Künstlersozialkasse (KSK)

What is it?

The Künstlersozialkasse (KSK) is a unique social security institution in Germany that provides artists and publicists with access to health, pension, and long-term care insurance. Established in 1983, it addresses the specific needs of freelance artists and publicists, acknowledging the irregular income and unique challenges faced in these professions.

The KSK functions as an intermediary, ensuring that freelance artists and publicists are integrated into the social security system. This integration is crucial as it provides a safety net that is often lacking in freelance careers. In simpler words – the KSK essentially covers half of your health, pension, and long-term care insurance as if you were an employee.

The system is funded by contributions from the artists/publicists, their clients, and a federal subsidy. This collective contribution model ensures that the artists and publicists are not solely responsible for their social security, recognizing the shared benefit their work brings to society.

What are the benefits?

The KSK offers several significant benefits:

  • Health Insurance: Freelance artists and publicists enrolled in the KSK have access to public health insurance, providing comprehensive health coverage.
  • Pension Insurance: Membership also includes pension insurance, ensuring that artists and publicists have retirement security.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: This aspect covers additional support and care needs in the event of long-term illness or disability.

What’s not covered?

KSK is focused only on health, pension, and long-term care insurance and does not cover professional liability or accident insurance, which can be important for freelancers. 

CostsYour personal costs in the KSK are calculated based on your income and are generally more favorable compared to individual insurance plans. (adjust to private costs)

You can find an easy-to-use calculator to estimate your personal contributions while being part of the KSK:

Small tip: Make sure to input your yearly income in Netto rather than in Brutto.

Who is it for?

The Künstlersozialkasse is designed for freelance artists and publicists in various fields, including visual arts, music, writing, and journalism. It’s a vital resource for individuals in these professions, offering them the benefits of social security while they navigate the complexities of freelance work.

The KSK has a particular list and “boxes” that one needs to check to be considered an artist or a publicist in their eyes.

You can find our comprehensive, translated list here:

The application process can be very daunting, especially for non-German speakers. It involves extensive paperwork and the need to demonstrate to the KSK your qualifications for their support as an artist.  This process can take between 3-6 months if everything is done correctly and much longer without the appropriate knowledge.

If you still have questions and are unsure about the process, please feel free to reach out to us, and we will be happy to support you with information and throughout your KSK application.

Did you know?

The number of artists that are covered through the KSK in 2023. [1]

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