Benefits Expert: Help for self-employed?

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Q My uncle is 61 in December and self-employed and has been told he will soon be entitled to Pension Credit.

How much savings is he allowed to have in the bank and still qualify? Also would he be entitled to any help with his £90 a week rent?

Julie (by email).

A If he was born in December 1950 he would already have reached the Pension Credit qualifying age on either July 6 or September 6 this year.

There is no upper savings limit for Pension Credit. The first £10,000 of a person’s savings is ignored and every £500 of savings above £10,000 is treated as £1 a week income.

If your uncle qualifies for Guarantee Pension Credit he will also qualify for maximum Housing and Council Tax Benefits.

If he has too much coming in to qualify for Pension Credit he may still qualify for partial help with his rent and Council Tax provided his savings are no more than £16,000.

Q I am 62 and about to be made redundant. Apart from my redundancy money I will have no savings and only £150 a month coming in from two private pensions. I am single, paying £72 a week rent. What should I be claiming?

Mr. B (by email).

A You are young enough to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance but old enough to claim Pension Credit.

You have a choice but Pension Credit is more generous. With savings under £10,000 you will qualify for about £103 a week plus full rent and Council Tax rebates.

Q My boyfriend is unemployed and desperate to find a job. He is thinking of going self-employed and wonders if he there are any Government incentives for him if he does.

Ann (by email).

A As well as Working Tax Credit which will be based upon his net self-employed profits, there is the New Enterprise Allowance from Jobcentre Plus.

He can apply for this if he has been getting Jobseeker’s Allowance for six months. It pays £65 a week for 13 weeks and £33 for the 13 weeks after that. There is also a loan of up to £1,000 for start-up expenses.

Q Can you settle a debate? Does Incapacity Benefit stop when State Pension starts?


A Yes. Incapacity Benefit, and Employment and Support Allowance which is replacing it, cannot be paid beyond State Pension age.

Q Are you allowed to work or claim Jobseeker’s Allowance while claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?

Dave (by email).

A Yes. But if you think your condition has improved since you claimed DLA you must report it.