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Thread: Chronic illness but would like to try self emplyment?

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Chronic illness but would like to try self emplyment?

    I am have been in the ESA SG for 5 years now, after moving in with my partner I no longer recieve any payment from the DWP as my partner earns over the threshold for benefit entitlement. My ill health hasn't improved but I would like to try self employment as when I am well enough I do paint ( I have a masters in Fine Art) and I have thought more recently about trying to sell some of my work.

    I don't have any idea where to start. I am currently being reassessed for ESA and could potentially not have it renewed so I would like to know both about permitted work and going self employed.

    I am worried that when I start I might take many months or longer to make any money. I would also have quite a lot of expenses as I have very little equipment at the moment. I also need to take a few classes to refresh my skills again. I am worried that as my health is poor I will only have a very limited number of hours to give to my work each week so I won't be doing full time hours probably more like 16 hours a week at most.

    I am doubt I will earn over the tax threshold but I think I will have to pay NIC to make sure I get a state pension. At the moment I can pay £2.80 (Classs 2 NIC) a week which is ok even if I am not earning very much but in 2018 I think the rules change and they are doing away with class 2 NIC which means I could pay a huge amount more to ensure I get a state pension. One possibility is that is will be £15 a week which is a lot when I might not even earn that every week.

    I know many would say that my self employment isn't viable if I'm not able to consistantly earn £150 or £200 a week but I don't have any other choice my health means that I need to be able to set my own pace and hours and at times I may not be able to work at all so having a "normal job" isn't possible for me, if I hope to do anything it will be low income self employed.

    I am finding it very daunting and I don't know where to turn for help. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Shimada, good for you

    I'd like to tell you about my father's experience of painting and commission.

    When my father retired he needed a hobby to keep him out of my mother's hair - he choose painting. He experimented with oils, acrylics, pastels and water colours.

    In the end he settled for water colours as they took less time to dry out. At first he used to copy pictures in magazines and he built up a number of paintings that nobody would want to buy.

    One sunny day he was out locally and a florist shop caught his eye because of the window displays, buckets of bright daffodils and interesting architecture. He came back with his camera and took a general shot but also close ups of detail.

    He choose the best general photo, took it to a colour copy centre and had it enlarged to A3. He then made a tracing and transferred this onto watercolour paper. He had also taken photos of people milling around in shopping areas and was able to superimpose people into his pencil sketch that he coloured in using watercolours.

    He then bought some secondhand picture frames and mounting board to frame the watercolour painting. He then took it to the florist shop and the owners were overwhelmed with excitement and bought it off him for £80. As he had taken an A4 colour copy of the painting he used it as an example of his work to get new work.

    He died at 90 but had produced a few hundred original house portraits produced as one offs. Has was a great fan of the Salford born artist L S Lowery who he met. Sadly my father went to his grave as an unknown artist as he never promoted his work generally.

    If I were you I'd paint as a hobby and if you sell stuff just plough the money back into buying materials.

  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    West Cumbria (Lake District)
    yes you can do self employed permitted work, I've done some myself.

    And if you make a sucess of it then there are other schemes to help you go from ESA to self employed but I would test the water with permitted work first.

    Here is how it works for those in Support Group (there are slightly different rules for WRAG)

    You can do some 'Permitted Work' whilst claiming ESA, which can include self employment.
    (This is legally called 'Exempt Work', but for simplicity I'll keep using Permitted Work here).

    You should inform the DWP if you intend to do, or have already done, any work whilst claiming ESA.
    If this is paid work they will send you form PW1 that you fill in and return.
    They will then confirm that the work is within the permitted limits.
    If you have already done the work and it is not within the limits you may lose benefits.

    You can find an example here: Example PW1
    You shouldn't print this off and use it, it is watermarked 'For Information' on each page. Get a form from the Jobcentre or DWP which will have their contact details, etc. filled in.

    Firstly you can do Permitted Work at the Lower Limit - with this you can earn up to £20 a week with no restriction on hours.

    Or you can do Permitted Work at the Higher Limit - with this you can currently earn up to £115.50 after tax and national insurance deductions and the work must be less than 16 hours a week.
    (The WRAG rules are different for PW higher limit).

    Money earned from Permitted Work does not affect your ESA payments.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

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