ESA and UC - returning to work as a self employed sole trader — Scope | Disability forum
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ESA and UC - returning to work as a self employed sole trader

GettingBetter Member Posts: 5 Listener
edited April 2018 in Work and employment
I am 62 years old and in ESA Support Group [PTSD/mental} {4years+}.
I recently moved in to a Universal Credit Full Service Area.
I would now like to return to work as Self Employed/Sole Trader.

Can someone please tell me what the process is?

1)If my request to go to work as Self Employed triggers a reassessment that puts me in WRAG, will that then be under UC?
2)Can I volunteer to migrate to UC from ESA SG now, and when ready, go Self Employed?
3}What is the minnium hours worked for me to qualify for UC?
4)Are there any other options open to me?


  • CockneyRebel
    CockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,212 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi John and welcome

    1) A change of circumstance will put you under but if you are only claiming ESA SG that should stay outside UC It should not trigger a reassessment. Only IR benefits are subject to UC
    Are you doing this as permmited work ?
    Be careful that the work you do does not conflict with the reasons for your claim

    2) try putting your details into an online benefit calculator to see if it is beneficial

    3) have a look at


    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • JennysDad
    JennysDad Member Posts: 2,299 Disability Gamechanger
    Just saying hello and welcome to the community, John @GettingBetter. Very glad to have you with us.
    With CockneyRebel on your side you're in the best of hands. If there is anything else we might be able to help you with, please don't hesitate to talk to us.
    Warmest best wishes to you
  • GettingBetter
    GettingBetter Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi CockneyRebel
    Thanks for the reply.

    I have a jobcentreplus letter from last year which says; You were awarded Employment Support Allowance Income Related.

    And I have a another letter about how much I get from last month saying; The payment of Employment Support Allowance is based on your National Insurance Contribution records....
    I am in the ESA Support Group.

    I hope to be working full time as self employed if the work is there, but might get no work some weeks. That is why I need the safety of benefits.
    If the work is there, then I will be as happy to have no benefits.

    If they do move me to UC, what is the minnimum hours I have to work to qualify for benefits?

    Making the first move is very stressfull, so any help is appreciated.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @GettingBetter
    I have passed this post onto the @BenefitsTrainingCo and to our employment advisors @pia_scope @Zaid_Scope @Donisha_scope @rian_scope @mwila_scope

    So I hope someone will be able to help you soon.

    You can also try getting in touch with the Scope helpline on 0808 800 3333 

    Best wishes!
    Senior online community officer
  • GettingBetter
    GettingBetter Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Many Thanks
  • Pia_Scope
    Pia_Scope Scope Support to Work service Posts: 41 Courageous
    [email protected]

    Your query is quite complex but I will try to answer as best as I can.

    As you are unsure about the hours of work that you will gain from self-employment, it is probably best for you to stay under 16 hours per week and remain on ESA until you know if the self -employment is sustainable and expected to provide an increase in earnings.

    Once you work 16 hours or more your ESA claim should stop, but you might be able to claim working tax credit if you can provide a cash flow that indicates an expected increase in earnings. 

    As you live in a live UC area you would be asked to make a claim for UC should you realise that you cannot sustain yourself financially with your self-employment.
    When making a claim you would automatically be treated as capable of work, after the self-employment, and so might not be able to qualify for any disability elements paid in UC.
    (You might be able to make an ESA claim again but the process could be long and leave you without any income whilst processed)

    Under UC there is no minimum working hours in regard to the claim, instead the amount that you will receive is calculated based on your earnings. 
    The problem with this is that your income might fluctuate which could leave you worse off.

    So, taking all this into consideration, my best advice to you would be to start off your self-employment working less than 16 hours per week. That way, unless you earn over £120 per week, you will still be in receipt of your ESA as well as possible housing benefit.
    This would also give you time to see if your business is profitable. 

    I wish you all the best & hope that whatever decision you will come to will turn out beneficial.

    King Regards

    Scope Employment Advisor
    Phone: 0300 222 5742
    Email: [email protected]


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