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Going from Benefits to Self Employed

(11 Posts)
Empusa Tue 05-Jul-11 20:03:52

Has anyone got any experience/knowledge in this?

I've been off work for about 2 years thanks to health problems, and as it's starting to become obvious that
a) my health is never likely to fully recover
b) living on benefits is the 10th circle of hell

I need a way out. Unfortunately being employed has too many problems (due to my health), so self employed seems to be the best way to go.

Problem of course is that I obviously cannot earn and claim benefits, but neither can I expect a business to be successful overnight. Somehow I need to get enough money to live on whilst I build up the business.

I've looked into part time work, but my health is a massive barrier to many jobs.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 05-Jul-11 20:09:56

part time self employment and tax credits - you'll need to work 16 hours a week on average and once working you lose housing benefit, prescriptions etc etc
but its worth it

Empusa Tue 05-Jul-11 20:12:43

"once working you lose housing benefit, prescriptions etc etc"

Christ.. sounds like a huge leap. I know I'll feel much better to be working again, but oh dear god.. scary stuff.

I shall look into tax credits though. Going to give myself a while to get fully up to scratch again, and get things organised.

alicecalvert Tue 05-Jul-11 20:13:07

My dh is in the same position. JSA adviser thinks it all sounds fantastic, but doesn't know what the rules are, advised dh to look on the internet. He attended some free courses today run by HMRC, which he found really useful - they advised him to just declare his profit/loss to the JSA people each time he signs on, and tell them that HMRC told him to do this!! Obviously it is unlikely he will make a profit at first - as the business will start slowly, partly due to his health, and partly just because that's how it is.... But once he is working more than 16 hours/week (even if not making a profit), he will have to come off JSA and onto working tax credit etc. That's my understanding of it all anyway - it is VERY complicated & we have spent quite a while trying to work it out. Wishing you well with your business - did you have anything particular in mind?

Empusa Tue 05-Jul-11 20:17:12

Yes, thinking of setting up a design company with my DH. He's a photographer, and I do graphic design and web design/development, we're also planning on offering hosting. So people will be able to get all their design work done in one package, rather than having to coordinate multiple designers/photographers/hosting.

Really hope things go well for your DH! It is all very daunting and confusing

alicecalvert Tue 05-Jul-11 23:03:23

wow - that sounds good! Presumably you are getting DLA (which would not be stopped when you came off the other benefits)?? I know it's not much though.....

I'm not sure if ALL the other benefits would stop as soon as you were working - I thought that if you didn't earn very much then some of those things might continue - but please don't take my word for it as we haven't actually tested this theory yet.....

Empusa Tue 05-Jul-11 23:58:40

No, apparently I'm not disabled enough for DLA, so just IS right now.

Ickyface Thu 07-Jul-11 19:46:29

There are schemes that they offer if you're thinking of working for yourself where for the 1st 12 weeks you can keep your benefits as long as you can prove that you're actively trying to get the business up and running. Business link use to provide this scheme but have now lost the contract. Unfortunately in my area the scheme was stopped in April due to the new benefit reforms and a new scheme is not starting till September.

Have you checked out the directgov website, pretty sure there's information on there or ring local benefit office. Good Luck!

yearningforthesun Mon 11-Jul-11 13:49:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LawrieMarlow Mon 11-Jul-11 14:04:44

I am partially employed, partially self employed, claim housing benefit, council tax benefit and tax credits. I also have irregular employment income (fairly seasonal work although the season happens more than once a year).

I had to fill in a lot of forms for housing benefit and need to fill in a self employment form once every few months but it hasn't been too hard to do.

ALTP Thu 21-Jul-11 22:08:12

My partner and I are the same as Lawrie, building up our business. At first we had to submit self employment forms every three months or so but our business is seasonal and income is erratic - after a couple of years they could see that we keep our books very professionally and that they could average out our earnings over the year to calculate our hb and ctb. Gradually these benefits are going down as we earn more but we couldn't do without them yet - as long as you are totally honest about what and how you are doing what you do it really isn't that bad. We never claimed JS or any other allowances and what we now get are top ups = the general idea is to reduce this eventually until we are able to sustain ourselves. You just need to get a good spreadsheet system working to keep a record of your expenses and accounts and if you are working from home make sure you proportion all of your expenses on the business correctly.

Go for it, just be matter of fact with them at first. If you work over 35 hours a week you can get wtc which is calculated on last years earnings just make sure you always get your figures in on time and when asked so that you don't end up being overpaid.

Good luck.

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