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Re: Anyone from Britain here? Are freelancers entitled to working benefits?

mrdanielprice
Community Guru
Daniel P Member Since: Aug 15, 2014
1 of 17

I am currently working a day job and receive Working Tax Credit because I am on such a low income. I get something like $400 - £450 per month because I'm earning £3.30 (it's an apprenticeship) per hour, working 30 hours per week.

 

If I found enough work to quit my day job and go freelance full-time (or even just part-time, working at least 16 hours per week), would I be entitled to Working Tax Credit to topup my income if it's below a certainthreshold.

 

And, if I did so and found myself unable to get work, would I be entitled to any other kind of benefit that would help me out financially?

 

I'm just curious and would like to know a little more before putting my financial wellbeing in the hands of clients (rather than a company I know will pay me X amount per hour for X hours per week). I will, of course, get some advice from someone who works for the DWP if/and when I decide to take the plunge, so I won't be taking any advice/info as definite, factual information.

 

TL'DR: I won't be coming back saying, "You told me this and now I'm screwed. It's all your fault."

 

I'd much appreciate any information anyone has to offer. All I ask is that this thread stays focused on the benefits and not my decision to work as an apprentice or that I'm not a full-time, no day job freelancer.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 17

Nobody is entitled to anything.

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
3 of 17

Hi Daniel,

 

You might find this link helps answer your question: http://www.revenuebenefits.org.uk/tax-credits/guidance/how-do-tax-credits-work/self-employed/

 

Preston, here we have a honest person who is trying to not defraud the welfare system in his country, (plenty of freelancers claim benefits and earn Upwork income secretely, affecting both honest freelancers and the welfare system) so unless you have the faintest idea what people ARE entitled to under the British Welfare System how about you refrain from adding non-information / false information / a philosophical viewpoint?

 

 

 

 

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 17

The original poster explained his question very well.

 

I knew he was referring to the British welfare system and I am aware that there are legal entitlements in that system.

 

You are quite correct: My statement was absolutely a philosophical viewpoint.

 

But I will be happy to concede that a discussion of why nobody is entitled to anything, in a general sense, can be considered off-topic and needs not be discussed in this thread.

battershall-ramo
Community Guru
Ramon B Member Since: Jan 11, 2015
5 of 17

But surely you'd agree Preston that everyone in a developed country is entitled to a certain standard of life? The cost of living is much higher here than in your own country, and it can be difficult to even subsist for low-paid workers. Anyway, his tax credits will be refunded by his taxes when he becomes more successful, are people 'entitled' to roads, police etc. or are they an essential part of a civilised society?

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 17

Ramon, I actually do favor quite a few minimum standards and guarantees, even beyond general public services such as roads and police. I favor things including plans through which basic health care (and particularly catastrophic care) is available without any need for private health insurance, an idea often implemented through a "single payer" system. I think certain minimum subsistence income plans have been successful, including plans such as those in Brazil where minimum monthly income is provided to low-income families on the condition that their children attend school. I like the idea of guaranteed employment plans, such as workfare. But I am also aware of the intractable damage that poorly executed and overly dependence-inducing welfare plans have wrought among so many segments of American society. The unchecked, unchallenged largesse of such plans has little impact among the highly-educated, highly motivated and upper-income. But it has perpetuated, dehumanized and expanded an unfortunate underclass.

 

So while I personally support a number of sensible "social safety net" programs, I nevertheless am a strong supporter of the general philosophical principle voiced by many before me that "nobody is entitled to anything."

 

This is a credo for personal success and a wise guiding societal principle that may be followed even while advocating for the availability of minimum government-provided services.

 

If I think very realistically about societal, economic and technological trends, I can easily imagine a near-future status quo in which most industrialized "Western" societies provide a minimum subsistence living for everyone, leaving every individual in the position of deciding for themselves to whether or not to work and earn more than that, or not. Under such a system (which I am not necessarily saying would be the best thing for society, but which may well be out future), there would be no income-based standards for allocating benefits. These minimum benefits would be available equally to everybody. So nobody would be "cheating the system" if they chose to work on Upwork or did any other kind of work. In such an imagined future, online work platforms such as Upwork,are even more important, as work increasingly becomes a lifestyle choice rather than an economic necessity.

suzedablooze
Ace Contributor
Susan M Member Since: Feb 9, 2015
7 of 17

The Dutch are running an interesting experiment where they are giving people around $1000 a month as a basic income.

 

They are doing it becasue there is a belief that giving someone a safety net like that, contrary to the view that it would make people 'lazy', would in fact have the opposite effect and allow people to create their own business, look after children at home (if they so choose) and take up part-time jobs more easily. They are seeing very positive results and I believe the project is expanding.

 

We all have to live in society together. Not everyone has a good basis to start from, for all sorts of reasons. Our current systems leave much to be desired and looking for alternative ways of living is a good thing. I for one am proud to live in the UK where we have a benefit system that gives a reasonable saftey net (not as liberal as the Dutch one, by any means). Some elements of the UK government are trying to remove the in work benefits -this would have dire consequences for all sorts of professionals (yes professionals) who work, but get very poor salaries. Yes, in a nice fair world, they'd get a fair wage, but that isn't always the case. The UK is working towards a 'living wage' rather than a minimum one, but thats a way off.

 

To your question Daniel. I know people who work in the craft industry as self employed, who have intermitent periods of poor income and they claim benefits - I also know that they struggle sometimes to get them and it's not automatic. You're right to take advise, self employment is a complex area.

 

P.s. just remembered another friend which may possibly give insight. She has created a travelling exhibition around civil rights. Her funding is intermittent and often she can't pay herself a salary, but really wants to continue to take her work across the country (she is able to employ other people through this work too, but can't pay herself). She was advised that she cant get benefits as she isn't available for work. Not entirely comparable to your situation, but might give insight into the 'available for work' rule.

 

battershall-ramo
Community Guru
Ramon B Member Since: Jan 11, 2015
8 of 17

But he isn't unemployed, he's just not earning enough to live on. Quite why he's working at less than half the legal minimum wage is another question entirely.

marciamalory
Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
9 of 17

@Ramon B wrote:

But he isn't unemployed, he's just not earning enough to live on. Quite why he's working at less than half the legal minimum wage is another question entirely.


 He's getting paid the legal minimum wage for apprentices, which is clearly not enough to live on.

battershall-ramo
Community Guru
Ramon B Member Since: Jan 11, 2015
10 of 17

Anyway, Preston's quite right though. I used to be unemployed and I soon became really depressed and isolated and it really impacts on your self-esteem. It took me a long time to snap out of it, but now I can't imagine not spending my week days on purposeful activity (or at least editing things)

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