Employment and Support Allowance for business owners during the coronavirus pandemic

This government scheme offers support for those claiming Universal Credit, and who cannot work due to sickness, disability or injury.

15 April 2020

This information is based on what's provided on the gov website as of 15 April 2020. We are working hard to ensure that all content on our site is up to date, and will make sure that this page is updated when more information is available.

What is Employment and Support Allowance

Employment and Support Allowance is a benefit for those who already receive Universal Credit and are unable to work due to sickness, disability or injury. This used to start on the eighth day, but now you could receive this support from day one.

Am I eligible?

  • You’ll need to have been working within the last two to three years and made Class 1 or Class 2 national Insurance contributions through employment or self-employment
  • You’ll also need a sick / doctors note, but you can self-certify for the first seven days so you can begin making your claim straight away
  • You'll need to already receive Universal Credit

How can I apply?

If you receive Universal Credit already, then Jobcentre Plus will have assigned you a work coach and case manager. You’ll need to speak to them about applying for Employment and Support Allowance.

If you don’t already receive Universal Credit, you’ll need to call their helpline to begin a new claim.

Universal Credit helpline:

Telephone: 0800 328 5644 (choose option 2) Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

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Dan is part of the content team at iwoca. He writes articles explaining financial topics, as well as guides on the best support for small businesses during coronavirus.

Article updated on: 8 October 2020

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