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Taking Sick Leave When You’re Self Employed

sick young woman with box of paper napkins sitting in bed

Taking time off work for health reasons is usually enough of a worry without adding financial pressure into the mix. Most people who work full or part time for an employer are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), but sadly those who are self-employed are not eligible.

There are other benefits available for self-employed people who can’t work because of illness, injury, or disability.

Claiming benefits as a Self Employed person who becomes sick, injured, or disabled

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) can be claimed by people who are employed, self-employed, unemployed, or classed as a student. You can only claim it if you are off sick but not getting SSP or Jobseeker’s Allowance, and are under state pension age.

To be eligible for ESA you must have a sick note from your Doctor. You will also need to complete a claim form called an NSESAF1. The form can either be downloaded from the internet, ordered by telephone, or collected from your local Jobcentre Plus.

Part of the assessment process involves demonstrating that you are unable to work because of your illness, injury, or disability. To do this, you might be asked to complete a questionnaire called a Work Capability Assessment. An in-person appointment to make a medical assessment might also be required. If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness then you will not have to be assessed.

Read more about ESA

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP is a benefit allowance for people who have extra care needs or difficulty getting around as a result of a disability or long term health condition.

It is made up of two components, mobility and daily living. The mobility component is if you need help getting about. The daily living element is paid if you need extra help with everyday activities such as washing or getting dressed.

You can claim for PIP if you are aged 16 to 64, even if you are working. You must show you have needed this type of support for at least 3 months, and expect to need it for at least another 9.

Read more about PIP

There are other benefits to claim as a self-employed person who needs help with housing, transport, care, and living costs. For more information, the following websites offer free and impartial information.

The Money Advice Service

Citizens Advice

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