Did you know that you can continue to be self-employed after reaching retirement age? You can definitely combine a pension with (prolonged) self-employment. In some cases, however, you will have to limit your income.
Do working pensioners have to pay social security contributions?
As a general rule, the amount of social security contributions is 14.70% of your net taxable professional income. A higher contribution percentage applies to some pensions. If your self-employed income as a pensioner is limited and you do not earn more than €3,243.43 (annual net taxable income), you will not have to pay social security contributions.
What social rights do you have?
If you receive a pension, you no longer build up social rights, even if you pay social security contributions. Have you reached the legal pension age, but decided not to take it yet? In this case, you will only build up social rights when your net taxable professional income as a self-employed person reaches at least €14,658.44.
When should you limit your income?
If you receive a pension and are self-employed at the same time, you may have to limit your income.
Unlimited supplemental income
Anyone who is at least 65 years old can earn an unlimited amount as of 1 January of the year in which they turn 65. In addition, anyone under the age of 65 can earn an unlimited amount, provided that they can document a career of at least 45 years.
Example : Stéphane worked as an osteopath for a soccer club until the end of his career. He wants to continue this self-employed activity after his pension. He can earn unlimited additional income as a self-employed osteopath.
Pensioners under 65 with a career of less than 45 years must limit their self-employed income. Similarly, anyone receiving only a survivor's pension must limit their income, regardless of age.
Are you receiving a household pension? If so, your spouse must also limit their income. Find out about the ceilings for your partner.
Example : If Stéphane had taken his pension a year earlier, he would not have been able to earn unlimited income immediately, because he was under 65 at the time, and had a career of barely 40 years. In this scenario, he would have had to meet the income ceilings (see below).
Until 1 January of the year of the 65th birthday
|Retirement pension only or retirement and survivor's pension||Survivor's pension only|
|< 45 years of career||≥ 45 years of career|
|without dependent children||€6 907 *||unlimited||€16 082 *|
|with dependent children||€10 360 *||unlimited||€20 102 *|
* net taxable annual income
From 1 January of the year of the 65th birthday
|Survivor's pension only or divorced spouse's pension only||(also) retirement pension|
|without dependent children||€19 950 *||unlimited|
with dependent children
|€24 267 *||unlimited|
* net taxable annual income
What happens when you exceed the income limit?
The percentage of your income that exceeds the allowable limit will be deducted from your pension for that year.
Example : If your professional income exceeds the 34% limit, that percentage will be deducted from your pension for that year.
If you receive a foreign pension, you can choose to register as a complementary self-employed person or as a pensioner in order to work in Belgium. Contact your social secretariat for personalised advice.
Self-employed activity during early retirement
Early retirement consists of an unemployment benefit paid through your union or auxiliary fund, supplemented by a contribution from your employer. This benefit cannot be combined with self-employment, unless explicitly authorised by the National Employment Office (ONEM) (a situation that occurs only in exceptional cases). Therefore, you will not normally be able to register as a pensioner, but rather as a self-employed person, either on a principal or complementary basis.
Pension and unpaid mandate
If, as a pensioner, you are an unpaid director of a company and do not carry out any other operational or commercial activities, you should in principle no longer be affiliated in most cases. However, if your mandate is unpaid, but you are the sole manager of the company, you should generally remain affiliated.