You’ve lost your work in Denmark due to coronavirus. Now what?

You've lost your work in Denmark due to coronavirus. Now what?
So you're unemployed. Where next? Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Scanpix
Denmark's coronavirus lockdown has seen whole sectors of the economy abruptly (although hopefully temporarily) vanish. Here's what to do if your work has simply gone.
According to the latest figures from the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment, new unemployment registrations have tripled since the lockdown begun, with 42,847 new people registered as unemployed,  compared to the 13,156 over the same period in 2019. Read our story here
 
So you are not alone. 
 
What to do if you a member of an A-kasse 
 
If you are, congratulations on your foresight! Now you know why you've been paying all those monthly installments.
 
For those not in the know, Denmark's A-kasser, or employment unions, are the way unemployment insurance is managed in Denmark. To be eligible for unemployment benefits, or dagpenge, you will have had to have been paying installments for a year. 
 
One of the temporary changes the Danish government has brought in as a result of the coronavirus lockdown is that those receiving dagpenge through an A-kasse will not be required to keep apply for jobs over the next three months, which removes the biggest, boring bureaucratic inconvenience. 
 
3F, Denmark's biggest A-kasse, and several others, are also excusing unemployed members from having to pay their monthly contributions in March, April and May. This also applies to those who have been only laid off from part of their normal  work. 
 
What to do if you are not a member of an A-kasse
 
If you are couldn't see the point of joining an A-kasse or never got around to doing so, your situation is not ideal, but you need not starve. 
 
You can apply for 'Social Assistance' or  'Kontanthjælp', the lowest level of benefit. It is only available to those over 30 years old, who are legally resident in Denmark, and who have no other means of support. If you have savings, or a working spouse, you will probably be refused it. See an English document from the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment here
 
You also need to already have a NemKonto, et NemID  and a tax card.
 
To get Social Assistance you need to register as unemployed on the first day you are laid off. The monthly benefit is 11,554 kroner for those without children, and 15,335 for those who have children, so it's hardly a luxury existence. 
 
You can also apply for a separate Special Supplementary Housing benefit to help cover your rent.
 
Those under 30, can apply instead for 'Uddannelseshjælp', which is about 12,663 kroner a month for those who have to support themselves. 
 
Normally, those receiving 'uddannelseshjælp' have to work closely with job centres and further education agencies on improving their employability, but these requirements have been laid aside for the next three months. 
 
What to do if you are self-employed or run your own small business 
 
Under the financial aid package the Danish government launched on March 18, the self-employed and firms with up to ten people who see their revenues fall more than 30 percent, will be eligible for government compensation worth up to 75 percent of their normal monthly income — up to a maximum of 23,000 Danish kroner a month. 
 
This scheme applies for freelancers and self-employed people who earned between 180,000 and 800,000 kroner in 2019. 
 
You can also apply for help to cover up to 100 percent of your fixed expenses, if your revenue has fallen by more than 80 percent, 50 percent of your fixed costs if it has fallen between 60 percent and 80 percent, and 25 percent of your fixed costs, if your revenue has fallen between 40 percent and 60 percent. Danish speakers can read the details here
 
You can also apply for a loan from your bank, with the government guaranteeing up to 70 percent of the loan, through Denmark's national growth fund. You apply for the loan simply by contacting your bank. 
 
 

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