Claiming Sick Pay or making a Claim for Industrial Disease When you are Self-Employed
Being self-employed can be great: you work on your own terms, you have no boss to answer to and you’re likely doing what you love.
It all seems rosy until you get sick.
So what do you do if you come down with a serious or long-term illness which stops you from working?
Even more tricky – what can you do if work is the reason you are ill?
You can’t exactly make a claim against yourself!
There are certain situations in which you can make an industrial disease claim if you operate on a self-employed basis within a business.
You may be eligible to do this if you are a hairdresser, barber, tattoo artist or even a taxi driver.
Self-Employed Sick Pay Entitlement
As a self-employed person you don’t have the same rights as a direct employee of a company, and you usually aren’t eligible to receive statutory sick pay.
But don’t worry! If you’re self-employed there are options that you have which will help to make sure you don’t end up without an income if you fall ill.
You have two choices:
- Apply for Personal Independence Payments, also known as PIP
- Apply for Employment and Support Allowance, also known as ESA
These routes will be detailed below.
When seeking to claim sick pay as someone who is self-employed, you won’t be able to apply for both of the above.
Instead you need to select the option most compatible with your situation and apply for that.
If your illness has been caused by the conditions you work in and you are not at fault, you can make an industrial disease claim on top of applying to receive PIP or ESA.
Self-Employed and Experiencing Illness From Work
Claiming sick pay for short-term illnesses like the flu or a bug when self-employed is really tricky.
It’s often best to cut your losses and move forward once you’ve recovered, or call in friends to lend a hand whilst you’re still unwell.
It’s rare that a self-employed business owner would experience illness from work, however there is such thing as being self-employed working within a larger business.
Examples of this are hairdressers, barbers and tattoo artists, who often rent a chair or bed within a salon or studio and practice as self-employed.
In this situation the self-employed worker might be able to make an industrial disease claim against the business if they were to get ill from work.
Examples of Self-Employed Illnesses
Imagine you are a self-employed hairdresser renting a chair within a salon and you develop a respiratory condition like asthma.
Or, as a tattoo artist you may sustain a back injury from the position you work in: if the business owner you rent a bed off does not provide adequate support or position the studio correctly, you could sue.
In instances like this you would be eligible to make an industrial disease claim whilst also likely being able to apply for PIP or ESA since you would not receive statutory sick pay.
If you think you are in this position, use our contact form or call us to speak to one of our friendly industrial disease solicitors who can assist you in starting your claim.
Statutory Sick Pay Alternatives
Personal Independence Payment
There are two components which you will be tested on if you apply – you may receive money based on just one or both.
The amount you get depends on how many points you score in the separate tests for daily-living and mobility.
Although applying for PIP as a self-employed person is an option if you fall ill, it is more likely to be awarded to people who already had a pre-existing condition.
How Long Can I Claim PIP For If I’m Eligible?
If you qualify you usually get an award for a fixed amount of time.
You’ll be awarded PIP from one to ten years depending on your situation.
How long your award is depends on how likely it is that your needs will change over time.
Your PIP might change if something in your life changes, so if your health gets better, your PIP may go down or stop.
If your health gets worse, your PIP may go up.
Employment and Support Allowance
Your worries about claiming sick pay when self-employed could be over if you’re able to claim ESA.
ESA is a more viable option that PIP for those who are self-employed and temporarily or suddenly ill.
There are two types of ESA:
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
You may be able to get one or both types of Employment and Support Allowance, though it will completely depend on your circumstances.
Types of Employment and Support Allowance
You can get income-related ESA if:
- Your income is low enough
- Your savings are below £16,000
There are specific rules about what sort of work is permitted whilst you receive ESA, so you may be able to continue to do small amounts of work depending on what field you are self-employed in.
If you are looking to make an industrial disease claim whilst you seek ESA, you probably won’t be able to return to work as it may impact your claim.
You can get contributory ESA if you have paid enough national insurance contributions whilst you were working.
When you claim ESA, you will have to show that you have limited capability for work; by starting to make an industrial disease claim, your application may be strengthened since this will adequately demonstrate this.
The Work Capability Assessment is used to decide whether you have limited capability for work.
You will usually need to attend a medical assessment in person where a healthcare professional will see you face-to-face, then report their findings to the Department for Work and Pensions.
They will then decide whether you have limited capability for work based on your questionnaire and the report received from the medical professional.
If your work is what caused your illness, you should demonstrate this in the assessment.
The amount of contributory Employment and Support Allowance you can get depends on:
- Your age
- Whether you have had the Work Capability Assessment yet
- If you have had the Work Capability Assessment, whether you are in the work-related activity group or the support group
- When your claim started
The amount of income-related Employment and Support Allowance you can get will be decided depending on the above, as well as extra factors too, such as:
- Whether you live alone or with a partner
- Whether you are a carer
- How much income you have
- How much your savings are over £6,000 by
- Whether you have a mortgage
You may be able to get Contributory and Income-related Employment and Support Allowance at the same time.
Employment and Support Allowance can be backdated for up to three months before the date of claim if you would have been entitled to it earlier, for example if you had a health condition that meant you were unable to work.
You will be asked to provide a medical certificate to show this, but it doesn’t matter why your claim is late.
You can request backdating when you make your claim.
We Can Help
Claiming sick pay when self-employed can be a cause of worry for many.
With no statutory sick pay, where your income will come from can make you panic.
If you are self-employed and think you are eligible to claim PIP or ESA – or are already claiming it – and want to pursue an industrial disease claim get in contact with us today.
Use the contact form on the right panel or call 0844 414 0667 to speak to one of our expert industrial disease solicitors.
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