Universal Credit will change the way that self-employed people on low incomes are supported by the welfare system. To support the move from tax credits to Universal Credit for this group, research was commissioned to improve knowledge of self-employed tax credit claimants and how they may react to the introduction of Universal Credit. It also gathered information to inform the delivery of Universal Credit for self-employed people.
The research involved 45 in depth interviews with self-employed tax credit claimants in three areas of the UK during August and September 2012.
At the time the research was conducted, the legislative basis of Universal Credit had been laid down in the Welfare Reform Act 2012, and draft regulations had been published accompanied by an explanatory memorandum. Revised regulations were published in December 2012 after data collection and analysis had been completed. As a result the research interviews did not consider the final legislative position. The revised regulations can be accessed at:
The Department for Work and Pensions has used this research to increase our understanding of how self-employed people organise their work, likely reactions to the Universal Credit reporting requirements and to understand how this group’s behaviour may change in response to Universal Credit.
As well as building the Department’s understanding of self-employed people this research has also been used to:
- inform the development of manageable processes and clear guidance for claimants and staff.
- inform decisions on what evidence will be requested at the Gateway Interview and how we will explain to claimants what income and deductions they must report and when.
- inform the development of communications for new self-employed Universal Credit claimants and to support those claimants who will move from tax credits onto Universal Credit.