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whiteadder

Moving onto Universal Credit after 5 years Self Employed

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I've been trying to make a go as self-employed for the past 5 and a half years, unsuccesfully albiet and living off Working Tax Credits and claiming Housing benefit.

 

I am being considered for a house in a different area, but the advice from the financial teams in both housing associations is that I might not be able to claim UC because I've been self-employed (working more than 35 hours per week) for more than 5 years.

 

I'm still trying to build on things, and I'm starting to make progress but I'm not expecting to be bringing in enough sales to be self-sufficient (although it would be nice). I've had a few set backs, companies not honouring verbal agreements etc and losing work. My plan is to find a part time job, maybe 20 hours per week and use the rest of my time to work on my business and use both incomes to supplement each other.

 

In order to make the move first of all I need to transfer my claim over and then start looking for work. I have already started looking, but I need time to move also and the type of jobs I'm looking for tend to favour those who are already living in the area and can start immediately.

 

There are a number of reasons why I want to move, but one of them is that transport links when I currently reside are not sufficient for me to find employment in the local area. Where I am moving to solves that problem.

 

I initially decided to try and become self-employed after suffering several years of health problems brought on by sleep depravation or possibly an undiagnosed condition like ME. The brutal regime of benefits sanctions left me with no choice, but regardless of that my self-employed venture has grown into something that will provide some income for years to come and will continue to grow. Having the option to work my own hours is a tremendous help to me, and I'd like to get a job with a steady income again but on a part time basis (to start with anyway).

 

What can I do though if I am denied benefits I need to get me to that place? Can anyone shed some light on this situation as to whether or not I will qualify, and if not what can I do about it?

 

And then of course, as I am potentially forced to move onto UC we could end up with a new government that is going to just scrap it!

 

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No problem claiming UC. You just put down current employment, as self employed.

 

Unless you have  regularly earned a minimum amount through self employment, which is not far off from national minimum wage, then you should be found not gainfull self employed.  You will be expected to look for other employment, which you plan to do anyway.

 

Once you have registered your UC claim online, you will have to attend the Job Centre for a few appointments. One will be a Gateway appointment to review self employment, so you would have you take with full details of self employment activity e.g. Contracts, invoices, receipts, accounts.  It is following this meeting that they will decide whether self employment is gainful or not.  

 

I would suggest that you Google search Universal Credit and Self Employment, as their is plenty of useful information online.

 

One bit of advice. Do not get yourself into a position of being treated as gainfully self employed, having the minimum income floor (assumed income) applied after 12 months on UC and then finding yourself living off nothing.  The minimum income floor is assumed earnings through self employment, of 35 hours per week at national minimum wage.  This assumed income might mean you then receive little or no UC payments.   Many people who struggle earning very little through self employment, decide to battle on, even though they can't even afford to pay for basics living costs.  

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Great thanks! I'm not sure I follow what you mean in the last paragraph but in any case it sounds like I can indeed claim UC. The finance teams didn't seem to know for sure. I'm awaiting a call back from them this week.

 

As for accounts, I've keept a spreadsheet of all my sales and expenses, done my tax returns every year and all that and it all shows a net loss each year. There aren't many receipts and invoices but I have kept them all, and as for contracts I can print off verbal contracts from email. I don't know if I filled my tax returns in right, but the HMRC didn't contact me about anything to question it. I think I answered the questions right.

 

Do I need everything going back to the date I started? I don't actually have a spreadhseet for the first year, and I don't think I actually sold anything until year 2. I had a lot of my time wasted in the first year by some clown who was purportedly starting a new newspaper (in the wake of indyref) but it all went down the pan. It's a long story but I did lots of work in the first year providing content in the form of cryptic crosswords and one article in good faith, on the promise of getting paid for it once the paper was in publication. Time wasted that I could have spent on other more gainful applications.

 

I'm slightly worried they might turn round an accuse me of not actually working self-employed during this time, but not greatly. The fact of the matter is I have been working, and I've got plenty to support that. I just entered into all this not really knowing how to run a business. I was actually put forward by the job centre to start some scheme for 3 months where I claimed JSA and had a business mentor showing me the ropes. But on the day I was supposed to sign the paperwork for this my advisor decided to sanction me instead! They basically stitched me up to get me knocked off benefits. So I went down to my local GP and begged for a doctor's note and moved onto ESA, and when I inevitably got kicked off that I started self-employed and went on to claim WTC.

 

If they had just let me go on to this scheme I would have known better from the start about all the ins and outs of running a business. It was their suggestion in the first place to go on to it! But my advisor, he wasn't one of the good ones. Targets to meet and all that.

 

 

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