Belgium offers a system of financial support for those who are unemployed. These financial contributions are subject to strict conditions, are digressive and in some cases, limited in time.

Workers in the Belgian social security system may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they lose their job. To be entitled to these amounts, you have to prove that your usual place of residence is Belgium. You will need to demonstrate that have worked during a certain amount of days before the beginning of your unemployment period (depending also on your age). Furthermore, your lack of income and job had to be caused by circumstances independent from your own free will, and you must prove you are actively looking for a new job.

You should also register with one of Belgium’s public employment services:

Whether you are entitled and the timing and calculation of the amounts to be received can be a complicated matter. Finally, these amounts can be paid by a trade union (if you are affiliated) or by a specific public administration (CAPAC).

If you have worked abroad before your work in Belgium, you can be eligible for unemployment benefits if you have also worked in the Belgian social security system for at least three months after you have worked abroad. You also have to prove that you have worked the mandatory number of hours in a country with which Belgium has an agreement. This system is not applicable to employees who are registered with a foreign social security system.

We invite you to consult the website of ONEM for more information.

Please note that self-employed workers don’t have access to unemployment benefits. However, there are a few exceptions. A self-employer worker has to register with a social insurance fund which may offer a financial help in case of unemployment. For more information contact The National Institute for the Social Security of the Self-employed (NISSE).

You can also check out your personal situation on the social security website.