Self-employed with cancer

When you're self-employed, you don't have the same support from an employer and have additional concerns and responsibilities.

Lots of the information on our work and cancer page will be relevant if you're self-employed but this page will give specific information for you and your business and how Maggie's can help.

Worries when you're self-employed

If you have cancer, or are a carer, and you are self-employed, you will have different concerns to other people who work.

You may be worried about:

  • Keeping your business going 
  • Your employees' income
  • Your personal income
  • Your customers' needs
  • Your business's reputation
  • Not being able to give the same attention and energy
  • Emotional pressure to keep going as ‘normal’
  • How much to tell people about your situation.

Do you need to make changes to your business?

It can help you feel more in control to think about how your cancer and treatment, or your caring role, might affect your work and what you can do to adapt:

  • How will your time, energy, concentration and ability to do specific aspects of your work be affected?
  • Can you sub-contract or pass some work to others in the same trade?
  • What's the best way to communicate changes to customers and other businesses?
  • Can you hire new staff to ease your workload?
  • Can you delay projects? 
  • Do you need to consider closing the business altogether? 

These questions may change as you understand more about what's involved with treatment.

Financial support if you are self-employed

You're likely to be worried about how to manage financially if your income is reduced or stops completely.

Check your insurance policies – you may have paid into sickness schemes that you can now claim.

If you are self-employed, you are entitled to claim most benefits that anyone who works can. For example, this could be help with rent, council tax, extra costs of living and health costs.

The only benefit that you cannot claim, when you're self-employed, is jobseeker’s allowance.

Maggie's is here with you

We're here to help answer your questions about being self-employed when you have cancer or are caring for someone with cancer. We can help you cope with the many challenges that cancer can bring.

Our Cancer Support Specialists and Benefits Advisors are here listen to your concerns and find the help you need.

Last review: Jun 2020 | Next review: Sep 2023

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