Setting Up Universal Credit for a Self Employed Driving Instructor During Covid-19 (caronavirus)
As expected my work dried up pretty quickly as restrictions tightened and although there was still some learners looking to continue lessons during the social distancing phase, I decided to stop doing driving lessons on Saturday 21st or March.
The Application Process
I thought it best to get set up asap. So online I went on my phone Saturday evening. I completed my details and my girlfriends. You must set up separate accounts and go through a security check which is processed using a third party eg. Experien, The Post Office etc.
I went through the Post office but my girlfriend had to use Experian due to not having a UK passport. A code sent between us both by text message confirmed the linking of our accounts. All done within a couple of hours. The next phase was to set up an appointment with the local job centre which must be done by phone. I called at 9am Monday (23rd) morning not realising they opened at 8.
It took 3 hours to get through but only a couple minutes to arrange a call back appointment with the local job centre, which was the following day at 4pm.
I recieved my call at 2.30pm and it took about 30 minutes as the person was in training. They told me the amount I'd get at the end of the call, which was circa £700, comprising of basic statutory sick pay and living allowances.
First payment would be in little over a month but a hardship advance could be arranged straight away.
My Overall Experience
I thought the process was pretty painless given the mammoth task faced by the government. Just expect to wait on hold to get through to arrange a call for an appointment (my case 3 hours). I imagine it won't drop anytime soon especially if they improve the self employed allowance. The amount wouldn't be enough if I wasn't able to freeze my mortgage but I'm thankful it was so easy to set up.