Starting a business: advice for people with a disability

Starting a business when on benefits


If you are set on the idea of running your own business then the first step is careful preparation. Make sure you have planned exactly what you want to do and how to fund it. One of the barriers to self-employment that disabled people have identified is the potential impact on benefits.

Information for people on benefits

In the early stages of considering self-employment you might think about staying on benefits. The Social Security Agency can provide information on how starting your own business may impact on your benefits.

nidirect provide contact details for your local Jobs and Benefits Office/Job Centre.

The Employment Service Adviser (Department for Communities) can provide information on the different measures that can help you, depending on which benefits you are currently receiving. Speak to an Employment Service Adviser at your local Jobs and Benefits Office/Job Centre about the range of help and support including Travel to Interview Scheme, Job Grant and Return to Work Credit.

Permitted work

Under permitted work rules you can work for up to 16 hours per week and earn up to £131.50 per week without it impacting on benefits. You may be eligible to trade under the permitted work rules for 12 months giving you some time to decide if self-employment is for you.

nidirect provide information about Employment and Support Allowance and information about permitted work while claiming benefits. You can also contact the Permitted Work team in the Social Security Agency on Tel 028 9560 5014.

Working Tax Credit

Once you are ready to come off benefit and work for 16 hours or more, you can apply for Working Tax Credits. These are based on the hours you work and get paid for, or expect to be paid for. You can claim whether you are an employee or a self-employed person. If you have a disability and usually work 16 hours or more a week, you may be able to get extra Working Tax Credit.

Read nidirect's guidance on Working Tax Credits.

Universal Credit

If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit, you must report your self-employed earnings at the end of each monthly assessment period. To find more information, get in touch with your work coach. nidirect provides further information on what to do if you are self-employed while claiming Universal Credit.