The government is expected to announce measures to support the self-employed through the current crisis on Thursday 26 March 2020. In the meantime, it has made some changes to the support available through working tax credits and universal credit which will provide some help to the self-employed.
Increases in the standard rates
The standard rate for universal credit and tax credits will both increase by £20 a week for one year from 6 April 2020. This increase is in addition to the increase already announced, meaning claimants will be up to £1,040 better off.
The standard monthly allowances for universal credit are:
Support for rental paymentsThe government has significantly increased the support available for payments of rent by those claiming universal credits. From April, local housing allowance rates will cover at least 30% of market rents in each area. For example, in one London borough, for a two-bed home the maximum was £1,390 per month and it could now be as high as £1,550 per month. The housing element of universal credit can also be used to cover mortgage interest and service charges.
Additional elements of universal creditAdditional monthly allowances for children Additional allowances are available to those with children. For 2019/20 these are:
Childcare costsUp to 85% of the cost of childcare (for 2019/20 up to £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children).
Disability and caring responsibilitiesAdditional monthly amounts are available for claimants:
Other supportClaiming universal credits may also unlock other benefits such as free school meals, a reduction in council tax and help with prescription costs and dental treatment. See the full list of additional support.
A previous article by the Tax Faculty outlines the other support available through the benefits system and sources of further advice.
Further support from ICAEW on the coronavirus outbreak