Self-employed but not currently working or earning
You continue to be treated as a self-employed person if you are temporarily unable to work due to sickness or an accident.
You also continue to be treated as self-employed if you are taking time out that is the equivalent of maternity leave.
If you are not earning anything from your self-employment you are still regarded as self-employed as long as you
are engaged in carrying on your business (for example looking for more work, doing administrative tasks). But if
you apply for some benefits and your earnings from self-employment are too low to pay national insurance (£242
per week from July 2022), the benefits authority may question whether your self-employment was genuine. Get
advice if this happens.
From 24th July 2018 onwards if your business ends you continue to be treated as self-employed in a similar way to a worker while you are registered as unemployed.
If you started work in the UK but have since lost your job you will still retain your worker status if:
- you have worked in the UK for at least one year (which need not be continuous) and are registered with the Jobcentre Plus as unemployed (this usually involves 'signing on' and looking for work); you keep your worker status for as long as you remain registered unemployed
- you have worked in the UK for less than a year and are registered with the Jobcentre Plus - you will keep your worker status for at least six months whilst you are registered unemployed
- you are temporarily unable to work because of illness or accident (this may be for some years, as long as there is medical evidence that you will be able to return to work), pregnancy (11 weeks before expected confinement) or up to one after giving birth
- you have started vocational training related to your previous job
- you have lost your job and started vocational training of any sort.
If you are a worker who has become permanently unable to work because of illness or accident you may get the permanent right to reside (and entitlement to benefits and housing) if:
- you have worked for two years in the UK, or
- you have worked for less time but you became unable to work because of an industrial injury or occupational disease.
In Scotland (but not in England and Wales) all EEA nationals with a right to reside are entitled to apply for local authority housing or homelessness assistance, including jobseekers as well as workers, retired workers and people who retain their worker status. But in England, Scotland and Wales jobseekers are not entitled to universal credit or housing benefit unless they have some other right to reside.