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The Universal Credit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016

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Gainful self-employment

Minimum income floor

63.—(1) This regulation applies to a claimant who—

(a)is in gainful self-employment (see regulation 65), and

(b)would apart from this regulation, fall within Article 27 of the Order (claimants subject to all work related requirements).

(2) Where this regulation applies to a single claimant, for any assessment period in respect of which the claimant’s earned income is less than their individual threshold, the claimant is to be treated as having earned income equal to that threshold.

(3) Where this regulation applies to a claimant who is a member of a couple, for any assessment period in respect of which—

(a)the claimant’s earned income is less than their individual threshold, and

(b)the couple’s combined earned income is less than the couple threshold,

the claimant is to be treated as having earned income equal to their individual threshold minus any amount by which that amount of earned income combined with their partner’s earned income would exceed the couple threshold.

(4) In this regulation references to the claimant’s individual threshold and to the couple threshold are to the amounts set out in regulation 89(2) and 89(3) respectively, converted to net amounts by deducting such amount for income tax and national insurance contributions as the Department considers appropriate.

(5) Where this regulation applies in respect of an assessment period in which surplus earnings are treated as an amount of earned income under regulation 54 (surplus earnings), that amount is to be added to the claimant’s earned income before this regulation is applied and, in the case of joint claimants, it is to be added to the earned income of either member of the couple so as to produce the lowest possible amount of combined earned income after this regulation is applied.

(6) An assessment period referred to in this regulation does not include an assessment period which falls wholly within a start-up period or begins or ends in a start-up period.

Start-up period

64.—(1) A “start-up period” is a period of 12 months and applies from the beginning of the assessment period in which the Department determines that a claimant is in gainful self-employment where—

(a)the claimant has begun to carry on the trade, profession or vocation which is their main employment in the 12 months preceding the beginning of that assessment period, and

(b)the claimant is taking active steps to increase their earnings from that employment to the level of the claimant’s individual threshold (see regulation 89).

(2) No start-up period may apply in relation to a claimant where a start-up period has previously applied in relation to that claimant, whether in relation to the current award or any previous award of universal credit, unless that previous start-up period—

(a)began more than 5 years before the beginning of the assessment period referred to in paragraph (1), and

(b)applied in relation to a different trade, profession or vocation which the claimant has ceased to carry on.

(3) The Department may terminate a start-up period at any time if the person is no longer in gainful self-employment or is no longer taking the steps referred to in paragraph (1)(b).

Meaning of “gainful self-employment”

65.  A claimant is in gainful self-employment for the purposes of regulations 63 and 64 where the Department has determined that—

(a)the claimant is carrying on a trade, profession or vocation as their main employment,

(b)their earnings from that trade, profession or vocation are self-employed earnings, and

(c)the trade, profession or vocation is organised, developed, regular and carried on in expectation of profit.

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