⚠️ We are currently updating our 2021/22 tax guidance across the website


Independent living

Updated on 30 December 2020

Disabled people and carers

The government are encouraging independent living by giving you more choice on how your needs are met. They have done this by setting up different schemes to give you money so you can choose and pay for your own support and services.

Illustration of a disabled elderly lady and two people assisting her
(c) Shutterstock / Intpro

Some disabled people use money from the government or their own money to pay for someone (a personal assistant or PA) to provide the help and support they need to live independently. If you choose to do this, you may become an employer and have to deal with responsibilities such as tax, National Insurance, auto-enrolment and employment law.

We have launched a separate website, Disability Tax Guide, which provides information for anyone who takes on a personal assistant to help them live independently.

On the site you will find more information about: 

If you are interested in this topic, we suggest you start with our helpful first steps guide Taking on a personal assistant – a basic guide.

As well looking at things like tax, National Insurance, auto-enrolment and employment law, our guide gives you a broad outline of the government schemes that offer financial support to disabled people (such as personal health budgets, social care direct payments and Access to Work) and lists the options that can lead to you having your own personal assistant, including using an agency.

The guide has links to organisations who provide further information on issues that can cause difficulty when taking on a personal assistant. It also contains links to more detailed factsheets on many key subjects.

We have also written a detailed factsheet to explain the technical and difficult rules around employment status for tax purposes. It contains information and guidance on a number of areas, including:

  • Why is it important to know if I’m an employer?
  • Who decides if my worker is employed or self-employed?
  • How do I decide if my worker is employed or self-employed?
  • How do I apply the rules?
  • What help is available with working out status?
  • Using HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax tool
  • What if I get my worker’s status wrong?
  • What if my worker insists on being self-employed?
  • Okay, I’m an employer, what do I do now?

On the website itself, we aim to highlight the key requirements to be aware of, and link to the relevant detailed information already available in places like GOV.UK (which can sometimes can be hard to find). We also have helpful resources like payroll checklists, a payroll datacard and a ‘contact us’ facility.

For employers who choose to use HMRC’s free basic payroll software, we have a unique tool on the site that enables you to create a payslip – something that the HMRC software cannot do. This has proven to be one of the most useful features.

A regular news feature means the most up-to-date payroll and disability related tax matters are highlighted.

For an overview of what else you can find on our Disability Tax Guide website, watch this short video.

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