Part-time self employed: claiming illness benefit?

The_Cash_Man

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Hi,

My wife is currently in full time employment but due to a medical issue that is showing no signs of leaving her is struggling to perform the role to the levels required and is likely to cease full-time employment in the coming weeks when her contract is up.

She has an offer of part-time, sort of freelance, work where she would have to set up as an independent contractor (self-employed), as opposed to being a PAYE employee of the company. Based on the location of the work to be done, and the mileage on offer, it looks like maybe 40% percentage of the income would come from mileage expenses. This would bring in more take home pay than illness benefit in a year, while also helping her sense of self-worth, rather than being completely unemployed. I would make a rough guess at 16k - 20k per year, including mileage expenses.

I have 2 main questions that somebody here may be able to help with:

  • If this part-time self-employed work comes to an end will she be entitled to claim any illness benefit? If NO, then it is a big risk, and probably unwise to accept the offer.
  • Can she claim any part-time illness benefit, similar to the x’s and o’s, while being self-employed in the above-described role?

Thanks a million in advance for any advice.
 

gipimann

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4,792
PRSI contributions paid by self-employed do not qualify towards illness benefit.


Illness Benefit is not like Jobseekers Benefit, where a person can declare a day's work (the Xs and Os you mentioned are used to indicate working/non-working days). There is a different scheme, Partial Capacity Benefit, which may allow a person on illness benefit to work part-time.
 
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The_Cash_Man

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Thanks for the reply gipimann.

Looks like she would have to go on illness benefit for 6 months before being eligible for the Partial Capacity Benefit.

Further details of her new part-time role offer show that mileage will be paid monthly, and remaining payment, on completion of each "project", likely every 3 months.
What difficulties might arise if she goes onto illness benefit when her current contract is up in a few weeks, starts this role immediately, gets some mileage expenses into her account monthly, and a larger lump sum every 3 months? When is this likely to be spotted/assessed, and by whom?

In 6 months time, she could inform the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection that she has obtained part time self-employed work, wishes to move to the Partial Capacity Benefit, and take it from there.... perhaps ask the agency in question for payment for the first "project" to be delayed until then...??
 

gipimann

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4,792
When claiming illness benefit, the GP certifies that the person is unfit for work. Claiming illness benefit and working at the same time may be construed as welfare fraud.
 

Feemar5

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385
There are conditions attached to Partial capacity - You will qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit if your restriction on capacity for work is assessed as moderate, severe, or profound. If it is assessed as mild you will not qualify. Also she will have to register with Revenue as self employed, pay preliminary tax etc., I would be concerned that travelling expenses would be more than she would earn - it is a sales position?
 

The_Cash_Man

Registered User
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Not sales, it is a role related to her qualification, of which there is somewhat of a shortage in this country, plus maybe not many willing to take on this part-time role, therefore the role involves travel of over 100km each way. It is a reputable company so no worries there.
 

vandriver

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Would the mileage expenses not form part of the taxable income (less allowable motoring expenses)?
 

Feemar5

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385
I take it that she will be placed in the same office all the time - 100 km away from your home. Would this not be regarded as her normal place of work , business travel is where an employee travels from one office to another. See:
 

The_Cash_Man

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Thanks for the replies. Neither of us have been self-employed before so this is all new to us.

She has been assigned a region which involves trips of up to 140km each way to meet clients at various locations. All the paperwork is completed at home on own computer which will take at least as many hours as the hours away from home.
I did a recalculation and mileage will account for approx 30% of all income (based on likely journeys to be made), before subtracting car expenses. The mileage on offer is roughly 3 x the actual fuel spend, of course this does not include all the other costs associated with running a car.
 

The_Cash_Man

Registered User
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I think what we need now is to arrange an appointment with an accountant regarding the best option for working as a contractor.
I note that most agencies who provide umbrella company services charge rates that might be acceptable if full-time contracting at a daily rate but are quite high for ad-hoc part-time work.
So a limited company, with no wages paid might be an option.

Has anyone found Citizens Information offices any good for this kind of thing? Basically need advice on setting up as a contractor, and potential impact on illness benefits now and in the future.
 
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