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Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The self employed income support scheme has been extended until April 2021. 

A new SEISS Support Scheme will now cover 40% of usual earnings (up to a max of £3750) for the months November 2020 to January 2021. This payment is expected to be made in January.

We are waiting for details of the January to April payment, which is expected to be paid in April.

If you weren’t eligible for the first payouts from the scheme, you won’t be eligible this time. 

You can check if you are eligible for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme on the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website.

You will have to provide evidence that your self-employed business has been affected by coronavirus.

See Gov.UK: Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Beware of scammers

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

Claiming benefits

Claiming benefits will not stop you from being able to get help from the Self Employed Income Support Scheme or affect the amount you get from it.

New grants scheme for businesses in Tier Two (High Alert) areas

This scheme, announced the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak on 22 October 2020, is to be administered by local authorities. It is will offer grants based on rateable values of business properties.

These grants are retrospective and can be backdated to August.

We are waiting for further information on this scheme.

Businesses in Tier Three (Very High Alert) areas

Tier three areas will have local authority business grants schemes that will be agreed separately for each local authority.

There is other support you can claim as well as getting help through the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

Wales - Firebreak Lockdown

There will be a coronavirus firebreak coronavirus lockdown in Wales from 6.00 pm on Friday 23 October until the start of Monday 9 November 2020, which will then be reviewed.

This affects the whole of Wales and replaces any local lockdown rules that are in place when the firebreak starts.

Economic Resilience Fund

The Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) is being enhanced to almost £300 million, which includes an extra £150 million to support to businesses affected by the firebreak. It also includes an additional £20 million to the £80 million fund already announced to help businesses develop in the longer term, of which £20m has been ring-fenced for tourism and hospitality.

The third phase of this scheme will be open for applications from the week starting Monday 26 October and remain open for four weeks.

The Business Wales website has more information on the Wales: Economic Recovery Fund and a link to an eligibility checker.

Use the Welsh Government's Business Support Finder to find out what help might be available to your business. 

Northern Ireland - Lockdown

Additional Northern Ireland coronavirus lockdown measures were introduced on 16th October that affect everyone living in Northern Ireland. These will be in place for four weeks, then reviewed.

Financial Support Scheme for Businesses

A financial support scheme for businesses in Northern Ireland affected by new coronavirus restrictions has opened for applications.

Businesses that are required to close or that have had operations severely restricted because of the lockdown are eligible to apply.

Eligible businesses include cafes, pubs, hotels, cinemas, museums, galleries and close-contact services like hairdressers and other  cinemas, museums and galleries.

See the NI Business Information website to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

General information on Northern Ireland: Coronavirus and Support for Businesses

Self-employment: Frequently Asked Questions

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 access a government-backed loan. There won't be any fees or interest on the loan for the first 12 months.

You can find out more about government-backed loans on the Gov.UK website.

From 27 April, small businesses can apply for Bounce Back Loans. These are 100% government backed and are quick and simple to apply for. You can only use these loans for your business and not for yourself.

Tax that is due in January 2021 can now be paid in installments through to January 2022.

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 or Scotland and lose earnings because you have to self isolate, you may be able to get a one-off £500 Coronavirus Self Isolation Payment.

How do these different types of help interact? Can I apply for all of them?

You can apply for help through all of these schemes.

Money you receive as a personal loan will be counted as capital when working out how much you can get in benefits. Use our Benefits Calculator to check how this would affect you. Money you receive as a loan to your business will be ignored when working out how much you can get in benefits.

Money you have set aside to pay tax or 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 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 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 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. Some councils are offering payment holidays on Council Tax. Check your council's website to see what their rules are.

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

Mortgage

If you have a mortgage and are struggling to meet your payments, you can ask your lender for a mortgage holiday. This won’t affect your credit rating. However, other lenders might be able to see you have had a mortgage holiday. 

The mortgage holiday scheme was extended on 4 June 2020. People will be able to request mortgage holidays until 31 October 2020.

If your mortgage holiday is coming to an end, it is important to communicate with your mortgage lender. You can get another holiday of up to three months or other help such as cancelling interest. If your mortgage lender doesn't hear from you, they might assume you can afford to start making payments again.

Rent

If you are struggling with your rent, first check what help you can get through the benefits system.

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

You could also speak to your landlord and ask if they would be willing to let you pay rent late. The suspension on evictions has come to an end. So 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 have debts, get in touch with your creditors and ask them if you could suspend payment. Lots of lenders have special policies in place to help people who are affected by coronavirus.

Credit cards and personal loans

You can ask for a three-month payment holiday on credit card debts and personal loans. This will not affect your credit rating. However, other lenders might be able to see that you took a payment holiday. When the payment holiday comes to an end, you can request one further one, or can ask to make smaller payments.

Interest-free overdrafts

You can ask your bank for a £500 interest-free overdraft facility on your current account. The overdraft will be interest free for three months. If you have already had an overdraft for three months, you can ask for a further three month overdraft. If you are already overdrawn by less than £500, you won't be charged any fees. 

Car loans

You can ask for a three month payment holiday on car loans. If you come to the end of a payment holiday, you can ask for a further three months holiday.

Payday loans

You can ask for a one-month payment holiday on payday loans. At the end of that month, you should get in touch with your lender to see if they are willing to offer further support. If you are struggling with payday loans, you should get free, independent, non-judgemental debt advice.

Pawned possessions

If you have pawned any of your possessions you can ask for a three month extension on repayments before the items you have pawned are sold.  If you come to the end of a payment holiday, you can ask for a further three months.

Rent-to-own

If you have any items on rent-to-own, you can ask for a three month payment holiday. If you come to the end of a payment holiday, you can ask for a further three months.

Get free specialist debt help

Payment holidays are only a temporary fix and won't help with debt problems in the long term. If you are worried about debt, you should get free, specialist debt help

Everyone knows this is a stressful, difficult time for a lot of people. There is a lot of support out there, but if you don’t ask for it you won’t get it.

Updated: 22 October 2020

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