I have a plan. I want to go self employed. Now it seems a very nice plan in my head but when I sit down and look at the figures it’s not such a good plan. I am a worse case scenario sort of person. I like to know the worse case and be prepared then I know anything else is a piece of cake. So with trusty excel sheet groaning at the amount of calculations and different scenarios, I have studied the plausible situations I am faced. I have taken into account the child and working tax credits, any housing benefit etc that I would be entitled to at each scenario but what gets me is that in starting up the business there is no direct help available for me- to put it simply I am too old or not old enough.
The basics of my situation – I want to become a web site designer. I have been making small websites for myself and friends for long enough to realise it’s my passion. Website design and SEO have been my hobby for many years, so with lots of research and thinking I have decided to take it to the next level. I have always followed the strict regime outlined by the benefit system but in doing so my paying customer number is down there on the nonexistent level.
At nearly 40 I am too old for the New Business schemes that are out there. There are schemes available for the over 50’s who want to be self employed.
Also when I was made redundant I was put on income support automatically as I have two children. Now if I had been put on Job Seekers allowance then the step into self employment would be rewarded with a Self Employment Credit of £50 a week for 16 weeks which is a total of £800 Tip – if made redundant check if income support or Job seekers allowance is the better option- You will have to ask as the pros and cons are not voluntary explained. If I estimate that in the new stages of self employment I won’t be working many hours then this too goes against you. Notch up at least 16 hours plus a week then I get a one off payment of £250 through the Job Grant scheme.
Now if I stay on income support for another 6 months and then launch into being self employed after a full year of income support then I would qualify for In Work Credit. This is £40 a week for 52 weeks, a grand total of £2080.
In the grand scheme of things if I was sure I would be working over 30 hours a week and had lots of customers lined up then yes I would be hugely better off. But in starting up the business the early days are the days that the help is needed when customer numbers are low. It’s not like flicking a light switch and hey presto working lots of hours lots of customers.
So I have no option but to start gradually and inform the relative benefit sections of my increase in hours and income. This also cancels out the entitlement of the above schemes. I think this post could be now called I am about to launch a business on nothing.
Now don’t get me wrong I know it will be a lot of hard work to start up it wouldn’t be rewarding if it was easy. I am not looking for an easy route. It’s just sad that out of all the help that is out there I don’t fit into any of the categories.
Help that is out there for single mums going self employed.
Working Tax Credit – eligible when working over 16 hours a week.
Income support – eligible if working under 16 hours a week.
In Work Credit – tax free payment of £40 per week for up to 52 weeks. You may get it if you are bringing up children alone, will be working more than 16 hours a week and expect to work for 5 weeks. You also have to be in receipt of Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance for 52 weeks prior to starting self employment.
Job Grant– a tax free lump sum (£250 for single parents) you need to have been claiming Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Income Support,
Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance for more than 6 months and start work for more than 16 hours a week.
Self Employment Credit – You need to have been claiming Job Seekers Allowance and move into self employment and work 16 hours a week or more. Self Employment Credit is not available if you claim Return to Work Credit or In Work Credit. It is paid at a rate of £50 per week up to 16 weeks. It is not counted as income when tax credits and Housing Benefit are calculated.
The Prince’s Trust– helps 18 – 30 unemployed startÂ up their own business.
Prime – Helps the over 50’s set up their own business.
Please – if there any any self employed single mums out there get in touch and share your experiences.