SELF-EMPLOYED people unable to work will be able to claim grants for up to £7,500, the chancellor has announced. The grant has been extended, covering
SELF-EMPLOYED people unable to work will be able to claim grants for up to £7,500, the chancellor has announced.
The grant has been extended, covering November to January, and will now be calculated using 80% of trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.
Previously self-employed workers were only set to receive government grants worth 40% of average monthly profits from November through to January 2021.
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The payments will be based on an average of three years of accounts.
But it’s likely only about 1.7million, a third of the UK’s self-employed, will qualify, with those who have separate earnings as company employees will be excluded.
If you are affected by this, you could try and claim Universal Credit to get help with cash flow issues.
How to apply for Universal Credit
You’ll need to apply to the new welfare system via the gov.uk website, starting by setting up an online account.
This is what you’ll use to manage your account later on.
Many people are complaining that they are having to wait in queues of up to 30,000 people just to get on to the website.
But DWP has revealed when its website is quietest to help those applying or checking for updates.
To make an account, you’ll need an email address and a phone number.
After that, you’ll need to answer a set of questions about your current circumstances, known as your “to do list”.
How to contact Universal Credit
HERE’S how to get in touch with Universal Credit:
- Through your online account here,
- By calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 (Textphone: 0800 328 1344),
- By NGT text relay – if you cannot hear or speak on the phone: 18001 then 0800 328 5644,
- In welsh language on 0800 328 1744.
These include things like when you last received payment for a job, what your household income is and how many people depend on you financially.
If you’ve lost your job, Citizens Advice recommends that you don’t apply until you’ve received your final wages or any final holiday pay.
This is because any money you receive after you’ve applied for Universal Credit will count as income and mean that you’re entitled to less in your first payment.
You will then need to confirm your identity online.
In certain circumstances, you’ll be able to apply over the phone, such as those who don’t have regular access to the internet, are visually impaired, or have a physical condition that stops you from using a computer or smartphone.
To do this, you will need to contact the Universal Credit helpline to ask if you can apply by phone or arrange a home visit.
In this case, someone can call them on your behalf if you can’t do it yourself.
What to do if you can’t get through over the phone
After you’ve applied for the service online, you’ll need to be interviewed by a work coach over the phone in order to complete your application.
They will call you at an agreed time, but many people are complaining that the next available slot isn’t for another few months.
Brits are banned from visiting any Jobcentre in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.
But as a result, phone lines have become overwhelmed with callers looking to get help with Universal Credit.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is advising customers who can’t get through over the phone to use the online services instead.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any other way of getting in touch with the DWP at the moment, until they are able to increase capacity.
But local jobcentres will now call you back if they’ve seen you’ve applied online but haven’t been able to get through on the phone to get an appointment yet.
They’ll use your online journal to let you know they’ll be calling.
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How to work out what I’m entitled to
Trying to work out how much Universal Credit you can get can be overwhelming.
There are so many different elements that can affect your claim that it makes the whole process even more complicated.
You will need:
- Details of all your income, such as existing benefits, tax credits, earnings from employment and your pensions,
- Details of your partner’s income if you’re married, in a civil partnership or living with someone as a couple. You will be assessed as a couple
- Information on any savings you have,
- How much you pay in Council Tax per year and whether you get any discounts, reductions or exemptions,
- Details of your rent or mortgage payments,
- Employment and income information about anyone else living with you, such as grown-up children,
- Details about your Carer’s Allowance if you receive it.
You need to make sure that the information is as accurate as possible so that you can get the best estimate.