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Surviving Self Isolation When Self Employed

myths about working from home

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the UK at the moment, thanks to Covid-19. As it stands, advice is that you only need to self isolate if you are showing symptoms of the virus. The UK Government have promised Statutory Sick Pay from day 1 of Corona related absences from work, but this does not apply for the self employed. So with that in mind, today I am sharing some ideas on surviving self isolation when self employed. This post will mainly focus on those who work from a computer for the most part.

*This is a partnered post

Surviving Self Isolation When Self Employed

This post is being published on 16th March 2020. Advice and information is changing almost daily right now, so it’s important to check the current Government advice here. Additionally, the current NHS advice on Covid-19 can be found here.

The first thing to be aware of is that when you’re self employed in the UK, you can’t claim statutory sick pay. What you can do instead is apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). It is worth noting that you are only eligible for this if you have paid your National Insurance.

working from home hacks - woman sat on armchair with laptop - surviving self isolation when self employed

Apply For Employment and Support Allowance

Those who are self-employed, or people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week can:

  • Make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance. The following information is taken directly from the government support page linked above.
    • For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This applies to those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice. This will ensure self-employed claimants will receive support.
    • People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront, without the current requirement to attend a job centre if they are advised to self-isolate.
    • Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable. The rate you receive is £73.10 a week if you are over 25, £57.90 if you are under 25. This applies only to people affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating in line with advice from Day 1 of sickness, rather than Day 8.

You can of course apply for Universal Credits as well, but this claim will take up to 6 weeks to be awarded and you won’t receive a penny in the meantime. You can always look into self employed loans or get an advance on your Universal Credit claim – if you submit one. This is an interest free loan which is paid back over a year.


Most people who are self employed will have some experience of it being financially challenging at times. There are several things you can do to try to minimise expenditure while self – isolating. These things can help with surviving self isolation when self employed.

Firstly, try not to panic buy too much. While it seems critical that you have enough essentials to survive the next few months, this won’t help you make ends meet. Chances are you’ll only be stuck at home for 2 weeks, max. So shop accordingly. This will free up produce for others and ensure you don’t over spend.

Finally, check out this post on organising your accounts when self employed for more ideas.



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