Unemployment benefits for freelancers explained

Working freelance gives you a lot of flexibility and in a lot of cases it can be more profitable than working on a fixed contract. In general with freelancing, the more work you do the more money you make. The downside is that if work dries up, your wages suffer. Thankfully you can get unemployment benefits for freelancers. We’ll guide you through the process.
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Contribution-based Jobseekers Allowance

The Jobseekers Allowance benefit is open to all workers in the UK but if you’re working freelance, you can’t claim all of it. This is how the benefit works: The contribution part of the allowance is based on an individual’s National Insurance contributions over recent years. This lasts for six months during your unemployment. The issue with this benefit for freelancers is that if you’ve been self-employed for a while, entitlement to this Class 1 National Insurance benefit is stopped, as self-employed workers pay into the Class 2 pot.

Income-based Jobseekers Allowance

The good news for anyone who’s self-employed is that you will qualify for this second pot of cash. The income-based Jobseekers Allowance is a means-tested benefit and it’s also a social benefit that changes depending on the number and age of any dependants, as well as the amount of income which is available to your family. Savings are also subject to the means-testings and if they exceed £16,000, you won’t be entitled to anything from this pot of social benefit cash.

Available for work

As you’d expect from a benefit called Jobseekers Allowance, you have to be available for work in order to receive it, and you need to be actively seeking new employment. Records of your job search activities need to be kept, which you’ll be asked to produce periodically.

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