• Allison Houghton

Coronavirus and claiming benefits - SELF-EMPLOYED

Funding if you’re self-employee through COVID-19

Self-employed people unable to work due to government’s lockdown will be able to claim taxable grants of up to £2,500 per month. However, they will probably have to hang on until June, three months away, unless the government can set up its processes sooner.

Grants will be 80% of average monthly profits over the past three years’ tax returns, except for those with a trading profit of more than £50,000 a year.


The chancellor said that this brought parity with the coronavirus job retention scheme, announced last week, where the government pays up to £2,500 each month in wages of employed workers who are furloughed during the outbreak.


To minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment and meet the above conditions will be eligible to apply. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply.


Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus job retention scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.

Universal Credit for the Self-Employed

If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit, and are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus, the Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) will not be applied for a period of time whilst you are affected.

From 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change will apply to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak. New claimants will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.


Changes to your earnings

If you are in work and already claiming Universal Credit, and are staying at home on Government advice, you should report this in the usual way via your online journal. If this means you are working fewer hours, the amount of Universal Credit you receive will adjust as your earnings change.


If you’re making a new claim

Don’t delay making a benefit claim, even if you think you may be affected by coronavirus.

You can apply for Universal Credit online. If you are eligible you will need to make an appointment for your new claim interview. This interview will take place by telephone with a work coach. You will be given the number to call to book this appointment when you have submitted your claim.


Universal Credit users are experiencing extended waiting times for GOV.UK Verify. We appreciate how frustrating this is and we are working to improve the situation as quickly as possible.


If you need to claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because of coronavirus, you will not be required to produce a Fit Note.

If you are affected by coronavirus you will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a jobcentre.

If you are suffering from coronavirus or are required to stay at home and want to apply for ESA, the usual 7 waiting days for new claimants will not apply. ESA will be payable from day one.


For more information about any aspect of Universal Credit, including how to make a claim, visit the homepage or use the links at the top of this page.

If you have been working within the last 2 to 3 years and have paid and/or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions, you may be able to claim New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)


New Style JSA can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit. Your savings and capital (or your partner’s savings, capital and income) are not taken into account when claiming New Style JSA.

If you are self-employed and are making a new application for Universal Credit, you will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.


If you’re an employer

There’s a range of support available to help employers deal with the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak.


The government has announced an extensive package of financial measures, including the Job Retention Scheme, a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium enterprises, and deferred VAT and Income Tax payments.

And if you have fewer than 250 employees, you will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for employees unable to work because of coronavirus. This refund will be for up to 2 weeks per employee.


If you employ people, you are urged to use your discretion about what evidence, if any, you ask for when making decisions about sick pay. If evidence is required, employees can get an Isolation Note from NHS 111 online if they have symptoms, or the NHS website if they live with someone that has symptoms.


Find out about other government support for businesses affected by coronavirus.

For those businesses that find themselves needing to increase their workforce as a result of the outbreak, such as those in food logistics, preparation and retail, remember to post vacancies on Find a Job

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