Many of our members have told us that they struggled in recent months due the pandemic and the impact this has had on incomes and livelihoods. As a consequence, we know that many of you could be turning to the welfare system for the first time.
We know that the welfare system in the UK can be difficult to navigate, which is why we have provided a guide to some of the most common benefits our members may be looking to access to help you understand and access them.
This page provides guidance to the benefits members may want to access. We’ve pulled together everything into one place – because there are many different systems that overlap. It doesn’t cover everything but does cover the main benefits that most people in the UK are likely to be eligible for.
How do I get more help?
If you aren’t sure what you are entitled to, we recommend either using a free online calculator, or approaching the job centre, or local Citizen’s advice. If you have concerns about housing, you can speak to Shelter. If you need support managing a benefits dispute, our service centre here at Community are here to help.
How to find out what you are entitled to
We recommend the calculator at Entitledto be your first stop, you simply need to enter details about where you live, any benefits you are already receiving and your income. This will then helpfully explain to you all the benefits you may be entitled to and is kept up to date if government rules change.
There are several schemes which are specifically designed to help the self-employed. We’ve broken down the details of Start Up Loans and New Enterprise Allowance for members. It is worth noting that the self-employed are eligible for a lot of the support that employees can get, such as Universal Credit, however there are some caveats such as the minimum income floor which we explain in more detail in the guide.
At Community, we’ve also been campaigning hard for the self-employed to have access to the same sorts of safety net that employed people benefit from. Unfortunately, self-employed people are not entitled to all the same benefits employed people are. We believe that this is unfair and are campaigning at government level for people who work hard and take on the risk of starting up a small business to be protected from crises or through no fault of their own
Best kept secrets: Access to Work
Disabled members can also find information about which benefits they may be entitled to here. Start on this page to understand some of the benefits that you may be entitled to, before referring to our main guide for specific details about each benefit and how to apply.
Access to Work is a great way for disabled people to get access to the support that you need to work. But not many people know about it. If you’re disabled, you may be able to get funding for any adjustments that need to be made to help you do your job.
If you know a friend or family member who is disabled and might benefit from funding to make doing their job easier, then ask them if they have heard about access to work. The adjustments you can get through access to work may well be over and above any reasonable adjustments an employer will have to make.
Anna Mowbray works in Community’s research and policy team.