Can I apply for Universal Credit if I'm an online freelancer?

james00744
james00744 Posts: 39
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edited 8 November 2023 at 6:26PM in Benefits & tax credits
I work in Digital Marketing, however, one of my main projects (which was most of my earnings) has taken a dent (hopefully temporary).

I pay £605 rent (10 months on tenancy), plus bills, which takes it over £1000 (about £1200). Now, at the moment, I'm making a do, as I'm covering expenses, but I'm doing the research now just in case.

If my income took another nose-dive and I was suddenly struggling to pay the rent, electric etc, would I qualify for UC, even if it was temporary? I don't have any savings and Gross earnings have been very sporadic.So I may only need it for a few months to help cover the basic expenses and then come off it.

Previous years have been very high and then nose-dived... then back up again, etc.

I just don't want to be in a position where I can't pay the monthly rent, and have something like UC to help me out if/when needed.

I hope it won't come to this, it's just with working online, not everything is set in stone. I've made money with things like Twitter, Google, videos etc, but things change (thanks Musk lol - he really ruined my Twitter income).

Comments

  • DigSunPap
    DigSunPap Posts: 375
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    Forumite
    I tried applying for JSA when I went unemployed but I was working doing Amazon flex deliveries at the time. I had them contact me for the initial phone call but nothing after that. Not sure if they can check your account to see you are being paid by someone because I didnt hear anything else after.
  • I think you replied to the wrong post, as that doesn't relate to my query.


  • You can apply, but being freelance (i.e. self-employed) is a bit complicated for UC.  If you're classed as gainfully self-employed then you don't have to search for work but after 12months they assume you to have earned above a certain amount (even if you didn't) and calculate your payment based on that, or on your actual earnings if you earned more than the amount.

    Or if you claim it between projects and aren't deemed to be ga8nfu self-employed you'd have to comply with the work search requirements and attend appointments.

    Try some benefits calculations, putting in different scenarios for your income, to see what kinds of amounts you might be entitled to (to start with, anyway).
    https://www.entitledto.co.uk/
    https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/
  • You can apply, but being freelance (i.e. self-employed) is a bit complicated for UC.  If you're classed as gainfully self-employed then you don't have to search for work but after 12months they assume you to have earned above a certain amount (even if you didn't) and calculate your payment based on that, or on your actual earnings if you earned more than the amount.

    Or if you claim it between projects and aren't deemed to be ga8nfu self-employed you'd have to comply with the work search requirements and attend appointments.

    Try some benefits calculations, putting in different scenarios for your income, to see what kinds of amounts you might be entitled to (to start with, anyway).
    https://www.entitledto.co.uk/
    https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/

    When you mention "after 12 months" is that from now? As not sure how much I've earned in the past should matter.

    "Or if you claim it between projects and aren't deemed to be ga8nfu self-employed you'd have to comply with the work search requirements and attend appointments."

    That sounds like what I'd be doing, right, as my income would be up and down? Although I have a chronic illness which will muddy the waters - it's why I work from home in the first place.
  • You can apply, but being freelance (i.e. self-employed) is a bit complicated for UC.  If you're classed as gainfully self-employed then you don't have to search for work but after 12months they assume you to have earned above a certain amount (even if you didn't) and calculate your payment based on that, or on your actual earnings if you earned more than the amount.

    Or if you claim it between projects and aren't deemed to be ga8nfu self-employed you'd have to comply with the work search requirements and attend appointments.

    Try some benefits calculations, putting in different scenarios for your income, to see what kinds of amounts you might be entitled to (to start with, anyway).
    https://www.entitledto.co.uk/
    https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/

    When you mention "after 12 months" is that from now? As not sure how much I've earned in the past should matter.

    "Or if you claim it between projects and aren't deemed to be ga8nfu self-employed you'd have to comply with the work search requirements and attend appointments."

    That sounds like what I'd be doing, right, as my income would be up and down? Although I have a chronic illness which will muddy the waters - it's why I work from home in the first place.
    The 12 months is from the start of your claim.

    But if you had a Work Capability Assessment due to your illness and it resulted in LCW (limited capability for work) then the complicated bit after 12 months wouldn't apply to you, and you'd be able to earn a certain amount before they start making deductions for earnings.  If it resulted in limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) then in addition to those things, you'd also get an extra element in your maximum UC award.
    To start that process off you'd need to submit a fit note (and keep doing so until you had your WCA).
  • huckster
    huckster Posts: 4,776
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    Forumite
    edited 9 November 2023 at 9:01AM
    If your self employment business is developed, track record of being profitable and was earning you a living, I would expect you to be found gainfully self employed at gateway self employment appointment after claiming UC.  As a new claimant to UC, you would then have 12 month start up period, where you report income and expenses for your self employed work each month and UC payment would be calculated using net income.  You would also then need to attend a self employment review appointment once every 3 months. At the end of 12 months, if still gainfully self employed, minimum income floor then applies meaning assumed earnings based on 35 hours per week at national minimum wage.

    Looks like UC is worth claiming and then attend job centre appointments. At the gateway self employment appointment it is really important to provide as much information as possible about your business. In addition to the above, you would need to provide details of your current efforts to recover your income to previous levels.

    In regard to chronic illness, I take it that this has not prevented capability for work. It just impacts on type of work you can do.  This is something to discuss with job centre after making claim.
    The comments I post are personal opinion. Always refer to official information sources before relying on internet forums. If you have a problem with any organisation, enter into their official complaints process at the earliest opportunity, as sometimes complaints have to be started within a certain time frame.
  • "In regard to chronic illness, I take it that this has not prevented capability for work. It just impacts on type of work you can do.  This is something to discuss with job centre after making claim."

    Yes, I can't do much physical work, so I work from home on the PC.
  • You can apply, but being freelance (i.e. self-employed) is a bit complicated for UC.  If you're classed as gainfully self-employed then you don't have to search for work but after 12months they assume you to have earned above a certain amount (even if you didn't) and calculate your payment based on that, or on your actual earnings if you earned more than the amount.

    Or if you claim it between projects and aren't deemed to be ga8nfu self-employed you'd have to comply with the work search requirements and attend appointments.

    Try some benefits calculations, putting in different scenarios for your income, to see what kinds of amounts you might be entitled to (to start with, anyway).
    https://www.entitledto.co.uk/
    https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/

    When you mention "after 12 months" is that from now? As not sure how much I've earned in the past should matter.

    "Or if you claim it between projects and aren't deemed to be ga8nfu self-employed you'd have to comply with the work search requirements and attend appointments."

    That sounds like what I'd be doing, right, as my income would be up and down? Although I have a chronic illness which will muddy the waters - it's why I work from home in the first place.
    The 12 months is from the start of your claim.

    But if you had a Work Capability Assessment due to your illness and it resulted in LCW (limited capability for work) then the complicated bit after 12 months wouldn't apply to you, and you'd be able to earn a certain amount before they start making deductions for earnings.  If it resulted in limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) then in addition to those things, you'd also get an extra element in your maximum UC award.
    To start that process off you'd need to submit a fit note (and keep doing so until you had your WCA).

    I assume I would need to see the GP at some point to get a note from them?

  • You can apply, but being freelance (i.e. self-employed) is a bit complicated for UC.  If you're classed as gainfully self-employed then you don't have to search for work but after 12months they assume you to have earned above a certain amount (even if you didn't) and calculate your payment based on that, or on your actual earnings if you earned more than the amount.

    Or if you claim it between projects and aren't deemed to be ga8nfu self-employed you'd have to comply with the work search requirements and attend appointments.

    Try some benefits calculations, putting in different scenarios for your income, to see what kinds of amounts you might be entitled to (to start with, anyway).
    https://www.entitledto.co.uk/
    https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/

    When you mention "after 12 months" is that from now? As not sure how much I've earned in the past should matter.

    "Or if you claim it between projects and aren't deemed to be ga8nfu self-employed you'd have to comply with the work search requirements and attend appointments."

    That sounds like what I'd be doing, right, as my income would be up and down? Although I have a chronic illness which will muddy the waters - it's why I work from home in the first place.
    The 12 months is from the start of your claim.

    But if you had a Work Capability Assessment due to your illness and it resulted in LCW (limited capability for work) then the complicated bit after 12 months wouldn't apply to you, and you'd be able to earn a certain amount before they start making deductions for earnings.  If it resulted in limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) then in addition to those things, you'd also get an extra element in your maximum UC award.
    To start that process off you'd need to submit a fit note (and keep doing so until you had your WCA).

    I assume I would need to see the GP at some point to get a note from them?

    Yes that's who issues a fit note.  It will depend on how your GP surgery works as to whether they'll want to see or talk to you before issuing one.
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