Universal Credit applications have soared in the past few weeks

SELF-employed people will be able to get 80 per cent of profit – but they have to wait until June to get the cash,

The grants will be for those with profits of under £50,000 a year on average and grants will be capped at £2,500 a month.

The payments will be based on an average of three years of accounts.

But it’s likely only about 1.7million, a third of the UK’s self-employed, will qualify, with those who have separate earnings as company employees will be excluded.

How to apply for Universal Credit

You’ll need to apply to the new welfare system via the gov.uk website, starting by setting up an online account.

This is what you’ll use to manage your account later on.

Many people are complaining that they are having to wait in queues of up to 30,000 people just to get on to the website.

But DWP has revealed when its website is quietest to help those applying or checking for updates.

To make an account, you’ll need an email address and a phone number.

After that, you’ll need to answer a set of questions about your current circumstances, known as your “to do list”.

These include things like when you last received payment for a job, what your household income is and how many people depend on you financially.

If you’ve lost your job, Citizens Advice recommends that you don’t apply until you’ve received your final wages or any final holiday pay.

This is because any money you receive after you’ve applied for Universal Credit will count as income and mean that you’re entitled to less in your first payment.

You will then need to confirm your identity online.

In certain circumstances, you’ll be able to apply over the phone, such as those who don’t have regular access to the internet, are visually impaired, or have a physical condition that stops you from using a computer or smartphone.

To do this, you will need to contact the Universal Credit helpline to ask if you can apply by phone or arrange a home visit.

In this case, someone can call them on your behalf if you can’t do it yourself.

What to do if you can’t get through over the phone

After you’ve applied for the service online, you’ll need to be interviewed by a work coach over the phone in order to complete your application.

They will call you at an agreed time, but many people are complaining that the next available slot isn’t for another few months, some as far as June.

Brits are banned from visiting any Jobcentre in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

But as a result, phone lines have become overwhelmed with callers looking to get help with Universal Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is advising customers who can’t get through over the phone to use the online services instead.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any other way of getting in touch with the DWP at the moment, until they are able to increase capacity.

But local jobcentres will now call you back if they’ve seen you’ve applied online but haven’t been able to get through on the phone to get an appointment yet.

They’ll use your online journal to let you know they’ll be calling.

How to work out what I’m entitled to

Trying to work out how much Universal Credit you can get can be overwhelming.

There are so many different elements that can affect your claim that it makes the whole process even more complicated.

There are a number of free calculators that you can use to help you get an estimate, such as Gov.uk, Citizen’s Advice, MoneySavingExpert, StepChange and Turn2Us.

You will need:

  • Details of all your income, such as existing benefits, tax credits, earnings from employment and your pensions,
  • Details of your partner’s income if you’re married, in a civil partnership or living with someone as a couple. You will be assessed as a couple
  • Information on any savings you have,
  • How much you pay in Council Tax per year and whether you get any discounts, reductions or exemptions,
  • Details of your rent or mortgage payments,
  • Employment and income information about anyone else living with you, such as grown-up children,
  • Details about your Carer’s Allowance if you receive it.

You need to make sure that the information is as accurate as possible so that you can get the best estimate.