Coronavirus: Universal Credit and other benefits

Self-employment

If you are self-employed and your business has been affected during the coronavirus outbreak, watch this video to find out more about the financial support that could be available.

If your business can no longer operate, or if your earnings have been reduced, you may be able to claim Universal Credit. If you currently receive tax credits from HMRC, please be aware that if you apply for Universal Credit your tax credits award will end immediately, even if you are not eligible to receive Universal Credit. Find out more about tax credits and claiming Universal Credit.

And if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus, you may also be able to use the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to claim a grant.

You can make a claim for Universal Credit while you wait for a SEISS grant. When you receive the grant it may affect the amount of Universal Credit you get, but will not affect claims for earlier periods.

Universal Credit

1. Check your eligibility

Whether you can get Universal Credit depends on your circumstances, including any savings you have. Your business assets will not be taken into account when working out whether you are eligible for Universal Credit, nor when calculating how much Universal Credit you will receive.

Other eligibility criteria apply. Read more about eligibility for Universal Credit

2. Apply

You should apply for Universal Credit online. If you currently receive tax credits from HMRC, please be aware that if you submit a claim for Universal Credit, your tax credit award will end immediately.

3. Receive financial support

If you’re eligible, the amount you receive will depend on your circumstances, and will take into account earnings from your own business or if you are working as an employee. If you are self-employed, it’s important to report any income you have received each month, including a SEISS grant. This includes reporting if you have had no income that month.

You will usually get your first Universal Credit payment about 5 weeks after you submit your claim. If you need financial help during that period, you can ask for an upfront repayable advance. This may be up to the value of your normal monthly Universal Credit payment, and you can get this without physically attending a jobcentre.

If you receive a SEISS grant or other large payment this may affect your next Universal Credit payment and could affect Universal Credit payments after that. Read more about surplus earnings

For more about any aspect of Universal Credit see the Understanding Universal Credit website, including information about Universal Credit and self-employment

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been extended. Check if you can claim a grant through SEISS

Find out about other help you could get

If you’re self-employed and claiming Universal Credit

The amount of Universal Credit you receive will depend on your circumstances, and will take into account your earnings, whether they are from your own business, from a SEISS grant, or if you are working as an employee.

If you currently receive tax credits from HMRC, please be aware that if you apply for Universal Credit, your tax credits award will end immediately, even if you are not eligible to receive Universal Credit. If your tax credits award ends, it cannot be re-opened and it will not be possible to make a new claim for tax credits in the future. Find out more about tax credits and claiming Universal Credit

If you are also claiming SEISS, this will be treated as earnings and so may affect your Universal Credit payment. If you are able to start working again, either full time or on limited hours, you may still be eligible to receive Universal Credit even if you are no longer eligible for SEISS. This will depend on your earnings. Find out more about how earnings affect Universal Credit payments

If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit, it’s important that you let DWP know about your income, so that your Universal Credit payment can be processed. This includes reporting if you have had no income at all. You will be prompted to report your income and expenses in your online account as you get close to your payment date.

Minimum Income Floor

The Minimum Income Floor assumes income at the level of the national minimum wage at the number of hours you would be expected to work based on your circumstances. This assumed level of income is then taken into account when your monthly Universal Credit payment is calculated.

Find out more about the temporary changes to the Minimum Income Floor rules during the coronavirus pandemic

Business assets

Please note that if you are gainfully self-employed none of your business assets will be taken into account when working out if you are eligible for Universal Credit, nor how much Universal Credit you receive. Business assets include things like machinery, premises and cash held in your business account.

If you are not winding-up your business you will not need to sell your business assets in order to apply for Universal Credit.

See the frequently asked questions on self-employment.

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