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Coronavirus - help for self-employed people

Updated 21 July 2021

 

Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The fifth grant under the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is now open. You can apply online on the gov.uk website.

  • This fifth grant is different from the previous grants - make sure you check carefully what information the government needs from you to be able to give you a grant.
  • How much you get will depend on how much your turnover is still being affected by coronavirus.
    • For people who can show reduction in turnover of 30% or more, the grant will cover 80% of usual profits for four months, capped at £7,500
    • For people who can show reduction in turnover of less than 30%, the grant will cover 30% of usual profits for four months, capped at £2,850.
  • People who were excluded from SEISS previously might now be eligible. To be eligible, you have to have submitted a 2019/20 tax return before 2 March 2021. To be eligible for some of the previous grants, you had to have submitted a 2018/19 tax return
  • You can find more guidance on the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) on the Gov.UK website.

Beware of scammers

Some scammers pretend to call from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Be cautious about what information you give over the phone. Never give passwords, banking pin codes or log in details.

Claiming benefits

If you claim benefits you can still get the same amount of help from the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

Grants for businesses

Local councils have been given money to support businesses that have to close during the lockdown. Contact your local council for information on what support your business might be entitled to. 

There are additional schemes in place in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:

Self-employment: Frequently Asked Questions

I'm shielding - is there any extra help for me?

There is disappointingly little support in place for self-employed people who cannot work because they need to shield. 

If you are eligible for the SEISS grant, you will be able to receive it.

You may be able to get support through Universal Credit but this will depend on your household income and capital. You can check whether you're entitled to it using our Benefits Calculator.

I can't work because I don't have childcare - is there any extra help?

There isn't a lot of support in place for self-employed people who cannot work because they don't have any childcare while schools are closed.

If you are eligible for the SEISS grant, you will be able to receive it.

You may be able to get support through Universal Credit but this will depend on your household income and capital. You can check whether you're entitled to it using our Benefits Calculator.

What other support can I get?

Self-employed people cannot get Statutory Sick Pay.

You might be able to get help through the benefits system. Use our Benefits Calculator to check what you can claim. Benefits are based on the income you and any partner you live with have coming in at the moment, so make sure you enter your current income and not what you usually earn.

You might be able to get a grant from a charity to help you out. Use our Grants Search to find charities that might be able to help people like you.

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales and lose earnings because you have to self isolate, you may be able to get a one-off £500 Coronavirus Self Isolation Payment. There is a different scheme in Northern Ireland.

How do these different types of help relate to each other? Can I apply for all of them?

You can apply for help through all of these schemes at once.

Money you have set aside to pay tax or Value Added Tax (VAT) will not be counted as capital when working out how much you can get in benefits. 

Money you receive through the Jobs Retention Scheme (furlough) will be counted as income when you receive it and might affect your benefits claim.

Money from the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will affect your benefits when you receive it. If you're receiving Universal Credit, when you declare the SEISS grant as income to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) you can deduct business expenses you have had to pay in that assessment period. Use our Benefits Calculator (link above) to check how the SEISS grant will affect benefit payments.

I am worried about Council Tax. What can I do?

If you are struggling with Council Tax, use our Benefits Calculator (link above) to see if you are entitled to Council Tax Support/Reduction. If you are, contact your council to make a claim for it.

Your council may also offer a discretionary scheme to help with Council Tax. This might be able to help even if you are not entitled to Council Tax Support/Reduction or if your Council Tax Support/Reduction doesn’t cover all the Council Tax you have to pay.

I am worried about bills. What other help can I get?

Mortgage

If you are struggling with your mortgage, it is important to talk to your mortgage lender.

You should be given support from your lender which is tailored to your situation. From 1 April 2021, lenders can take repossession proceedings, but this should be a last resort.

You can find out more about support with mortgage payments on the Financial Conduct Authority website.

If you are struggling with debt, you should get free, confidential, non-judgemental debt advice.

Rent

If you are struggling with your rent, first check what help you can get through the benefits system by using our Benefits Calculator. (Link above)

If you live in Wales, you may be able to get a loan to help pay your rent.

If you live in Scotland, you may be able to get a loan to help pay your rent or rent arrears.

You could also speak to your landlord and ask if they would be willing to let you pay rent late. If you are behind on your rent, it is very important you get advice as soon as possible. 

Household bills

If you are struggling with household bills, speak to your utility providers and let them know why you’re struggling.

Lots of utility providers have schemes in place to help people who are struggling with money because of coronavirus.

Debts

If you are struggling with keeping on top of debt payments, you should get free, independent, non-judgemental debt advice. Your debt adviser might be able to help you access the new 'Breathing Space' scheme, which gives you 60 days when the companies you owe money to aren't allowed to contact you.

This is a stressful, difficult time for many of us, but support is available. If you are worried it's important to ask for help. 

Updated: 21 July 2021

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