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CIH Scotland

New Arrivals


EEA workers and self-employed but temporarily out of work

This page is for new arrivals. If you are a housing adviser please click here for information more relevant to you.

Self-employed but not currently working or earning

You continue to be treated as a self-employed person if you are temporarily unable to work due to sickness or an accident.

You also continue to be treated as self-employed if you are taking time out that is the equivalent of maternity leave.

If you are not earning anything from your self-employment you are still regarded as self-employed as long as you are engaged in carrying on your business (for example looking for more work, doing administrative tasks). But if you apply for some benefits and your earnings from self-employment are too low to pay national insurance (£155 per week in 2015/16), the benefits authority may question whether your self-employment was genuine. Get advice if this happens. 

Workers who are temporarily out of work

If you started work in the UK but have since lost your job you will still retain your worker status if:

  • you have worked for a year and are regarded by the Jobcentre Plus as unemployed and looking for work (this usually involves 'signing on'); you will keep your worker status for at least six months
  • you have worked for less than a year and are registered with the Jobcentre Plus and have been unemployed for less than six months - you will keep your worker status for a maximum of six months
  • you are temporarily unable to work because of illness or accident or pregnancy (this may be for some years, as long as there is medical evidence that you will be able to return to work)
  • you have started vocational training related to your previous job
  • you have lost your job and started vocational training of any sort.

Workers who become permanently unable to work

If you are a worker who has become permanently unable to work because of illness or accident you may get the permanent right to reside (and entitlement to benefits and housing) if:

  • you have worked for two years in the UK, or
  • you have worked for less time but you became unable to work because of an industrial injury or occupational disease.

In Scotland all EEA nationals with a right to reside are entitled to apply for local authority housing or homelessness assistance, whether covered by the worker and self-employed rules or not. But the rules for housing benefit are different, and some rights to reside do not qualify you for housing benefit, or only do so if you are also habitually resident.

Background Topics

Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland