Support Group & self employed — Scope | Disability forum
Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

Support Group & self employed

RedKite Member Posts: 2 Listener
Hi folks, 
I'm in the support group and am wondering if I can work/self employed. I have an opportunity to earn money that I can do despite my disability. Can I work,  is there restrictions on the work I do and will doing so put my benefits at risk? I'm only 40/60 sure I can do this work and wouldn't want to go through applying for benefits again if it doesn't work out.

Thank you,


  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,676 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @RedKite I found this information from CAB:

    You can do certain paid or unpaid work while you’re getting ESA and it won’t affect your benefit. This is called ‘permitted work’.
    You can do permitted work whether you’re in the support group or the work-related activity group.
    Permitted work means you can:
    • work and earn up to £20 a week
    • work less than 16 hours a week, and earn up to £120.00 a week for up to 52 weeks (there’s no time limit of 52 weeks if you’re in the support group)
    • do work that’s part of a treatment programme done under medical supervision while you’re in hospital or attending as an out-patient
    • work and earn up to £120.00 a week if it’s work that’s ‘supported permitted work’ - there’s no limit to the number of hours per week or length of time you can do
    Supported permitted work is work that’s supervised by someone from a local council or a voluntary organisation whose job it is to arrange work for disabled people.

    If you’re going to start doing permitted work, supported permitted work, or volunteering, you should tell the Department for Work and Pensions (the DWP) by calling the ESA helpline.

    ESA helpline
    Telephone: 0800 055 6688
    Textphone: 0800 023 4888
    Welsh language telephone: 0800 012 1888
    Open Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 6.00pm
    Senior online community officer
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering
    edited April 2017
    Hello. I agree with Sam that 'permitted work' is an excellent way of trying out some work before committing yourself to full time work and having to come off ESA. The information above is useful. There is also a new permitted work form which the DWP have just put onto their website:

    It would be a good idea to print off this form and have a good look at it before you commit. I need to give a warning though! Permitted work has all kinds of positives (not least because any permitted work earnings are disregarded), but you do need to be careful. Sometimes the DWP can call you in for a reassessment of your ESA if they think it looks like you have 'got better' to the extent that you may not need ESA any more, or you may not satisfy the criteria for the Support Group any more. You need to be really sure that the reasons you got into the Support Group are still the case, and that any work you do does not contradict the reasons you get ESA.

    It is also preferable that any permitted work you do is relatively casual - i.e it's the kind of work where you wouldn't get the sack if you were too unwell to go in. I'm not sure that self-employment really fits with permitted work (although other advisers may disagree with me). Although there's nothing in the regulations which prohibits it, I'm not sure that DWP would be that enthused about it and I think it might be better to save that option for when you decide to come off ESA. 
    Good luck!


    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • RedKite
    RedKite Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thank you very much. My idea is to be employed less than 16 hours and at times that suit me. Your words have encouraged me and your highlighting of risk is appreciated. 


Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.

Do you need advice on your energy costs?

Scope’s Disability Energy Support service is open to any disabled household in England or Wales in which one or more disabled people live. You can get free advice from an expert adviser on managing energy debt, switching tariffs, contacting your supplier and more. Find out more information by visiting our
Disability Energy Support webpage.