KSK stands for Künstlersozialkasse. It was founded in 1982 and is based in Wilhelmshaven.
1.) Activity / Financing
The KSK pays half of the social security contributions (pension, health and long-term care insurance) for its members. These are financed by subsidies from the federal government (20%) and social security contributions from companies (30%), the so-called artists’ social security contribution. Those who use artistic services must therefore pay a percentage of the fees they pay to the artists to the KSK. This percentage is determined annually; for 2014 it is 5.2%. The KSK is therefore not a health insurance fund in its own right, but rather a “financing agency”. The artist can therefore remain in his or her previous health insurance fund after joining the KSK. The regulations on the KSK can be found in the Artists’ Social Insurance Act (KSVG).
Self-employed artists and publicists can become members of the KSK, including musicians. The prerequisite is self-employment. This is not the case, in particular, if one works permanently and essentially for only one client. As a rule, students cannot become members of the KSK either.
3.) Minimum income
A further requirement for membership in the KSK is a minimum income from artistic activity of 3,900 euros per year or 325 euros per month. For newcomers to the profession, there is a special rule that this limit does not have to be reached in the first three years after taking up self-employed artistic activity. Then one pays the minimum contribution for health and long-term care insurance.
4.) Problem of additional income
Since it is often not possible to finance one’s livelihood from artistic activity alone, many artists have to work as a sideline. However, the income earned from this must not be too high in comparison to the income from the artistic activity. Otherwise, the KSK assumes that the artist does not pursue the artistic activity on a full-time basis and is therefore not eligible for support.
There is no problem if the additional income is below the marginal earnings limit of 450 euros per month. If it is higher, it depends on the relationship to the income from the artistic activity. Under no circumstances may the income from the secondary activity be higher. For tax purposes, the income from the artistic activity is calculated from the difference between operating income and operating expenses.
5.) Admission procedure
Strictly speaking, as an artist you even have a duty to register (§ 11 KSVG) and are insured with the KSK if the requirements are met (compulsory insurance according to § 8 KSVG), i.e. you do not have the choice whether or not to be insured with the KSK. The application form can be downloaded from the KSK website. Receipts for the artistic activity must also be submitted with the application. Here you should enclose every statement that has to do with the artistic activity. Since written statements, e.g. of concert income, are often not available, other documents such as flyers, posters, CD booklets, reviews, etc. can be submitted instead. In any case, musical training is a great advantage for proving the seriousness of the artistic activity. Once the application documents have been submitted in full, the KSK usually takes three months to examine them. If you then receive a positive decision, it is even retroactive. This means that you will receive half of the social security contributions from the KSK from the time of application.
6.) Consequences of membership
The consequences of membership are
– Entry into insurance cover – Obligation of the KSK to provide information and advice – Annual statement of contributions – Obligation of the insured person to provide information and to report in accordance with §§ 11 II, 12 I KSVG Control of the KSK by audit possible (see next point).
7.) Estimation of income
A special feature of the KSK is that the amount of membership fees is determined on the basis of annual income estimates. The insured person must therefore state how much he or she estimates his or her income will be for the coming insurance year. It is not possible to correct the estimate retrospectively on the basis of documents such as the income tax assessment notice.
If the insured person deliberately underestimates his or her income, the KSK can make additional claims and theoretically initiate criminal proceedings. So far, the German Pension Insurance (DRV) has taken over controls for the KSK. Whether this will also be the case in the future is currently being discussed (as of November 2013).
8.) Cancellation of KSK membership?
Due to the compulsory insurance, membership of the KSK cannot be terminated. This means that the self-employed artist remains in the KSK as long as he or she fulfils the above criteria. You can therefore only leave the KSK if, for example, you are no longer active as an artist, your additional earnings are too high or you become an employer yourself and employ several people.
If you have questions about the KSK or other topics, I will be happy to advise you. It is not necessary for you to come to my office. You can send me your request in advance by e-mail (also with attachments). I will then make you a non-binding offer for a mandate and, if necessary, contact you by telephone. A mandate only comes into effect when the mandate is issued in writing.