Pension questions?
- Get in touch. Our help is impartial and free to use, whether that’s online or over the phone.

Help and support for the self-employed during and after coronavirus

The self-employment income support scheme ended on 30 September 2021, but there are still some schemes open which might be able to help you if your income has been affected. 

 

There’s also information about the welfare benefits you might be entitled to claim if your income has dropped or you can’t work because you’re sick or self-isolating.

Extension to the self-employment income support scheme and other help

Support if you’re self-employed through the income support scheme ended on 30 September 2021.

If your work has dried up or your income has been severely affected, there are some options open to you.

arrow icon

Do I need to repay the self-employment income support scheme grants

If you were eligible and made a claim for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, you do not need to repay the money. But you will need to declare it on your next Self Assessment tax return and pay any income tax and National Insurance due on it.

However, if you made a claim for SEISS and you were not eligible (even if you thought you were at the time), you need to tell HMRC as soon as possible and you might need to repay some or all of the money.

What happens if you can’t work because you’re sick or having to self-isolate

Self-employed sick pay and coronavirus

If you’re self-employed you can’t claim Statutory Sick Pay.

If you’ve paid enough National Insurance Contributions, you might be able to claim new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you’re ill.

arrow icon

ESA and coronavirus

The government has said you’ll now get paid from the first day of the claim, rather than after eight days.

If this is the first time you’ve applied for ESA, you’ll have to fill in form ESA 1 and send a fit note from NHS 111 with your claim form to show that you’re not fit for work. You should get the first payment into your bank or building society account within two weeks.

arrow icon

You might also be able to claim elements of Universal Credit if you need help with other costs for children or housing if you and your partner have savings of less than £16,000. Their income will also be taken into account as part of the claim.

What happens if you don’t qualify for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?

You might be able to claim the limited capability for work and work-related activity element of Universal Credit if you and your partner have savings of less than £16,000. Your partner's income will also be taken into account as part of the claim.

What you can do if your income has dropped significantly

Universal Credit for self-employed and coronavirus

arrow icon

If you (and your partner if you live as a couple) have savings of less than £16,000, then you might be able to claim Universal Credit. 

You might be able to claim elements for other costs, such as housing, caring responsibilities or bringing up children.

If you have savings of between £6,000 and £16,000, the amount of Universal Credit you get will be reduced.

Applying for Universal Credit

arrow icon

If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you will have to wait at least five weeks for the first payment, so don’t delay making a claim.

You can make a claim for an advance payment while you are waiting for your Universal Credit payment. You can talk to your work coach about how to do this once you’ve made your claim. The advance payment is a loan that will need to be repaid out of future Universal Credit payments, so make sure you only ask for what you need.

If you stop claiming Universal Credit before you have repaid the advance payment, you will have to agree a repayment plan with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

If you or your partner are already getting any of the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit, including Tax Credits, Housing Benefit or Income Support, these benefits will stop. Your benefit income for these costs will be reassessed as part of the Universal Credit claim.

arrow icon

If you decide to end your self-employment

If you decide to end your self-employment and apply for benefits, what you can claim depends on the type of National Insurance contributions you were paying and the amount you have in household savings.

If you were only paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions

You might be able to survive now the Government has announced the self-employment Income Support scheme but, if you decide to end your self-employment and look for paid work, you usually won’t be able to claim new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if you were only paying Class-2 National Insurance contributions.

Universal Credit is based on household income and savings. You won’t be able to claim it if you have savings over £16,000 as it is a means-tested benefit. You will have to wait until your (and your partner’s) savings drop below £16,000 before you can make a claim.

If you have savings between £6,000 and £16,000, you will get a reduced amount of Universal Credit.

If you have paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions

If you were working as an employee during the past two to three years and paid enough Class-1 National Insurance or received National Insurance credits, you may be able to apply for new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance. You will also be able to make a claim for Universal Credit to help with the costs of housing, caring responsibilities or bringing up children if you have household savings of less than £16,000.

If you are not entitled to claim new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and have savings of less than £16,000, you will be able to make a claim for Universal Credit straightaway.

If you work in the gig economy

Unless it has been agreed as part of your contract, you will not be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, sick leave or paid holiday leave.

Some employers have said they will offer sick pay if you have to self isolate because of coronavirus. Others have said they might offer some kind of compensation if you have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

If you’re working in the gig economy, check with the company to find out what your rights are.

You will be able to claim sickness benefits available for self-employed people if you’re eligible.

arrow icon

Coronavirus help if you run your own business

Most of the coronavirus support for businesses have either closed to applications or will be ending on 30 September at the same time as furlough. However, some support does remain available.

arrow icon

HMRC has expanded its Time to Pay Scheme if you are struggling financially because of anything to do with coronavirus and you owe tax.

If you already have missed a payment or are worried you will miss your next payment, call the HMRC Time to Pay helpline on 0800 015 9559.

If you’re business is struggling from the effect of coronavirus, you can call Business Debtline on 0800 197 6026.

Test and Trace Support Payment

You will be entitled to a payment of £500, If you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace system, can’t work from home and are claiming:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit, or
  • Housing Benefit.

In Scotland, this is called the Self-Isolation Support Grant. There is no similar payment available in Northern Ireland.

In Wales, you could apply for this payment from 14 December 2020. It will be backdated to 23 October 2020 and has been extended to cover parents and carers on low incomes.

Your local authority will make this payment.

You will have to show proof of your employment to qualify and checks will be carried out to confirm you’re unable to work from home.

arrow icon
Was this information useful?
Thank you for your feedback.
We’re always trying to improve our website and services, and your feedback helps us understand how we’re doing.
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for pensions guidance using…
Talk to us live for money guidance using…
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for money guidance using the telephone
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for pensions guidance using web chat
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed
Talk to us live for money guidance using webchat
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat:8.00am – 3.00pm
  • Sun and bank holidays:Closed
Talk to us for pensions guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 5 working days

Talk to us for money guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 2 working days

Talk to us live for money guidance using WhatsApp

Download app: WhatsApp

For help sorting out your debts or credit questions. For everything else please contact us via Webchat or telephone.