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).

Claim a grant if you’ve lost income

If you’re getting less work or no work because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you might be able to claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Other financial support

You might be able to get a one off payment if you’ve been told to self-isolate, New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

One off payment if you’ve been told to self-isolate

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)

You might be able to get New Style ESA if you or your child has coronavirus or is self-isolating and:

  • you’re under State Pension age

  • you have made enough National Insurance contributions, usually over the last 2 to 3 years

Your savings and partner’s income will not affect how much you get. You might be able to get Universal Credit at the same time as New Style ESA.

Find out more or apply for New Style ESA.

New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

You might be able to get New Style JSA if:

  • you work less than 16 hours a week

  • you’re under State Pension age

  • you have made enough 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. You might be able to get New Style JSA at the same time as Universal Credit.

Find out more or apply for New Style JSA.

Universal Credit

You could get Universal Credit if:

  • you have £16,000 or less in savings

  • you or your partner is under State Pension age

If you’re already getting tax credits, they will stop when you or your partner applies for Universal Credit.

You might be able to get Universal Credit at the same time as New Style ESA or New Style JSA. Depending on your circumstances, Universal Credit can include additional amounts for things like rent or the costs of raising children.

Find out more or apply for Universal Credit.

Pension Credit

You could get Pension Credit if either:

  • you and your partner have both reached State Pension age
  • one of you is getting Housing Benefit for people over State Pension age

You might still be able to get it even if you have savings, have a pension or own your home.

Find out more or apply for Pension Credit.

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

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Published 8 April 2020
Last updated 26 July 2021 + show all updates
  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

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

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

  6. First published.