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

Active Member
Emil A Member Since: Jan 7, 2016
11 of 17

Sorry for the offtopic.

I recently moved to UK and I find this benefit system as being heaven on earth. It is the best idea ever, there are so many people who want to do something, but maybe life isn't exactly giving them the best at that moment.

You are overdoing it a bit in some cases, but generally, it's the best idea ever.

There are places in this world where you don't get anything. If you find yourself unable to pay rent and jobless and you have no family/friends to help you, you're pretty much doomed to live on the streets. Nobody cares. You don't have to be stupid, lazy or hate work, sometimes it just happens.

Community Guru
Chris M Member Since: May 6, 2015
12 of 17

Hi Daniel,

Honestly, this is not the place to be asking those questions. You can see the thread has been overtaken by the 'benefits entitlement issue'.


The only advice I can give is don't put all your eggs in one basket. And before you go completely self employed - build up some capital in reserve to use for smoothing out cash flow in the first weeks / months / year. Making a living from freelancing alone is definitely possible. It requires total dedication and committment, ...and be prepared for the unexpected.


Don't forget - people on Working Tax Credit will be moved on to Universal Credit soon. 

Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
13 of 17
Getting back to the original question, the money you earn from Upwork counts as income from self employment. Whether or not you are entitled to Working Tax credit will depend on your total income and the number of hours you work, just as if you had a 9 to 5 brick and mortar job. I'm not entirely sure how things will work after the switch to Universal Credit.
Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
14 of 17

Preston, FYI, Working Tax Credit is basically the equivalent of Earned Income Credit in the US. The difference is that in the US, it's included in your tax return; in the UK, you have to fill out a separate form. 

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

Thanks for your responses, everyone. Very helpful and appreciate you taking the time to comment.


Using their calculator, it seems I would be entitled to Working Tax Credit (or Universal Credit, whenever that's fully put into place).


Is there anyone here who is currently in receipt of it as a freelancer? How do they calculate how much I'll get each month when I might not work the exact same amount of hours per week and won't be earning a fixed amount per week, month, etc?


Obviously they know how much to pay me because my day job pays me the same amount each month and I work the same amount of hours in that time, so what happens when those two factors might fluctuate (potentially wildly)?

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
16 of 17

I imagine the UK gives you a ceiling. As an apprentice you earn X, you are allowed to supplement this  by Y. If you go beyond this then you will have to pay tax (or pay back) on your apprentice earnings.


Not so long ago, I was in a similar situation. I had a carers allowance of X per week. I also worked as a part-time proofreader - paid monthly. What I did not realize that my earnings as a proofreader were not assessed on a yearly basis, but on a weekly basis. I ended up having to pay back a considerable amount of money, because I had exceeded the + allowance allotted to me weekly. It's complicated . . .

Active Member
Tricia J Member Since: Oct 25, 2015
17 of 17

Hi Daniel, I see that you have had a few on-topic answers here but, as someone else said - it might not be be the best place to ask.


I'm sure you've seen this but, just in case you have not: - eligibility questionnaire here:


You could ring HMRC and ask. Honestly, I have been part-employed, part self-employed for years and got quite confised a few times - they are pretty helpful (once you manage to get through to someone!)


Or try the forums at MSE ( - there are plenty of very knowledgeable people there (and some very judgemental ones - but you should be able to get the information that you need)  🙂


Good luck!

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