How to check eligibility and apply for government support

The government has released funds and relaxed requirements to apply for financial support in some areas. It's confusing, especially if you have never applied for government support before, so Freelance Corner is here to keep you informed and help you in the process.

The five-stage process:

  1. Check eligibility
  2. Check health status
  3. Get sick note
  4. Complete relevant form
  5. Submit

Universal Credit (UC) or the New Style Employment and Support Allowance (NSESA)

Let's start by establishing what you are eligible for.

(NB: your partner should be included if you live together, even if you are not married or in a civil partnership)




My partner is in paid employment

Unlikely to be eligible

Does not affect eligibility

We/I have savings

Does not affect eligibility if combined savings less than £16, 000

Does not affect eligibility

I have not made and been credited with NI contributions in the last 2-3 years

Does not affect eligibility

Not eligible


This table is available in more detail here.

In both cases, you may be asked to provide a ‘Coronavirus isolation sick note’ (this should not be necessary for UC  but worth having if relelvant). Check your eligibility by completing the NHS 111 process and, if eligible, apply for the sick note online.

If you have Coronavirus, or have been advised to self-isolate, more advice is available from

What you will need to apply


For the NSESA you need to download a form, to fill in onscreen or print and post to your local Job Centre (find the address here.)

If you don’t have a printer, you can call the number on the website or your local Job Centre. However, in researching this, I have currently been on hold for 60 minutes to my local Job Centre and could not get anything but an engaged tone from the number on We will update you when we have got a final answer.

2: UC

The process of application for UC can be done online here. Please read the guidance notes from first.

You will need:

  • Your bank account detail
  • Your email address
  • Your housing info (rent etc)
  • Your income details
  • Details of any assets you have (stock, rented house etc)
  • Details of childcare costs
  • ID: Passport, driving licence or banking card

The process itself is pretty straight forward. Please read all the guidance provided on the government website and follow the steps:

  • If you receive any disability allowance, you will be asked about this first
  • Create a username and password
  • Answer some security questions (you will need this as well as username and password, every time you sign in)
  • You will get a code to verify your email address
  • Once verified, you’re all set up. Now you can edit the field and save and complete at your own pace. You need to fill in all fields even if to state that they are not relevant to you. As you fill in the details, the category will disappear. You have a chance to check and change your entry before submission.

The categories are as follows:

  1. Nationality
  2. Housing
  3. Who lives with you
  4. Working and earnings
  5. Savings and investments
  6. Income other than earnings
  7. Health
  8. Caring for someone
  9. Bank account details

Carefully check your details before you submit.

The website states that it may take five weeks to process, and there is no indication as to whether these applications are being processed faster during this period.

By Freelance Corner

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