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Am I entitled ? - Carers UK Forum

Am I entitled ?

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Hi all..

I was wondering if anyone out there could help me, as the information on 'Direct.Gov'
isnt very clear, let alone helpful !

I have been caring for my Father since April 2013, and I decided to register as Self Employed in May 2013, to earn a bit of extra money.

Im sticking with all the rules.. not earning more than £100 pw,ect and I make sure that my hours work around my Dad's needs.

Work really hasnt brought in the extra pounds I was hoping for and living off CA only pays my monthly out-goings. Im lucky to be earning £20 for 3 hours work !

Like most of us, things really are tight and its a struggle.

So, although Self Employed and I have a 'Certificate of Low Income' which excuses me from National Insurance Contributions, am I entitled to claim anything else than CA ?

Im not being greedy, but the 'Direct.Gov' website gives me the impression that theres loads of money waiting to be picked up !

Any advice would be warmly appreciated x
Hi Paul,
Apart from a few various jobs and a few stints of unemplyment, I’ve been self-employed most of my adult life. However, I was last self-employed 2010, so all the rules are bound to have changed.
One thing I bet that hasn’t changed is that the DWP seems only to be able to cope with people on fixed hours with fixed wages. Anything variable seems to flummox them. I’m afraid the benefits system isn’t geared up to the needs of the self-employed; that’s my experience of it anyway.

I had to make a very stark choice when I gave up my self-employment status over 3yrs ago. Struggle on and hope the recession bottomed out or risk losing my flat. A guaranteed roof over your head is far more important than fussing over savings already lost, and the time/energy put into my business. I’d never get any of that back so why cry over spilt milk, and I gave my business up and signed on.
A few months later I was the part time carer for my mum, and shortly after that I got a part time job stacking shelves. Tesco’s take a lot of flak, but they were brilliant with me, bending over backwards to give me hours that suited my care commitments, etc.
Perhaps you could consider something similar.

If you were to surrender your self-employment status, you will get a £11.95 top up of IS, plus the Carer Premium of £33.30. My income now is £105 per week, as opposed to just the £59.75 CA.
All of the above applies only if CA is your only source of income, as it was with myself.
Also never take the info given to you in Job Centre Plus as correct. Twice I asked them about an IS top up, and twice they told me I wasn’t entitled to it. It wasn’t until I joined this forum, 3 months after I became a full time carer and had to give up my job, that I found out I was. You can imagine how angry I was at the JC+. I applied immediately. It took about 3 weeks to get sorted and they back dated my claim by a month.

These are awful economic times, and there’s absolutely no shame in surrendering your self-employment status; at least you gave it a go. You can always try again later when/if things pick up. If you also want to do something other than caring for your sanity's sake, perhaps becoming a volunteer worker would help?
SussexRox above has a posting with a website on it all about becoming a dementia awareness raiser in your community. I joined up immediately (my mum has dementia), and I'm attending my 1 day workshop in Nov run by the Alzheimer's Society, and am currently doing the internet course they sent me. I'm not necessarily suggesting you do likewise, I'm just trying to give you an idea of what's out there.

Finally, if you wish to soldier on with self-employment have you got your certificate for free prescriptions, dental care, glasses, etc? I can’t remember what it’s called but you can pick them up at any doctors surgery, dentists, etc. They are worth their weight in gold when you’re on a low income.
Believe it or not, just having CA as your only income does not qualify you for free prescriptions, etc. However, if you receive just 1p of IS you automatically qualify for free NHS stuff.
Hope I’ve given you some food for thought, and good luck with it all.
thanks guys.. Its nice to know Im not alone out there.

Thank You both for getting back to me. I will look into the advice you have given me

regards.. Paul
Not sure if this is helpful or not, but when I transferred from paid employment to self-employment, at first I earned so little the taxman never sent me a tax form! I phoned to say I hadn't got one and was told I declared so little the previous year that they hadn't bothered to send me one the second year.

Why I'm saying this is that remember that until you earn over your personal allowance (about £8k at the mo, though it varies year on year - pretty easy to find on the .gov site and I can post it here if you want), you won't be paying tax anyway, whatever source it comes to! So does it really matter if you rescind your s-e status for the moment? It makes no difference to the tax man (assuming you make below that PA threshold). That said, the dread hand of NI (EIGHT PER CENT!!!!) will probably be harder to lift off your shoulders without formally declaring yourself 'out of work'.
To right it will. I'm still receiving letters from them, demanding about £35. I've written back informing them that I owe them nothing; I never made a profit (which they base their calculations on.) I told them, polity but firmly, to check with the tax office.
Oh, and by the way, if you want to investigate my records, I've still got them. Feel free to turn up at any time. I also told them that they'd better get a move on, as I'd give these record a 'viking' funeral in 2016.
And I will to; I expect I'll then receive a fine from my local Authority for setting alight their boat lake!
Worth it though, methinks!
Update:

Thank you, to everyone who advised me on this subject..

I phoned the people responsible at 'Income Support' and without having to wait for 45minutes to be connected, I had a nice chat to a polite lady who had all the time in the World for me.

She done my application for 'IS' over the phone, and even took my bank details, which to me, sounds hopeful.

Although Ive managed to keep my 'self employed' status, Im booked in for an interview at the local JC+, who I guess will arrange my 'sign on' days.

The lady advisor said, I could still work as Self Employed, but its all about hours (16pw) and earnings.. She didnt say but Im sure I will find out more in time.

I'll be back later in week to say how the appointment went (hopefully positive !).
Im not celebrating, but I thought my own experiences will go to someone else who may be in the same position as me.

Regards, Paul x