As a self-employed comedian you can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) rather than Statutory Sickness Benefit.
Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
You can claim ESA for a short-term or long-term illness, though you won’t get any benefit for the first 7 days of any claim so it’s not worth claiming unless your illness lasts longer than 7 days.
The amount you can claim depends on your income and your circumstances. You will also need to be signed off work by a doctor and provide a doctor's note to claim ESA.
The ‘Permitted Work’ Rule
If you have an illness or disability that prevents you from working full-time you can work up to 16 hours per week, earn a maximum of £104 per week after tax and NI deductions, and still claim ESA.
You can download a factsheet about the Permitted Work Rule from the Disability Rights website or call the ESA helpline at the Department for Work and Pensions on: ESA Helpline: 0345 608 8545 (option 3).
The quickest way to apply for Employment and Support Allowance is by phone:
Contact centre numbers
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Welsh language telephone: 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges
You’ll need the following information to hand when you make a claim:
- National Insurance number
- Medical certificate
- GP’s address and phone number
- Home and mobile telephone numbers
- Mortgage or landlord details
- Council tax bill
- Dates of employment or last day worked
- Bank account details
- Details of any other money you are getting, eg: other benefits or income
Further advice and information about claiming ESA
You can find advice and information about ESA from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Alternatively, contact the Department of Work & Pensions ESA helpline on:
0345 608 8545 (option 3)