Already getting Universal Credit?

If you are already getting Universal Credit as a self-employed worker, and your income has dropped, you will have that drop in income taken into account when your Universal Credit is next assessed.

You should continue to report your income and allowable expenses to the DWP as normal, even if you are reporting a loss.

You should let your Work Coach know what is going on as soon as possible and if you have to agree to a new Claimant Commitment make sure you agree to this online within seven days.

It’s worth making a claim for Council Tax Support, and – if you have school age children – looking to see if you could get free school meals.
See Need extra financial help? for more information.

If you have received a lump sum payment from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, then see below for how should have affected your Universal Credit award.

Halina is a self-employed Cleaner She was already on Universal Credit when the Coronavirus outbreak started she could no longer work. She’s been reporting her income and allowable expenses to the DWP every month. She’s not made any profit for a while, and so her Universal Credit payments have increased to reflect this.She has a 2 year old daughter and so is not affected by the Minimum Income Floor.

Minimum Income Floor

The Minimum Income Floor (MIF) is a rule that applies to some self-employed Universal Credit
claimants. If the MIF rule applies, the claimant is treated as earning a certain amount from their self-
employment and this level of earnings will be taken into account when their UC is assessed even if
their actual self-employed earnings are lower than this amount.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, some easements were introduced but these came to an end on
31st July 2021.

Claimants who have had the MIF easements applied are being interviewed to check if they continue
to be in ‘gainful self-employment’. If the DWP decide that they are gainfully self-employed, the MIF
will be applied again, from the monthly Assessment Period after the one in which the decision is
made about gainful self-employment.

For those claimants who were part-way through their 12-month ‘start-up period’ in March 2020, the
clock was paused when the pandemic hit. Once the DWP have checked and decided that these
claimants are still classed as in ‘gainful self-employment’, the clock can re-start. Once they have
served the remainder of their 12-month ‘start-up period’, the MIF will apply to them too.

What if your business is still impacted by Covid19?

Some easements remain in place until 31 July 2022.

Anyone who can demonstrate that their business remains adversely affected by the pandemic can
have their MIF reduced to zero. This will be at the discretion of the Work Coach and can only be for
up to two consecutive MAPs when the situation would be reviewed. The maximum period for
easements would be six months in total.

If economic conditions have sufficiently improved, the Work Coach could decide to remove the
easement before

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

If you are self-employed and your income had been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak then you may have received a grant from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

If you were already getting Universal Credit or made a claim for it in the month before receiving the grant, then the DWP would have taken account of this payment as earnings for the Assessment Period in which it was paid.

This means that it should not have been counted as earnings over a three month period – but just for the monthly Assessment Period in which it is received.

Already getting Tax Credits and/or Housing Benefit?

If you are already getting some Tax Credits and/or Housing Benefit you may be able to stay on those benefits, but you could be better off if you claim Universal Credit if you are eligible. You should seek advice from a Benefits Adviser who will be able to conduct a better off calculation.

NOTE: If you have £16,000 in capital/savings then you will not be entitled to Universal Credit – and, if you do claim it, then it is extremely unlikely that you would be able to go back to Tax Credits.

Not currently getting any means-tested benefits?

As long as you meet the general eligibility criteria for Universal Credit then you can make a claim for it.
See Who can get Universal Credit for more information.

Whether you are entitled or not, and how much you are entitled to, will depend on your personal circumstances and income.
See How Much – the basics for more information.

Timing of the claim may be an issue if you are due some payments into your business – speak to a Benefits Adviser before making your claim.

WARNING: There are many scams…..people trying to get you to tell them your bank account details. If you receive a call from someone saying they work for the DWP and asking for your bank account details, ask the caller to post a specific form of words into your Universal Credit journal so you can be sure it’s them.

The DWP regularly produce guidance or introduce new measures that may change the information on these pages. Please check back regularly for updates on the arrangements the DWP is making to support those who are affected by Coronavirus.