Blümel: Phase II of the hardship fund to be extended

More flexible period under consideration, extension to start-up companies, more individual assistance for small and micro enterprises

Phase II of the hardship fund has been running since 20 April 2020. A total of up to EUR 6,000 can be applied for via the Economic Chamber. For the second phase, the Federal Government is now extending the criteria.

“With the hardship fund, we are addressing the small and micro enterprises that now need money quickly in order to pay the running costs. In such an exceptional situation, some things may not work as quickly as planned. In such cases it is important to act and readjust. We are doing this in order to secure their livelihoods and to protect these entrepreneurs from insolvency,” says Finance Minister Gernot Blümel about the current adjustments to the second phase of the hardship fund.

Extension of the period under consideration:

  •  The three-month observation period is now extended by a further three months until 15 September 2020 (previously 16 March 2020 to 15 June 2020)
  •  Companies that had a decline in turnover of at least 50 % during this period, that were no longer able to cover their running costs, or that were affected by the access restrictions, are eligible for the second phase of the hardship fund.
  •  This is particularly helpful for those companies that e.g. still had incoming payments in March or April, and therefore suffer a drop in revenue only later.
  •  The entitlement continues to exist for three months, but the applicant decides for which three (not necessarily consecutive) months the support is applied for.

Support for start-up companies:

  • Start-up entrepreneurs (companies established after 01 January 2020) have already been eligible – for lack of an income tax assessment – to receive a lump sum of EUR 500.
  •  In Phase II, this regulation is now extended to start-ups established after 01 January 2018 (previously 01 January 2020) if loss of net income can be plausibly demonstrated.
  • Start-up entrepreneurs with profits will of course still be eligible to receive up to EUR 2,000 per month.

Introduction of a minimum subsidy level:

  • In Phase II there is now a minimum subsidy amount of EUR 500 per month for all those eligible.
  •  This is intended to compensate for individual cases of hardship and possible investments, which in the past would sometimes lead to certain individuals not being able to work profitably.

Consideration of family hardship funds:

  • Support from the family hardship fund is exempted from the double-support ban.
  •  Support from the family hardship fund is thus no longer a reason for exclusion from applying for support from the hardship fund.

“With the current adjustments, we have built a safety net that covers the whole width of Austria’s entrepreneurial landscape. Every industry is affected by the current crisis, but the challenges are individual and diverse. We have heard the people impacted by the crisis, and we respond,” said Blümel.