event all these options become obsolete...
The daily sickness benefit is no longer paid, health insurance was not acquired in due course, the disability pension is not available and the private assets are used up? Then only going to the employment office and applying for unemployment benefits II will help. Yes, self-employed people are also entitled to this support. The prerequisites: You have to be at least 15 years old, have your habitual residence in Germany, be on the verge of retirement, work three hours a day - and, demonstrably not be able to survive off income and assets. So if you are self-employed and do not earn enough income due to illness to earn a living (to cover the basics like rent, insurances, food etc.), you are entitled to unemployment benefit.
But, the clients?
No matter how long you get sick, your customers will not wait forever. Some will give you a few months time. Others depend on your regular support and will look for other freelancers or self-employed people, even if you only have a few weeks off.
So, if you want to get back to the daily business after your illness, you'll have to expect some - if not all - of your customers to need regular updates and of course, for them to continue their business as needed. However, there are ways and means to keep its customer base happy so that it ultimately stays alive.
So you deal with your customers in case of illness
- Inform your customers about your illness in good time. In the case of a cold or flu, many customers have understanding and are ready to adjust the deadline. It is only important that you give notice in advance and do not give information until the day of the deadline that you can not deliver. If, on the other hand, you have a long-term illness, offer your clients an alternative: broker to another self-employed person or freelancer who can continue your project.
- Set up a virtual office or enquiry collection service. This will accept your customer enquiries and answer them for you. Some services even do this by both phone and by e-mail. The good news is that your customers or potential new customers get a quick feedback and know when they can expect you again. This service relieves you of a lot - especially when you are struggling with a serious illness.
- Work from the hospital or home office. That may sound hard at first. However, if you are only physically limited - for example, have a broken leg - and do your job exclusively on the PC, you can do that even in case of illness on. And not just from home. Some hospitals have Wi-Fi. Write bills and e-mails, do bookkeeping, generate new customers - all this is possible. If you are able to do so.