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We always felt there was a better way to capture Self Employed information for benefit purposes and so, thinking about maximum reusability, we've now built a smart form for capturing self employed information that:

  • Can calculate income taking into account of allowable expenses/tax/national insurance etc.
  • Can work standalone
  • Can seamlessly integrate to eClaim and eChanges
  • Can append the resulting PDF directly into the relevant evidence section

Below we will cover how to change settings etc. and how it works. 


When you go into System Management the following are available within Settings when the Self Employed form is selected from the drop down:

Name Example Value Description
NavigationBar true This will hide/show the navigation bar with the page names down the left. Setting it to true will mean these are shown. 
LowProfitWeeklyThreshold 55.00 If a person's weekly profit and therefore income is less than £55.00 per week, the form will automatically ask how they have been meeting their living costs. This value can therefore be updated to be whatever value the council wishes. 
NavigationDynamic true This controls the ability to move forward/back in the form without having completed all questions/pages. More and more people are choosing to make this false. 

Also the online forms eClaim and eChanges* have these form specific settings. I.e. when say eClaim is selected in the Settings screen of System Management, there are now two additional settings that relate to the Self Employed form. These are:

Name Example Value Description

This will indicate the URL of the self employed form that needs to be launched from the eClaim/eChanges form. 

IMPORTANT - you need to ensure that this is the valid link to the Self Employed form for the environment you are updating the setting for. I.e. you don't want to update the development eClaim setting with the live Self employed form URL.

UseSelfEmployedEarningsForm true This will ensure that if true the Self Employed form is accessible via a button for Claimants/Partners in the eClaim/eChanges form.


The files area allows you to manipulate several areas of content/calculation within the form. The three files can be found by accessing System Management > Settings, clicking on Files and selecting the Self Employed Earnings form:

The three files are described below: 


What does it control?
Business Categories.xml Within the form there is a question which asks about the type of business the person has e.g. Beauty, Carpenter, Accountancy.This drop down list can be modified by updating the values in this file. 
Self Employed Expenses.xml Within the form there is a large list of expenses for the customer to select as being those they pay as a part of their business. This file allows the list of options to be updated, make them income related expenses / capital expenditure expenses and also set whether they're allowable, partially allowable or disallowed.
Tax and NI Rates.xml This file holds the current financial year's thresholds and rates for tax and national insurance. This file requires to be updated each year with the current year's values.

Business Categories file

The following is an example Business Category in the file:

 <BusinessCategory Value="Author">Author / Writers / Translators</BusinessCategory>

The wording in italics i.e. Author / Writers / Translators are what will be shown in the form as an option. Therefore it is just a case of updated the text to ensure the option is updated. Note that it is possible to add new/different options but you need to ensure that it has a unique value as highlighted here:

<BusinessCategory Value="Author">Author / Writers / Translators</BusinessCategory>


Self Employed Expenses file

This file is long but is basically the same set of fields repeated multiple times for different expense types. The following is an example expense:

  <Name>Stationery costs, including for computer consumable and printing</Name>
  <Description>Money you spend on paper, envelopes, paper clips, bull-dog clips, treasury tags, rubber bands, pens, pencils, rubbers, pencil sharpeners, staplers, staple removers, scissors, folders, files, pockets, labels, rulers, drawing pins, hole punchers, ring reinforcers, batteries, sellotape, paper glue for business use. Stationary can also include items for computer such as toners, ink cartridges, floppy disks, recordable and re-writable CD&#x2019;s and DVD&#x2019;s, back-up tapes and other media</Description>

The four values that can be changed are highlighted in bold.

  • The <Name> section contains the name of the expense as it is shown in the form.
  • The <Description> section contains the explanatory text as shown in the form for that expense
  • The <Allowable> section contains a multiplier value. I.e. If 1.0 then 100% of the expense value entered will be allowable. If 0.75 were entered it would be 75% allowed and 0 would equate to disallowed. 
  • The <Type> section simply allows for it to be categorised with either income related or capital expenditure related expenses. 


Tax and NI Rates file

This file contains each of the values that comprise the tax and national insurance calculation. The file is shown below and explained after that:

  <Tax name="Income Tax">
    <band name="Personal Allowance">
    <band name="Basic Rate">
    <band name="Higher Rate">
    <band name="Additional Rate">
  <Tax name="National Insurance">
    <band name="Class 2 Contributions">
    <band name="Class 2 Contributions">
    <band name="Class 4 Contributions">
    <band name="Class 4 Contributions">

The threshold value shows the amount where this tax type becomes relevant.

The rate illustrates the % amount that will be taken. So for Tax the values are highlighted below in bold:

Personal Allowance is 0 - 11499.99 (0% rate)

Basic Rate is 11500.00 - 44999.99 (20% rate)

Higher Rate is 45000 - 149999.99 (40% rate)

Additional Rate 150000 - 999999999 (45% rate)

Using the form standalone

The standalone form provides additional functionality over the version integrated into the eClaim/eChanges form. 

It has:

  • a built-in Guidance Notes page,  'Who are you' page
  • the ability to save it for later with its own reference and 
  • the ability for it to be saved to a file location with its own document indexing code etc. 

These mean that the form to be used to capture self-employed income details in any circumstance where this might be relevant e.g. DHP application/Local Welfare Assistance applications etc. 



Seamless integration to eClaim/eChanges

The self-employed earnings form will be accessible within the eClaim / eChanges* form once the relevant setting is in place for that form (as highlighted in the Settings section above):

  • SelfEmploymentFormUrl

Within the benefit forms when the user navigates to enter new self-employed details the following button is presented:

Clicking on the button navigates the user seamlessly to the self-employed earnings form. As the styling is mirrored for both the user is oblivious to this transition. Where there is a button at the top of each page illustrating to them the way of moving back and also what their reference number is:

Once the form is submitted the user is navigated back to the benefit form and an indicator shows that the form has been completed. 

Importantly, if the user leaves the form prior to completion it will clearly show on the Your Work page that this has not been completed yet. 

Finally, as well as the above status showing as being completed the PDF of the completed form is auto-magically appended to the correct evidence section:


If you need any further help please ask the support team on We will ensure this page is updated with any further guidance based upon support requests.