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The law on this page only applies to you if you entered the UK before 1 January 2021, and from 1 July 2021 only you if applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021: see further details.

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 (£166 per week in 2019/20), 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.

Workers who are temporarily out of work

If you started work in the UK but have since lost your job you will still retain your worker status if:

Workers who become permanently unable to work

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:

In Scotland all EEA nationals with a right to reside are entitled to apply for local authority housing or homelessness assistance, whether covered by the worker and self-employed rules or not. But the rules for housing benefit are different, and some rights to reside do not qualify you for housing benefit, or only do so if you are also habitually resident.