Covid 19 - 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 your business has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

You may be able to get a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

If you get the grant, your Universal Credit payments may stop or go down.

Reporting your income and expenses At the end of each monthly assessment period, you’ll need to report:

- how much you earned from self-employment, even if it’s nothing

- any money you paid into a pension

- payments into and out of your business


This also applies to company directors, even those paying themselves by PAYE. Do this by completing the ‘Report your income and expenses’ section in your online Universal Credit account.

Payments into and out of your business

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

  • the total amount your business received

  • how much your business spent on different types of expenses, such as travel costs, stock, equipment and tools, protective clothing and office costs

  • how much tax and National Insurance your business paid

There’s more guidance about reporting your income and expenses from self-employment, which includes how to work out your income and the expenses you can include.

Your business’s property

You do not need to report things your company already owns (‘business assets’), such as machinery, buildings or cash in your company account.

Showing that self-employment is your main work

To claim Universal Credit if you’re self-employed, you need to show that self-employment is your main work.

This includes showing that:

  • self-employment is your main job or your main source of income

  • you get regular work from self-employment

  • your work is organised - this means you have invoices and receipts, or accounts

  • you expect to make a profit

Do this by giving your work coach evidence of your:

  • tax returns, accounts and any business plan

  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), if you’re registered for Self Assessment

  • customer and supplier lists, receipts and invoices

  • marketing materials

If you can show all these things, you’ll be considered ‘gainfully self-employed’. This means you do not have to look for other work and can concentrate on growing your business.

If you cannot show all these things, you might have to look for other work if you want to keep getting Universal Credit.

This depends on your circumstances - you’ll agree this when you meet your work coach.


More information on HMRC site