Sickness benefits for a self-employed

If you are unable to work due to your own illness or if you have suffered an incapacitating injury, you may be entitled to sickness benefits

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Sickness benefits is intended to support persons with a connection to the labour market who are unable to work due to their own illness. The rules on sickness benefits are regulates in the sickness benefit act (sygedagpengeloven). 

It is a short-term benefit. In principle, you can receive sickness benefit for up to 22 weeks within the last nine full calendar months. Before the end of the period of 22 weeks, the municipality will revaluate your right to sickness benefits. If you meet certain criteria, you may be entitled to an extended period of sickness benefits.

You can receive sickness benefit if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are unable to work because of your own illness, or if you have been injured- you live in Denmark, or are covered by Regulation (EC) No 883/04 on the coordination of social security systems;
  • You pay Danish tax on your income;
  • You meet specified requirements on a connection to the labour market (employment).

If you are self-employed, you may have the right to sickness benefit from the municipality after the first two weeks of absence. 

Furthermore, to receive sickness benefit as a self-employed person, it is a requirement that:

  • You have undertaken self-employed activity to a substantial extent for at least 6 months in the last 12 months, including the last month prior to the absence;
  • You have been working in your own business for at least 18.5 hours.

If you have had your business for less than six months, your previously work as a salary-earner will be included in the six-month.

As a self-employed person, you can take out two kinds of sickness insurance (regulated by the sickness benefit act). One where you can get sickness benefits from the first day of absence, and one where you can get it from the third day of absence. You can take out a sickness insurance policy from Udbetaling Danmark against an annual fee. For more information, contact Udbetaling Danmark.

The municipality calculate your sickness benefit based on your earnings from the business.

Maximum sickness benefit is DKK 4,405 (2020) per week.

Start Apply for sickness benefits as a self-employed person at 'Nemrefusion'

You must report your absence due to your own illness in the digital solution NemRefusion within the following deadlines in order to ensure your right to sickness benefit from the municipality:

  • If you are not insured, you must report your sickness absence no later than 3 weeks after your first sick day
  • If you are not insured, you must report your sickness absence no later than one week after your first or third sick day. 

In order to report your absence as a self-employed person you need to register as a user of NemRefusion and to have an employee signature (medarbejdersignatur). 

If you do not report your illness on time, you do not have the right to sickness benefit before you have registered your absence/illness. However, in some cases, where there is a valid reason for the late report, you may have the right to sickness benefit from the start. A valid reason could be that due to health reasons, e.g. hospital stay.

If you are entitled to sickness benefits you will, shortly after you have reported your illness, receive a notification as Digital Post in your digital mailbox with forms you must complete in order to get sickness benefits. 

Start Access your sickness benefit case in ’Mit Sygefravær'

If you receive sickness benefits from the municipality, they will continuously follow up on your sickness case in order to help you maintain your job and connection to the labour market. 

You are obliged to participate in the municipality’s follow up and offer of services. 

You are also obliged to inform the municipality about any changes in your situation which affects your right to sickness benefit, e.g. if your sickness no longer prevent you from resume work, either part- or full time.  

You can inform the municipality on changes in your situation, e.g. by phone or e-mail or digitally in MitSygefravær. 

Note: If you live in Denmark, you will have to contact your municipality of residence. If you only work in Denmark, you will have to contact the municipality where your workplace is located.  

Your payment of sickness benefit ceases when:

  • You are no longer unable to work due to your own illness, or
  • When you have received sickness benefit for more than 22 weeks within the last nine full calendar months, unless you meet certain criteria for an extended period of sickness benefits   

You can lose your right to sickness benefit, if:

  • Without reasonable grounds, you do not participate in the municipality’s follow-up on your sickness and offers of services
  • You do not meet your obligation to report or document your absence from your business as a self-employed due to illness
  • You delay the recovery process. 

If you do not agree with the municipality’s decision regarding your sickness benefit case, you can file a complaint to the municipality within four weeks after the decision. The municipality then reassess your complaint within four weeks after receiving your complaint. 

If the municipality maintain its decision, the municipality will send your complaint to the appeal body, Ankestyrelsen. 

Last updated: 26 January 2021