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23 April, 2020 Open access

Government provides update on how income and savings of self-employed people will be treated when claiming universal credit during the COVID-19 outbreak

Work and Pensions Committee hears evidence from the Department about payments under the Self-employment Income Support Scheme and money put aside to cover liability for tax

The Work and Pensions Committee has heard evidence from the DWP about the treatment of income and savings for self-employed people claiming universal credit during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

In its first online session, held earlier today with DWP Ministers and senior officials to explore the Department's response to the outbreak, the Select Committee sought clarification on the interaction between payments from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and universal credit. Responding, the DWP's Senior Responsible Owner for Universal Credit Neil Couling advised - 

'We only take into account income received in the month in which it's received. My understanding of the SEISS is that payments will not be paid until June at the earliest ... If self-employed people need support now and claim universal credit, they'll get two months of universal credit without the SEISS payments being taken into account and we won't go back so there's no attribution ...

My advice to self-employed people with no other means of support ... is claim universal credit.'

In addition, questioned about the treatment of money set aside by the self-employed in relation to their liability for tax, Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince responded - 

'... we have given very clear guidance ... that money set aside for tax liability can be considered to be a business asset and therefore doesn't fall under the £16,000 savings rule.'

Today's Work and Pensions Committee evidence session can be viewed at parliamentlive.tv