Self-employed: financial help if you’re sick or self-isolating

If you’re self-employed and are sick or self-isolating due to Coronavirus, or caring for a child who is sick or self-isolating, you may qualify for benefits including new style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.

Need to know

What is it and who can get it?

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  • New style Employment and Support Allowance is an income support payment paid every two weeks. You can make a claim if you have a full National Insurance record for the tax years 2017/18 and 2018/19. You cannot claim it if you already receive the severe disability premium.
  • Universal Credit is a means tested benefits which might also help you with the costs of housing, children and caring responsibilities. It’s paid monthly and is based on household income. You make a claim if you and your partner’s savings are less than £16,000 between you.

How much will you get?

  • New style Employment and Support Allowance – typically £74.35 a week, or £58.90 if under age 25.
  • Universal Credit – is made up of a standard allowance and different elements to help with the cost of housing, children and caring responsibilities. How much you will get depends on your circumstance and savings.

Useful to know

  • If you qualify for Employment and Support Allowance the amount of Universal Credit you get will reduce by the same amount.
  • The minimum income floor has been temporarily abolished for self-employed people claiming Universal Credit. This should increase the amount you’re entitled to claim.
  • If you’re still working, your Universal Credit payment will be affected by your earnings. If you’re getting a self-employment income support grant, this will need to be declared as income and will affect your Universal Credit payment.

Action to take

  • Check your National Insurance contribution record on the GOV.UK website.
  • If you’re already getting Universal Credit, apply for new style ESA through your online account .
  • If don’t qualify for Universal Credit, check your eligibility for new style ESA and apply on Gov.uk.
  • Learn more about who qualifies for Universal Credit and how to claim.
  • If you’re self-employed you might get help through the self-employment income support grant. You might be able to get this even if you’re not eligible for Universal Credit or new-style Employment and Support Allowance.
find out more about the self-employment income support grant.

Other support

  • There is other support available to help you with housing costs, bills, loans and credit cards.
Find out what’s available to help you with your housing costs.
Learn what assistance there is to help you with household bills.
Discover what help you can get with loans, credit cards and other borrowing.

If you’re a business owner

  • If you need to access finance, you may be able to get support through the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
  • Small businesses can access loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. These are interest free for 12 months and no repayments will be due during this time.
  • If you’re registered for VAT and deferred its payments, this can be spread over 11 smaller interest-free payments during the 2021/22 tax year.
  • Self Assessment tax return payments deferred from July 2020 and due in January 2021 can be deferred until January 2022.
  • If you are in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector you qualify for a business rates holiday for the 2020/21 tax year. This will be applied automatically.
  • If your business premises have a rateable value below £51,000 you may qualify for cash grants of between £10,000 and £25,000. Read about business grants for small businessesopens in new window.

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