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Coronavirus: What's Changed - Minimum Income Floor
Coronavirus - Minimum Income Floor

The Minimum Income Floor (MIF) is a rule that applies to some self-employed Universal Credit claimants. If the MIF rule applies, the claimant is treated as earning a certain amount from their self-employment and this level of earnings will be taken into account when their UC is assessed even if their actual self-employed earnings are lower than this amount.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, some easements were introduced.

Those easements came to an end on 31st July 2021.

The easements that were in place:

The Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020 took effect from 30th March 2020 and replaced the previous Minimum Income Floor measures announced.

They gave the DWP the discretion to:

  • Treat a claimant's Minimum Income Floor level as if it was a lower level - including zero
  • Delay making a decision on whether a claimant is in gainful self-employment
  • Treat a claimant who is in gainful self-employment as not being 
  • Extend a claimant's start-up period for as long as they consider appropriate, or
  • Exempt a claimant from any work search requirement or a work availability requirement who would normally fall in the 'all work-related requirements' conditionality group

These measures meant that regardless of how long a self-employed person had been trading, their UC award could be based on their actual self-employed earnings.

The easements were in place until the end of July 2021. 


From 31st July 2021 the re-introduction of the Minimum Income Floor

New regulations came into force from 31.7.21. The Minimum Income Floor will be re-started for many UC claimants - this could affect claimants from September 2021 (or later). 

Claimants who have had the MIF easements applied will be interviewed to check if they continue to be in ‘gainful self-employment’. If the DWP decide that they are gainfully self-employed, the MIF will be applied again, from the monthly assessment period (MAP) after the MAP in which the decision is made about gainful self-employment. 

For those claimants who were part-way through their 12-month ‘start-up period’ in March 2020, the clock was paused when the pandemic hit. Once the DWP have checked and decided that these claimants are still classed as in ‘gainful self-employment’, the clock can re-start. Once they have served the remainder of their 12-month ‘start-up period’, the MIF will apply to them too.

What if their business is still impacted by Covid19?

Some easements remain in place until 31 July 2022. 
Anyone who can demonstrate that their business remains adversely affected by the pandemic can have their MIF reduced to zero. This will be at the discretion of the Work Coach and can only be for up to two consecutive MAPs when the situation would be reviewed. The maximum period for easements would be six months in total (3 x 2 MAPs).
If economic conditions have sufficiently improved, the Work Coach could decide to remove the easement before it was due to expire.