I was self-employed can I claim JSA?

I'm a self-employed hairdresser, but I've just lost my job. Can I claim Jobseeker's Allowance after being self-employed? If not, are there any benefits I can claim? I have no children and I share a rented flat with my boyfriend.

Unfortunately, there’s arguably not much in the way of self-employed support out there. As you’ve been self-employed you won’t have paid class one National Insurance contributions. This means you won’t be able to claim New Style JSA because this is based on having paid enough class one contributions during the previous two tax years, but you should be able to apply for financial support in the form of Universal Credit instead. See our article on Universal credit here.

You can apply for Universal Credit if you and your partner have housing costs, and £16,000 or less in savings between you. Your partner’s income will be taken into account when it comes to the eligibility criteria as you’ll need to apply for Universal Credit as a couple.

Other self employed support

As you’re renting, you may also be able to claim Council Tax Reduction. Like Universal Credit, this benefit is means tested, so your partner’s income will be taken into account and might mean you won’t get a significant reduction. You need to contact your local council to make a claim as each council runs its own scheme.

You can get a good idea of whether you’ll be entitled to each of these support schemes using this online benefits calculator. You may also want to visit your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) and ask for a full benefits check – they can also advise you on any problems with applying.

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