May 1, 2020 at 12:03 #151140
I am wondering how I can find out what financial help I may be entitled to. A summary of my situation as follows:
I have been running by own business (a limited company) for a number of years so status is employed as company director with 100% shares.
For the last few years I have been suffering from chronic pain which has gradually worsened with me working intermittently and I have been signed off solidly for over a year now.
At the beginning of this year I found out I was pregnant so further tests on my health are currently on hold.
Luckily I have income protection insurance so am managing financially at the moment.
However they have advised that when I go on maternity leave that will be the end of the claim.
I am unable to pay myself maternity leave as I would need to be fit to be working to earn money for the business in order to pay it out.
It does not look like I would be entitled to any benefits as I am still employed.
Any benefits would also be affected by the fact that I have not been earning over the last year and last year’s NI payments have fallen short due to this.
This situation is seems also to be affecting the eligibility for government maternity pay as I have not been earning enough over the last year (I believe the income protection payments I have received are not classed as ‘income’.
Any advice appreciated.May 1, 2020 at 12:41 #151142Annie ThorpeKeymaster
What a tricky situation! Sorry to hear about this stress.
While your NI payments were short last year, I think previous years’ contributions also count, rather than the most recent one (especially if you’ve not claimed anything yet). You could also qualify for the means-tested version, which doesn’t take your NI contributions into account.
Universal Credit involves New Style Employment and Support Allowance, which will give you some support while you’re not working. If you don’t qualify for UC, contributions-based ESA is still available (though a bit of a headache to get, sometimes – you may need to speak to a few people to get the right forms for it!). If you qualify for one of these benefits, you could access additional help for your rent or primary residence mortgage payments (though this is more like a loan that must be repaid in 12 months, and won’t cover interest payments). You could also request a mortgage holiday on your mortgage to free up cash flow right now, if you need.
I feel for you on the chronic pain/fibro front – I’ve got the same, and it’s a real humdinger of an issue when you’re trying to work, isn’t it? However, if you have these problems and claim ESA, you could be eligible for the additional premiums for those unable to work due to ongoing chronic conditions. Under UC, this is around an extra £300 a month. It involves a Work Capability Assessment – which has been temporarily suspended due to distancing measures – but it does get backdated. If you apply, and they decide you’re eligible for the extra, it gets paid in a backdated lump sum, which could help you out in the future. You could also claim Personal Independence Payment, which isn’t means-tested and is available for those receiving disability benefits (i.e., ESA premiums) – even when you go back to work.
You mention you work for yourself – is your entire income from shares? If not, it could be worth furloughing yourself to claim on the Job Retention Scheme based on your usual salary (not that of your income protection payments). Alternatively, you could consider making yourself redundant – this would further your entitlement to benefits that may not be available while you’re technically employed.
When your baby is born, you’ll have access to additional benefits such as Child Benefit, which will help your cash flow.
I hope this is of some help! Good luck 🙂May 1, 2020 at 12:52 #151144
Thanks for replying, I know it is a bit tricky – I will answer some of your questions you have raised…
So my income normally comes from a salary I pay myself then dividends on top of that depending how the business is doing. My NI contributions are fine for the years previous as I paid NI etc through PAYE though my company.
Sorry to hear you also suffer from pain, it is a nightmare and something you don’t really realise the extent of until it happens to you!
It is still a few months before I go on maternity leave so I am ok for cash just now but want to sort out the monthly bills concern before I go on ‘maternity leave’, it is bad with the pain just now I am limited to how much research I can do on the computer/phone etc – I would imagine once baby is born I willl have no chance :/May 1, 2020 at 13:06 #151145Annie ThorpeKeymaster
If you pay yourself something as a salary, you could furlough yourself now to receive 80% of that salary for a couple of months. It’d help keep cash in the coffers for later down the line.
Yes, definitely! Mine started young (18) and so took years to get diagnosed, but as a bit of light for you – once you get a rheumy involved, it gets easier as they’ll help figure it out and you can access pain management therapies that the GP might not offer. Dog walking and exercise is good for it though, keep that up!
I hope you manage to sort things out money-wise before the baby comes – if you’re still unsure, it’s worth calling the job centre or your citizens advice centre as they’ll have specific knowledge surrounding your circumstances 🙂May 1, 2020 at 15:12 #151146
Thank you – glad you finally got a diagnosis – would be good to get some more treatments – it costs a fortune for private treatments that sometimes ease it a bit e.g. acupunture has helped a bit but only short term and I cannot justify the money most of the time although it is nice to get a day or few hours with less pain 😉 I will continue with the exercise although it is difficult sometimes when the pain gets more into my hip and causes a bit of misery walking. I will talk to the jobcentre direct and see if they are able to help, thank you for the suggestions.
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