Coronavirus: Self-employed affected by pandemic can apply for new grants

The second stage of the government scheme to support the incomes of self-employed people through the coronavirus crisis opens for applications today.

Under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), eligible applicants will receive a single grant worth 70% of average monthly trading profits for three months, capped at £6,570.

Anyone whose self-employed business has been hit by the pandemic since 14 July may make a claim – and the Treasury has said money will be paid into their accounts within six days.

The SEISS scheme has already handed out £7.8bn of grants to more than 2.7 million people across the UK.

Examples of those eligible might include builders unable to work on construction sites due to government restrictions or a slowdown in work, and shopkeepers affected by closures, reduced trade, or higher costs due to social distancing.

The first stage of the scheme saw it pay out 80% of average monthly trading profits for three months, capped at £7,500.

But, as with the larger coronavirus jobs retention scheme (CJRS) furlough scheme for employees, the scale of support is starting to be tapered off.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our self-employment income support scheme has already helped millions of people, whose hard work running their own businesses is crucial to our economy.

“It means that people’s livelihoods across the country will remain protected as we continue our economic recovery – helping them get back on their feet as we return to normal.”

The Treasury said HM Revenue and Customs would contact all of those who are potentially eligible, even if they did not apply for the first grant.

As with the first stage of the scheme, applicants will need to have trading profits of no more than £50,000, making up at least half of their total income.

The scheme closes on 19 October. An online application service is available to claim the grant.

People can claim if they are a self-employed individual or member of a partnership whose business has been adversely affected through coronavirus.

Those trading through a limited company or a trust cannot claim.

People who are unable to work because they are shielding, self-isolating, on sick leave, or who have caring responsibilities due to coronavirus are among those counted as adversely affected.

Others include those whose businesses have had to scale down or temporarily stop trading or incurred additional costs.

That may because their supply chain has been interrupted, they have fewer or no customers, staff are unable to come into work, contracts have been cancelled, or they have had to buy protective equipment to carry on trading.

Those who receive the grant may continue to work, start a new trade or take on voluntary work.

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