Changes to Self-Employment Income Support Scheme eligibility could leave millions without support

Monday, 17th August 2020, 4:36 pm
Updated Monday, 17th August 2020, 4:37 pm
Rishi SUnak confirmed an extension of the SEISS scheme in June - but some may be set to miss out (Getty Images)
Rishi SUnak confirmed an extension of the SEISS scheme in June - but some may be set to miss out (Getty Images)

Applications for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opened up today (17 Aug), but millions of workers could be without support from the government for six weeks, according to the Telegraph.

The newspaper claims that some would only be able to apply for the grant if they were adversely impacted on or after 14 July. This would mean that those who signed up to the first grant to cover losses from March to May would face a funding gap from May to July.

Hospitality sector could be hit

In June, the government said that the second grant would only be eligible for those impacted after 14 July.

Non-essential shop, bar and restaurant owners could be impacted by the technicality, as they were able to open on 15 June and 4 July, respectively, in England.

Tom McInally of Tommy’s Tax App told the Telegraph, “I’m alarmed that everyone appears to be dismissing the change as insignificant. This is rubbish, the calculation will have a huge impact on eligibility.”

Almost 80 per cent of the UK’s self-employed applied for the original scheme, collectively claiming £7.8 billion.

How does the scheme work?

Introduced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in March, the scheme initially allowed self-employed people to claim a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of their average monthly trading profits. This was to be paid out in a single instalment, covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500, in total.

The scheme was extended in June.

The second grant is a taxable grant worth 70 per cent of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment, and covering a further three months’ worth of profits. It is capped at £6,570.

Claimants can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment, including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist.

The grant does not need to be repaid but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.

When can I apply for a second grant?

It became possible to apply for the second SEISS grant from 17 August, with a deadline of 19 October.

How to apply

You can make your claim at tax.service.gov.uk