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Freelancer: Can I Qualify for Unemployment Benefit?

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 26 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Freelance Unemployment Benefits

Q.

I have been working as a freelance architect over the past 3 years, classified as self employed, but have been unable to get another freelance position.

What do I need to do to qualify for unemployment benefit? Also, if I have savings would this affect me?

(Ms George Clark, 15 September 2008)

A.

As you are unemployed, you may be entitled to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance. There are two elements to this. The ‘contributory’ Jobseeker’s Allowance is based upon your National Insurance contributions and credits over recent years and this lasts for 6 months. However, as you have been self-employed for the past 3 years, entitlement to this requires the recent payment of Class 1 National Insurance contributions and as those who are self-employed pay Class 2 contributions, it’s unlikely that you would qualify for contributions-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

However, you could be eligible to claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. This is an income-related (means-tested) benefit and the amount you may be entitled to receive will depend upon the number and ages of any dependants and any income which is available to you and your family, including savings.

When it comes to savings, if they exceed £16,000, you will not be entitled to income-based jobseeker’s allowance until they fall below that threshold. If you do qualify, however, you will be entitled to receive this benefit for as long as it’s needed, providing that the qualifying conditions continue to be met.

As its name would suggest, in order to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must be available for work and be prepared to actively seek work. You’ll also be required to keep records of your search for work as evidence and might be asked to produce this periodically.

Naturally, should you decide at some point to resume your self-employment status, you’ll need to inform your local JobCentre Plus.

To find out more, you should telephone your local JobCentre Plus and make an appointment to see one of their advisors. It’s important to do this straight away because as soon as you have registered with them, any entitlement to benefit will be backdated to the day you inform them, so even if you have to wait a week or two for an appointment, your claim will be backdated to the day you booked the appointment. In addition to Jobseeker’s Allowance, the advisor will also be able to help you in your quest to get back into employment, and they will also be able to tell you about any other state benefits you might also be entitled to.

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After my former company ( where I had 24 hrs. contract) went for compulsory liquidation, I jointedwith a new company who still provide service in the same building for a 0 hrs. contract. I have been working with new company for the last 4 month and they gave me 24 to 28 hrs. but they suddenly dropped my hours to 17 hrs. per week saying that I need to complete a certain course that they may arrange for me in future. I seek your advice.
Mo - 26-May-18 @ 2:03 PM
unknown - Your Question:
I have worked for a company for the last 4 years o a 0 contract, however I have worked every single week for 39 hours or more. I am now being informed with immediate effect that this will be reduced 2 or 3 days a week if I am lucky. Work is being farmed out to other sources. What rights do I have

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract. This will tell you what your employer can and cannot do with regards to a change in hours.
WorkingRights - 19-Sep-17 @ 4:00 PM
I have worked for a company for the last 4 years o a 0 contract, however I have worked every single week for 39 hours or more. I am now being informed with immediate effect that this will be reduced 2 or 3 days a week if I am lucky. Work is being farmed out to other sources. What rights do I have
unknown - 18-Sep-17 @ 3:11 PM
my wage as a chef de partie is normmaly been above team leader at £8.04 and team leader at £7.90 but as of 1/4/17 when minimum wage went up they now get £8.20 and mine remains the same. I asked my boss who said its because I'm on cdp rate and it will not change I am on a perminant contract of 30 hrs but for 2 yrs iv always worked an average of 50hrs a week.but now I get less than 40 can they do this to me. cdp has always been paid at higher rate than team leader till now
marj - 5-Jun-17 @ 9:13 PM
My wife has been tuped over to another cleaning company after 27 years.Her working week has been 20 hours ,the new company want to half this to 10 hrs.Can they do this under the TUPE laws. She joined them October 2016 now they want to do this
mk5 7dt - 9-Feb-17 @ 12:45 PM
Hello, I need some advise in regards of resigning my job and whether I am entitled to receive JSA? I have been in my job for over 8 years, can't work up the career ladder and have been told by my management many times, that it is time for me to leave if I am unhappy and feeling stuck in my job. My question is if I hand in my resignation, would I be able to receive JSA until I find another job? I have read different information on this and hence confused and in need of some advise. Thanks a lot!
Angel - 26-Mar-16 @ 9:11 PM
Need some advice please.Have a friend from overseas on Working Visa.She has a job as a waitress , casual contract. On her roster, if for example it says 4pm till 10pm...on a couple of occasions they have sent her home after only 2 hours. Is the employer legally obliged to have her stay longer?????
Linda - 23-Dec-15 @ 12:49 PM
@Chloe - a new Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) sanction regime was introduced in October 2012. If he wants to claim JSA, he may be sanctioned if he leaves his job voluntarily. It means his Jobs and Benefits Office can delay his Jobseeker's Allowance for up to 26 weeks if he quits without good reason. If he decides to claim constructive dismissal on the back of the information you have given, make sure they know. If he cannot claim Jobseeker's Allowance, dependent upon circumstances he might still be able to claim a hardship payment, which is a reduced amount of Jobseeker's Allowance.
MattK - 24-Oct-14 @ 11:25 AM
My partner is a few weeks into starting a new job, on a probationary period of 3 months. His new company have messed him round from minute one, messing up his wages, empty promises, sending him away for long periods of time for work etc... If he hands in his notice during probation period, is he still entitled to JSA? Or can he not claim for another 6 weeks, we need to know where he stands as we've just had a baby. Please get back asap.
Chloe - 23-Oct-14 @ 7:48 PM
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