All self-employed earners can make a claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support.

Whether you are eligible depends on your total net weekly income from your self-employed earnings and any other income/capital that you may have coming into the household.

How is self-employed income assessed?

We will ask you to provide details of your income and expenditure from your self-employment, from this we will calculate the net profit to be used in your claim assessment.


We will ask you to provide details of your income and expenditure from your self-employment, from this we will calculate the net profit to be used in your claim assessment.

The net profit is calculated as follows:

  • Gross income less any allowable business expenses = pre-tax profit.

From the pre-tax profit we will deduct any eligible tax, national insurance and half of any private pension contributions paid. This will leave a net profit amount (This figure may vary from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs calculation as not all expenses are allowable for benefits purposes).

What counts as business income & expenditure?

Any money taken by the business is classed as income. This may include sales, tips, commissions, business start-up allowances etc.

However, it will not include sums of capital paid into the business such as a business loan from the bank.

Only expenses that are wholly incurred for the purposes of running the business, which the council considers to be reasonable, will be deducted from the gross income figure.

Some examples of allowable expenses are:

  • Telephone
  • Advertising
  • Postage & stationery
  • Legal & accountancy fees
  • Purchase of stocks & supplies
  • Business motoring expenses

Some examples of non-allowable expenses are:

  • Business entertainment
  • Depreciation
  • Purchases to set up or expand the business

Self-employed child minders

If you are a self-employed child minder your income is assessed differently.

Instead of working out what your actual expenses are, two-thirds of your total earnings are disregarded and the remaining amount is classed as income.

No actual expenses can be allowed for in your calculation.


What information will I have to provide?

If you have been trading for over 12 months, we will ask you to supply your trading figures for the last financial year – normally a ‘profit and loss’ account.

If you have only recently started self-employment, we will ask you to provide your estimated income and expenditure figures for your first three months. If your claim is assessed using an estimated figure we will write to you after three months requesting details of your actual income and expenditure.

Regardless of how long you have been self-employed you will be required to complete our SE1 form to supply further details regarding your self-employment.


Can I claim if I am a student?

Most students cannot claim Housing Benefit as the Government expects them to use other money like grants, student loans or access funds to pay their rent.

However, the following students may be able to claim if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • All students who are currently receiving income support or income-based Jobseekers allowance
  • All part-time students
  • Students under 19 not in higher education
  • Students aged 60 or over, or whose partner is over 60
  • Students (couples or lone parents) who are responsible for a child or young person
  • Students who are responsible for a foster child
  • Students who qualify for a disability premium because they:
    • Are registered or certified blind
    • Ceased to be registered or certified blind within the previous 28 weeks
    • Receive Disability Living Allowance
  • Students who do not get incapacity benefit but have been incapable of work for 28 weeks or more
  • Students whose grant assessment includes a disabled student’s allowance for deafness, even if they get a grant for fees only
  • Certain students who were absent due to illness or because they were providing care for another person

If you are a couple, eligibility will depend on whether or not you are both students. If you are both students you will not be eligible for benefit unless either or both of you fall into one or more of the above categories. In this case the person classed as the eligible student should make the claim for benefit. If only one of you is a student, then generally the non-student should make the claim for benefit.