Self-employment and Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.

Find out if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.

If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.

Apply for Universal Credit.

If you’ve lost income because of coronavirus

You may be able to get a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-Employment Income Support Scheme when it launches. If you get the grant, your Universal Credit payments may stop or go down.

If you’re eligible, HMRC will contact you to tell you how to apply.

Providing information about your earnings

Everyone claiming Universal Credit needs to report their self-employed earnings at the end of each monthly assessment period. This includes company directors, even those paying themselves by PAYE.

You’ll need to report payments into and out of your business in the assessment period. This includes:

  • total amount your business received
  • how much your business spent on different types of expenses, such as travel costs, stock, equipment and tools, clothing and office costs
  • how much tax and National Insurance you paid
  • any money you paid into a pension

How your Universal Credit payment is worked out

Your Universal Credit payment will be based on the earnings you report at the end of each monthly assessment period.

If you’re already getting Universal Credit

Since 30 March 2020, the way your Universal Credit payment is worked out has changed because of coronavirus.

Payments are no longer calculated using an assumed level of earnings, called a Minimum Income Floor. They are now based on your actual earnings.

If your payments were calculated using the Minimum Income Floor, they may change.

If you’re both self-employed and employed

Your Universal Credit payment will be calculated based on your combined earnings from self-employment and employment.

Reporting changes in your circumstances

You’ll need to report any change in circumstances, for example if you:

  • close your business
  • start a different kind of business
  • take a permanent job
  • are no longer able to work