Support for the Self-Employed during COVID-19

Written by The EFP Team
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If you work for yourself and worried about the implications of losing business due to the coronavirus pandemic, find out more about the financial support available to you.

UPDATE: In a boost to self-employed workers as England enters a month-long lockdown, the government has now massively increased its support and you are now able to receive 80% of your average trading profits for November.

The chancellor stated “SEISS is calculated over 3 months so this increases the total grant from 40% to 55% of trading profits for November to January and the max grant increases to £5,160.” Grants will also be paid faster, moving forward from 14th December to 30th November.

The government has recently announced new measures to help support the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. It allows self-employed workers to apply for one of four available grants, each covering a different period of time up until 30th April 2021.

The first two grants are now closed for applications, however the third is available for you to apply for from 1st November and will cover the period up until 31st January 2020. The four will then cover the remaining three months until the end of April.

How much money is available to me?

For the third grant, you can apply for a lump sum of money covering 40% of three months’ worth of average monthly profits up to a total of £3,750 – up from a max of £1,875 (so 20% of profits) initially announced by the chancellor earlier in the year.

The government have yet to announce full details of the fourth grant, however it is expected to be similar in structure. We’ll update our pages when further details are revealed.

To be eligible for the grant, you must declare that your business has been impacted by reduced demand due to Covid-19 in the qualifying period, your average trading profit must be less than £50,000 per year and you must earn more than 50% of your total income from self-employment.

How do I apply?

As a self-employed worker, you will need to apply for the grant through the official government website, and you will need to ensure you have the following information ready to provide:

  • Self-assessment unique taxpayer reference (UTR)
  • Government Gateway user ID
  • National Insurance Number
  • Bank details

Other support available

Applying for SEISS will not make you ineligible for Universal Credit, but it will be classed as income therefore, the amount you receive may go down.

There are also grants available to businesses forced to shut down due to local COVID-19 restrictions, as employers are now able to claim up to £3,000 for every two weeks they are forced to close, up from £1,500 every three weeks. The other good news is that this will also not make you ineligible for the SEISS and other government support.

Employers also now have additional time to pay VAT and can spread payments over the 2021/22 financial year. IR35 tax reforms have been also been delayed a year, and you can apply for employment support allowance (ESA) if you’re sick or self-isolating.

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