Corona Emergency Aid

Corona crisis: What do you need to know? 

Here we answer the most important questions about Corona aids - quickly, easily, unbureaucratically. The FAQs are updated continuously. We would like to point out that all information is legally non-binding.

NEWS: The IBB is writing to recipients of the Corona Soforthilfe II since December 2020. The bank is asking the recipients to compare the funds they have got to their actual needs. More Information is found here on the IBB Website. Below in the following list we collected some FAQs to IBBs checking of funds.

Do you know our overview of other aids and supporting measures, handling of subsidies and legal issues? That is what we offer you here


Current Corona aids

Applications for Corona aid can be submitted to IBB in Berlin. An overview of all current and past Corona aid programs can be found here.

The list below does not claim to be exhaustive and primarily takes into account Corona emergency grants that can be applied for on a temporary basis, which may be relevant for artists and cultural practitioners as well as for creative enterprises.



Congress Fund Berlin (Kongressfonds Berlin)

Application possible since April 22, 2021

  • What is the Congress Fund Berlin?
    • The Congress Fund Berlin is a promotion initiated by the state of Berlin to revitalize the event industry. The aim is to support event planners who implement B2B events in Berlin conference hotels or event venues. The aim is to ensure that despite the disruptions and uncertainties caused by the Corona pandemic, trade events can be safely planned and held in Berlin.

  • What types of events are supported?
    • Funding is provided for events that are aimed exclusively at a professional audience. Participants who attend out of professional motivation count as a professional audience. In addition, the event must take place in Berlin. Examples of event formats are congresses, conferences, seminars and training courses. 

      Requirements for events: 
      - Takes place in an event venue that has been booked for a fee
      - Takes place by December 31, 2021
      - At least 50 participants
      - Duration of the event at least one day (program of at least four hours per day)
      - Aimed at a professional audience 

  • Which events are not funded?
    • Not funded are:

      • Trade fairs, exhibitions and similar formats, even if they are aimed exclusively at a professional audience and/or are linked to an eligible congress; 
      • Events aimed at private individuals (persons who participate in the event for private reasons) or for leisure or recreational purposes; 
      • Events that take place on the organiser's own premises;
      • Events that the applicant himself/herself or a third party is legally obliged to organise; 
      • Events for which funding is provided elsewhere, e.g. from other funding programmes of the State of Berlin, the Federal Government or the European Union (income from sponsorship contracts, however, does not exclude funding); 
      • party political events.
  • How much funding is available?
    • Basic funding: 
      25 euros per attendance participant and per day 

      Supplementary funding: 
      For hybrid events additional 10 euros per presence participant and per day
      Events that meet certain sustainability criteria receive an additional 25 euros per participant present and per day. For this, a certain number of points from various categories of the "Sustainable Event Scorecard" must be achieved. 

      Per event, there can be a maximum subsidy of 49 950 Euros.

  • Will the costs for cancelled events be covered?
    • If an event has to be cancelled due to restrictions within the meaning of the Infection Protection Act, eligible expenses actually incurred can be settled under the grant to the extent of a maximum of 60% of the provisionally approved funding amount. This does not apply to costs incurred through a contract with an event agency for the purpose of conception, organization and implementation.

  • How can I submit an application?
    • There is an electronic procedure for the application. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received. It is important to note that an individual application must be submitted for each event. As soon as a confirmation of receipt of the application is received, orders and contracts for the planned event can be concluded. However, the confirmation of receipt does not constitute an entitlement to actual funding. The organizer therefore acts at his own risk. 

      The subsidies will only be paid out after the event has taken place. The granting authority will first issue a provisional decision in which the provisional amount of funding will be determined. The complete proof of use must be submitted to atene KOM GmbH no later than four weeks after the event. An electronic procedure is to be set up for this purpose. Once the proof of use has been checked, the approved subsidies will be paid out, provided that the check has not given rise to any objections. 

      You submit the application via this website.

  • What documents do I need for the application?
    • You need:

      - A fully completed application form (including information on the applicant, the event, the event location, the event date, the event duration/day, the participants, the application amount, the account details, the hybridity; in the case of an application for supplementary funding, information on the sustainability criteria likely to be met ("Sustainable Event Scorecard"); an assurance of the accuracy of the information; in the case of legal entities, the registration number of the Transparency Database of the State of Berlin10 if applicable).

      - The information/named attachments requested in the application form, including: 

      • Proof of the legal form/existence of the applicant's institution, 
      • Declaration of de minimis aid already received/applied for (de minimis declaration), 
      • Declaration as to whether the applicant or its beneficial owner is a "politically exposed person, a family member or a person known to be closely associated" under the Money Laundering Act (PEP declaration),
      • Declaration in accordance with Section 3 (1) of the Ordinance on the Granting of Benefits, including measures for the advancement of women and/or the promotion of the compatibility of work and family.


Digital Allowance (Digitalprämie)

Applications can be submitted until October 31, 2021.

  • What is Digital Allowance?
    • The Digital Allowance is an economic development program with a total volume of 70 million EUR for the State of Berlin to actively support the ongoing digitization process of Berlin's medium-sized companies.

  • Who is eligible to apply?
    • Small and medium-sized companies with up to 249 employees and their headquarters or permanent establishment in Berlin as well as self-employed people and freelancers in their main occupation without employees (with at least EUR 26,000 income / year from their current activity). The establishment must have taken place before December 31, 2019.

  • Who is not eligible to apply?
    • Companies that do not have a registered office or a permanent establishment in Berlin and have more than 250 employees. Solo self-employed people as part-time jobbers and self-employed people who earn less than EUR 26,000 in income per year from their current activity and those who are founded after December 31, 2019.

  • How much is the grant?
    • Self-employed people and small and medium-sized enterprises with up to 10 employees can receive a grant of up to EUR 7,000. Small and medium-sized companies with 10 up to 249 employees can receive a grant of up to EUR 17,000.

  • Which costs are eligible?
    • Funding grants for external material expenses are received in the following areas:

      Digital work, production and management processes:
      • Acquisition of a CAM system
      • Digital inventory control system
      • Digital POS system
      • Company-related internet of things platform
      • Digital timekeeping recording
      • Digital payroll accounting

      Introduction or improvement of IT security:
      • IT security infrastructure
      • Digital data storage and backup
      • Digital business premises security
      • Penetration test of IT systems and certification

      Digital advice and qualification:
      • Advice on implementation
      • Workshop on the digitization of the business model
      • Further training in corporate IT security
      • Training as a data scientist
      The training providers must prove their qualification through certification according to ISO 27001, accreditation according to AZAV 18 or an authorization within the framework of the federal funding program "go-digital".


Restart Aid (Neustarthilfe) for solo self-employed (Sub-program of the Federal Bridging Aid III)

Applications for the Restart Aid (Neustarthilfe) can be submitted from the February 16 to  August 31, 2021.

  • Who is eligible to apply?
    • Eligible applicants are solo self-employed individuals who cannot otherwise claim fixed costs under Bridging Aid III and who earned at least 51% of their income from self-employment during the reference period (normally 2019).

      Within the scope of the new start-up aid, sales from short-term employment relationships in the performing arts of up to 14 consecutive weeks can also be taken into account as sales from self-employment.
      So-called non-permanent employees in all sectors as well as short-term employees in the performing arts can also apply for Restart Aid, provided they do not receive unemployment benefits or short-time work benefits. In this way, non-permanent actors and comparable employees are also effectively supported.

  • Who is not eligible to apply?
    • Those who are not eligible to apply are those who

      • Has more than one employee (full-time equivalent);
      • Started his or her self-employment after April 30, 2020;
      • Has already filed an application in Bridging Assistance III;
      • Has already filed an application for restart assistance for solo self-employed persons or, in the case of a one-person corporation, the partner has already filed an application for restart assistance as a natural person; 
      • has already been in economic difficulties as of December 31, 2019 (EU definition) and has not recovered this status thereafter; and
      • has permanently ceased business activities or has filed for or opened national insolvency proceedings.
  • Can companies also apply for the restart aid?
    • Since March, corporations with up to four shareholders have also been able to apply for restart assistance. This is only possible via a tax advisor.

      Furthermore, multi-person companies and thus also GbRs are now eligible to apply. If you as a natural person want to claim professional and/or commercial income and/or (pro rata) sales from a partnership, you can either submit a direct application or an application via verifying third parties.

      The costs for an application via verifying third parties are covered to a certain extent and paid out in addition to the grant.

  • How much is the Restart Aid?
    • The lump sum for operating costs amounts to a one-time 50% of the reference turnover (turnover of the corresponding pre-crisis period in 2019), up to a maximum of 7,500 euros. (This is a taxable subsidy).

      To determine the 2019 reference turnover, the average monthly revenue for 2019 is used (reference monthly turnover). The reference turnover is six times this reference monthly turnover. Special rules apply to applicants who started their self-employed activity only after January 1, 2019.

      Example: With a turnover of 20,000 euros (average turnover in the artists' social insurance fund), 5,000 euros of Restart Aid is therefore paid (50 percent of the reference turnover for six months in 2019, 10,000 euros).

  • How is the revenue calculated?
    • When calculating turnover, both turnover from self-employment and turnover from employment are included. This applies to the calculation of the reference turnover as well as to the calculation of the actual turnover in January to June 2021. It is important that the turnover from self-employed activities predominates in the reference turnover (in 2019) (See "Who is eligible to apply?"). 

      Revenue from self-employment include: (These are always the net sales).

      • Freelance and commercial revenue 
      • Proportionate revenue from a GbR 
      • Revenur from short-term employment (up to 14 weeks) 
      • Revenue from temporary employment (up to 7 days) 
      • Revenue generated abroad for the company registered in Germany 

      Revenue from non-independent employment includes: 

      • Wages and salaries
      • Turnover from marginal employment (450 Euro jobs) 
      • Tax-exempt wage replacement benefits such as short-time working allowance, unemployment benefit and parental allowance
      • (basic) pensions 
      • Capital-forming benefits, severance payments, benefits in kind, bonuses, commissions, gratuities, pension payments. 

      Do not count as revenue: 

      • Bafög 
      • Scholarships 
      • Donations 
  • Am I also eligible to apply if I started my self-employment after December 31, 2018?
    • All those who started their self-employment before May 1, 2020 are eligible to apply for the new start-up aid. An alternative reference turnover period can be selected here. 

      Alternative reference monthly turnover: 

      • Average monthly revenue for all full months of self-employment activity in 2019.
      • Average monthly revenue of January and February in 2020
      • Average monthly revenue of the third quarter (July to September) in 2020
  • Will Restart Aid be added to social security benefits?
    • The subsidy for operating costs is not counted towards basic security benefits (ALG II/ Hartz IV) and unemployment benefit (ALG I). It is also not taken into account when determining income for the purpose of determining the child supplement.

  • Where is the application submitted and how does the payment work?
    • Solo self-employed persons applying for Restart Aid can apply directly ( using the ELSTER certificate familiar from the tax return.

      The lump sum for operating costs is paid out as an advance at the beginning of the term, even if the specific loss of sales during the term January 2021 to June 2021 has not yet been determined. If sales during the six-month term exceed 40 percent of the six-month reference sales, the advance payments are to be repaid on a pro rata basis.

  • How does the final settlement work?
    • After June 30, 2021, all those who have received restart assistance are to independently submit a final statement by December 31. An online tool is to be made available for the final statement. Here, it should be indicated how much turnover was actually generated in the period from January to June 2021. Important: no information needs to be provided on what the grant was used for. 

      If a revenue of more than 40 percent was generated compared to the reference turnover of 2019, the new start-up grant must be repaid on a pro-rata basis. The deadline for repayments is June 30, 2022

  • Where can I find more information on Restart Aid?
    • The BMWI answers questions about direct applications for Restart Aid for solo self-employed persons via a hotline. The service desk for solo self-employed persons can be reached at the following number: 030-1200 21034 (service hours Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.).

      You can find more information on the pages of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
      A simple calculation of the Restart Aid is possible with the ver.di calculator (Excel document).

      Here is a step-by-step application completion guide.


The Bridging Aid, 3rd phase, (Überbrückungshilfe III)

  • What are the 3 phases of Bridging Aid?
    • The federal Bridging Aid is (so far) divided into three funding phases: Phase 1 (Bridging Aid I) ran from June to August 2020; Phase 2 (Bridging Aid II) ran from September to December 2020. Since February 2021 it is now possible to apply for federal grants in a third phase (Bridging Aid III); the funding period is between November 2020 and June 2021.

  • What is Bridging Aid III (Überbrückungshilfe III)?
    • Bridging Aid III will support companies, solo self-employed and freelancers in all sectors with annual sales of up to €750 million that experience a drop in sales of at least 30 percent in the period from November 2020 to June 2021 compared to the reference month in 2019. Applications are submitted through reviewing third parties. Bridging Aid III is the follow-up program to Bridging Aid II.

  • Who is eligible to apply?
    • Uniform criterion for eligibility to apply: All companies with more than a 30 percent drop in sales are eligible to receive the tiered fixed cost reimbursement under Bridging Aid III.

  • Who is not eligible to apply?
    • The following companies are explicitly not eligible to apply (exclusion criteria):

      • Companies that are not registered with a German tax office,
      • Companies without a domestic permanent establishment or registered office,
      • Companies that were already in (economic) difficulties as of December 31, 2019 (EU definition) and have not overcome this status thereafter,
      • Companies that were only established after April 30, 2020,
      • Public companies,
      • Companies with more than 750 million euros in annual sales in 2020 and
      • Freelancers or solo self-employed persons in sideline business.

      For more information on the exclusion criteria, see point 1.1 of the FAQ of the Bridging Aid III.

  • What is the amount of the Bridging Aid III grant?
    • Bridging Aid III reimburses a share amounting to

      • Up to 90 % of the eligible fixed costs in the event of a drop in sales > 70 %.
      • Up to 60 % of the eligible fixed costs in the event of a drop in sales of ≥ 50 % and ≤ 70 %.
      • Up to 40 % of the eligible fixed costs in the event of a drop in sales ≥ 30 % and < 50 %.

      in the eligible month compared to the corresponding month in 2019.

  • What is the difference to Bridging Aid II?
    • In the future, costs for structural modernization, renovation and conversion measures to implement hygiene concepts, as well as investments in digitization (e.g., setting up or expanding an online store, entry costs for major platforms) can also be claimed up to 20,000 euros.

      For these areas, costs incurred outside the funding period are now also taken into account. Specifically, appropriate costs of up to 20,000 euros per month or, in the case of investments in digitization, one-off costs incurred in the period from March 2020 to June 2021 will be reimbursed accordingly.

      Depreciation of assets of up to 50 percent is recognized as eligible costs. For example, a showman who has bought his carousel and financed it with a loan or from his own capital can deduct half of the monthly depreciation as a cost. This helps the carny industry in particular, but also companies in the event sector and bus tourism.

      A special regulation for retailers will be introduced for perishable goods and for seasonal goods for the 2020/2021 winter season. This affects, for example, Christmas items, fireworks and winter clothing. But it also affects perishable goods that become unusable if they could not be sold. Under certain conditions, retailers can deduct up to 100 percent of their merchandise write-offs as fixed costs.

      In addition, marketing and advertising costs are eligible for a maximum of the corresponding expenses in 2019.

      Additional costs are recognized for industries particularly affected by the Corona crisis. This concerns solo self-employed persons, the travel industry (travel agencies and tour operators), the culture and events industry, and the pyrotechnics industry.

      Solo self-employed:

      • the current reimbursement of fixed costs will be supplemented by a one-time lump sum for operating costs ("Restart Aid").

      As an alternative to the reimbursement of fixed costs for the period December 2020 to June 2021, solo self-employed persons can receive a one-time lump sum for operating costs, the so-called "Restart Aid" (Neustarthilfe), in the amount of up to 50 percent of the 2019 reference turnover up to a maximum of 7,500 euros (for more information, see the explanations on the Restart Aid).

      • The Restart Aid does not have to be offset against benefits from the basic income support.

      Culture and event industry:

      • If events had to be cancelled due to Corona, their cancellation and preparation costs can also be claimed retroactively for the period March to December 2020 as part of Bridging Aid III, in addition to the other eligible costs.

      o Both internal project-related costs (primarily personnel expenses) and external costs (such as costs for commissioned third parties, e.g. graphic designers) are eligible.
      o These special costs of the past months will not be counted towards the otherwise applicable maximum funding limit up to 200,000 euros per month of the period March to December 2020.

      • A special fund for cultural events is also to be created - outside of Bridging Aid III - which is to provide a profitability bonus for Corona-related low-frequented cultural events such as concerts, festivals and theater performances.

      o Hybrid cultural events, which are offered in both presence form and online, are also to benefit from this in particular.
      o As part of the special fund, there is to be a kind of failsafe for cultural events that are planned for the period from summer 2021, but then later have to be canceled due to Corona, contrary to the plans.
      o The details of this special fund are currently being worked out. It will complement the NEUSTART KULTUR program launched as part of the economic stimulus package, which has already made one billion euros available for the cultural sector.

  • Which costs are eligible?
    • Eligible costs are ongoing, contractually justified or officially determined fixed operating costs incurred during the funding period. (See the detailed explanations under point 2.4. of the FAQ of Bridging Aid III).

  • Are private living expenses eligible?
    • No, costs of private living such as rent or interest payments for private housing (with the exception of (pro rata) costs for a study if this has already been claimed for tax purposes in 2019), health insurance contributions, and contributions to private pension plans are not covered by the Bridging Aid.

      Entrepreneurial wages are not eligible.

  • Can I apply for Bridging Aid III and Restart Aid for solo self-employed persons?
    • The Restart Aid is an independent program under the 3rd phase of the federal Bridging Aid (Bridging Aid III). Therefore, solo self-employed persons can either claim the Restart Aid or the reimbursement of fixed costs under the Bridging Aid III. It is not possible to claim both subsidies:

      • Solo self-employed persons who have applied for or received the Bridging Aid III are thus not eligible to apply for the Restart Aid.

      • Solo self-employed persons who have applied for or received the Restart Aid cannot apply for reimbursement of fixed costs under the Bridging Aid III.

  • Is there an application deadline?
    • The application can be submitted until August 31, 2021. An application can only be submitted once. Amendments are excluded from this.

  • Where can I find more information?
    • Here you can find further information on Bridging Aid III. In addition, on February 16, 2021, Berlin Partner and the IHK Berlin collaborated with Dr. Michael Knieß (Head of Regional Structural Policy, Economic Promotion of the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Enterprises), Matthias Steger (Member of the Board of the Brandenburg Chamber of Tax Advisors and the Berlin-Brandenburg Association of Tax Advisors) and Eike Schmaida (Chief Digital Officer, Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) in offering a digital information event followed by a question and answer session on Bridging Aid III, which is available as a video.


Corona Aid (Coronahilfen) for start-ups

  • What is the Corona aid for start-ups?
    • With the Corona aid for start-ups, the State of Berlin supports young companies during the Corona crisis. A total of 140 million euros are available for the program; 100 million euros come from funds of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and 40 million euros from funds of the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB).

  • Who is the program for?
    • Eligible for application are start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises in Berlin that were founded before 11.03.2020 and were not in financial difficulty before 31.12.2019. Furthermore, the companies must not be older than seven years.

  • How does the program work?
    • The program pays out liquidity support of up to 800,000 euros to young companies. The federal government takes over 70 percent of the risk, Berlin takes over 30 percent of the risk. The program offers various financing options: the assistance can be applied via the IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH or through private venture capitalists (intermediaries). Both variants involve the granting of open participations, dormant holdings and convertible loans, in which initial loans can only be converted into a participation at a later date. Thus, the start-up has the choice: the loan can be repaid within two years or transferred to a longer-term financing partnership. The funds can be used to support existing or new equity investments. The intermediaries receive the refinancing funds from IBB interest-free over a period of 10 years. Further financing options are planned from mid-August. 


Emergency Aid IV 4.0 (Soforthilfe IV 4.0)

It is no longer possible to apply for Emergency Aid IV 4.0. In order to receive funding from Emergency Aid IV 4.0, it was necessary to submit an application for Bridging Aid III of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy by March 31, 2021. Subsequently, it was possible to apply for Emergency Aid IV 4.0 via an expression of interest for the funding period March to June 2021.

  • What is Emergency Aid IV 4.0?
    • Emergency Aid IV 4.0 is a grant program of the State of Berlin for cultural and media enterprises (with at least 2 employees). The grant is intended to help the respective companies cover operating costs and commercial material and financial expenses in the months of March to June 2021, as well as costs accrued since March 11, 2020, if the applicant's ongoing income from the applicant's business operations are not expected to be sufficient to cover them. 


Checking of the Emergency Aid Corona (Emergency Aid II)

IBB has been writing to recipients of Emergency Aid II grants since December 2020. The development bank asks the respective recipients to reconcile the funds they have used with their actual needs. In the FAQs below, we offer you an overview of the most important questions. Here you will also find all the important information from IBB about the Corona emergency aid.

  • Where can you find an overview that includes both state grant and federal funding information?
    • From 27.03. to 01.04.2020 (12 o'clock) it was possible to apply for the state subsidy (in the amount of a lump sum of 5,000 EUR) and for the operating subsidy from federal funds via the Emergency Aid Program II. Since 06.04.2020, only the federal funds could be applied for via the Emergency Aid Program II.

      An overview of both grants with information on eligibility, application period, application amount and possible uses of each grant can be found here.

  • What was the money for?
    • Here you must first answer the question: did you apply for the Corona grant from state or federal funds, or did you even receive both grants?

      The Corona grant, which was disbursed as part of the state funds, can be used for personal living expenses, entrepreneurial wages, and current material and financial expenses.

      The Corona grant, which was disbursed as part of the federal appropriation, is usable for ongoing operating expenses and commercial non-personnel and financial expenses such as:

      • commercial rents
      • leasing expenses
      • business telecommunications costs
      • running costs/fees for providers, domain(s), webspaces etc. as well as maintenance costs
      personnel costs for employees, if not covered by short-time allowance (these costs can no longer be financed from federal funds since 20.4.2020 and thus can no longer be accounted for).
      • etc.

      Salaries of managing directors, private withdrawals or compensation for loss of sales and fees for personal living expenses, health insurance contributions, etc. are not included. On the other hand, the "social protection package" adopted on 27.03.2020 opens up access to basic benefits under much easier conditions.