Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what to do if you’re self-employed and getting less work or no work

Guidance for people who are self-employed and getting less work or no work because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Regular payments if you’re getting less or no work

If your income has gone down, you might be able to get:

  • New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if you’re under State Pension age, unemployed or are working less than 16 hours a week on average, and have made class 1 National Insurance contributions, usually by working as an employee over the last 2 to 3 years – your savings and partner’s income will not affect how much you get
  • Universal Credit if you or your partner are under State Pension age and you have £16,000 or less in savings – you might be able to get it at the same time as New Style JSA
  • Pension Credit if both you and your partner have reached State Pension age

If you have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating

If you cannot work because you have coronavirus symptoms or because you’re self-isolating, you might be able to get:

  • a one off payment if you’ve been told to self-isolate - there are different schemes in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you’re under State Pension age, and you have made enough National Insurance contributions, usually over the last 2 to 3 years – you could also get it if your child has symptoms or is self-isolating
  • Universal Credit if you or your partner are under State Pension age and you have £16,000 or less in savings – you might be able to get it at the same time as New Style ESA
  • Pension Credit if both you and your partner have reached State Pension age

Paying your tax bill

If you think you’re going to struggle to pay your tax bill on time, you can arrange a payment plan with HMRC. You must do this before the tax is due, or by 1 April for Self Assessment.

Looking for other work

Find out about:

Published 8 April 2020
Last updated 1 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Removed references to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme which ended on 30 September 2021.

  2. Removed guidance on what you could claim if you’re off work because you’re shielding. Shielding in England, Scotland and Wales has stopped and the time limit for making a backdated claim has passed. Also removed information about easement on Self Assessment payment as this has now ended.

  3. Updated with the latest rates effective from 12 April 2021.

  4. Updated the guidance to clarify eligibility conditions for Universal Credit and New Style Employment and Support Allowance and to add Pension Credit, New Style Jobseeker's Allowance and the Test and Trace Support Payment as other financial help that can be claimed.

  5. Added that interviews and assessments will be done by telephone. You should only go to a jobcentre when asked to do so.

  6. Added more information about who might be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance because of coronavirus.

  7. First published.