Applying for a bridging allowance while waiting for external reclassification following an accident at work or an occupational disease

Last update 19.10.2021

Any employee or self-employed person may apply for a bridging allowance if their professional redeployment or retraining is attributable to an accident at work or an occupational disease.

Employees must appear before the Mixed Commission and the Social Security Medical Board. Self-employed persons appear before the Social Security Medical Board, which is competent to decide on professional retraining.

Who is concerned

Anyone who is the victim of an accident at work or an occupational disease recognised by the Accident Insurance Association (AAA), and who benefits from:

  • an external professional redeployment (for employees); or
  • professional retraining (for independents).

Prerequisites

In order to be able to claim a professional bridging allowance, beneficiaries must fulfil the following conditions:

  • be able to prove, once their condition has stabilised (consolidation), that they have at least a 10 % permanent disability due to a work-related accident or occupational disease;
Note that this requirement only applies for accidents that occurred after 1 January 2017.
  • be unable to work in their most recent position or continue their most recent work arrangement, but not be unable to work in the general job market;
  • their work incapacity must be primarily due to:
    • a work-related accident;
    • an occupational disease;
  • benefit from an external professional redeployment decided by the Mixed Commission;
This requirement does not apply to the self-employed.

Preliminary steps

The work, commuting or school accident, or the occupational disease must have been declared beforehand.

Deadlines

The insured person must submit their application to the AAA within 3 years from the consolidation of their condition or professional retraining.

After this 3-year period has elapsed, the application is only admissible if the insured person:

  • proves that the consequences of the accident, in terms of the victim's working capacity, could only be ascertained later;
  • was physically unable to make a request.

The bridging allowance is not allocated for a period of more than one year prior to the receipt of the application.

Example: The insured's condition is declared stable on 1 April 2017. They may therefore apply for an allowance until 1 April 2020. However, if the insured submits their allowance application only on 1 October 2019, they will only be entitled to the retroactive benefit of the allowance as of 1 October 2018.

How to proceed

Procedures for obtaining the allowance and start of payment

The insured must apply for the bridging allowance by sending it to the AAA by post.

The insured person may apply for a partial allowance if external redeployment entails a loss of earnings compared to the salary earned before the accident.

The AAA may pay for the professional retraining courses taken with a view to professional redeployment.

Suspension of allowance payments

Payment of the bridging allowance is suspended by the AAA if the conditions which motivated granting it in the first place are no longer fulfilled, especially if the insured:

  • stops being registered as a jobseeker with the National Employment Administration; or
  • refuses to take part in redeployment measures; or
  • refuses any attempts at professional retraining.
Note that if the insured collects unemployment benefits or a similar benefit abroad, the bridging allowance is withdrawn.

Calculation and payment of the allowance

Salary criterion

The amount of the bridging allowance is set at 85 % of the full benefit. It is calculated on the basis of the employee's taxable earnings during the 12 months preceding the declared accident or occupational disease.

It must be noted that for persons who were self-employed, the amount takes into account the contribution base that was applied at the time of the accident or occupational disease.

The allowance will be revised if this base is recalculated in any way.

Specificities of the bridging allowance

The allowance is paid on a monthly basis, in advance.

If the allowance is paid after the first of the month, the monthly payment is paid in proportion from the first day of that month.

The allowance is adjusted to the cost of living index according to the terms applicable to civil servants' salaries and pensions.

The allowance is subject to tax and social charges, but it is exempted from contributions:

  • for pecuniary benefits;
  • for accident insurance;
  • for family allowances.

The insured person continues to receive the allowance as long as an external reclassification is not possible, i.e. until he/she starts a new job.

Appeals

Interested parties have several means of appeal at their disposal to assert their rights.

Who to contact

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