Self-employed income support scheme

We have produced this guide to provide you with an overview of these measures. Information is still being released and we will update our information for members as soon as it becomes available. Last update: 5th November 2020

Changes for the self employed 

The existing Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended until 30th April 2021. 

This scheme is open to the self-employed who are continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to COVID 19.  

On the 5th November the Chancellor announced that the self-employed income support scheme will be increased to 80% of trading profits, for the period to November to January for all parts of the UK (it was previously announced that this grant would be 40%, then increased to 55%). Now, it is based on 80% of the average of three moths trading profit, capped at £7,500 for the three-month period November-January 

However, unfortunately, we know that thousands of workers are still missing out on support, and the government have failed to plug some of the gaps that remain in the scheme 

The government has also announced there will be a fourth SEISS grant covering the period February to April.  


How will the next stage of the SEISS work?  

The next rounds of the SEISS will be paid out in two grants each covering 3 months. 

 The first grant will cover the three months between the start of November until the end of January. It will cover 80% of average monthly trading profits. You will get one payment for that three-month period. The payment will be capped at £7500 

The second grant covers the three months between the start of February and the end of April. The government has not yet decided how much tis will be.  


What do I need to do to be eligible? 

You will need to be eligible for the SEISS although you do not have to have applied previously.  

You must also declare that: 

  • You are currently actively trading and intend to continue to trade 
  • You are impacted by reduced demand due to COVID-19 during the qualifying period. Qualifying period means the time between the first of November and the date you claim.  


What can I do if I am not eligible? 

Unfortunately, gaps in the provision for self-employed people remain, and we know there are many people who have fallen through the gaps. We continue to lobby the government to support the forgotten self-employed.  

We believe that the SEISS needs to go further to help more self-employed people.  


Is there other support that I can benefit from as a self-employed person?  

You might benefit from some of the following schemes which have new rules announced as part of the Winter Economy Plan.  

  • Temporary changes to the rules around self-assessment tax returns.

In July 2020 many people deferred self-assessment tax payments to January 2021. Now, the government says that if you owe less than £30,000 in tax, then you will be able to use enhanced Time to Pay to spread these payments over an additional 12 months 

This means you will have the option to spread paying your tax bill from July 2020 out for a year between January 2021 and January 2022.  

  • Government Loans

You may also be eligible for the government loans schemes, whose rules have changed slightly recently. See our page on other support for information about these loans, including the Bounce Back loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans.

  • VAT deferral

Back in summer of 2020, many businesses agreed to defer their VAT payments to 2021. These bills were due to be paid in March 2021.  You will now be able to spread the payments out into 11 equal instalments between March 2021, and January 2022.  

  • VAT reduction for hospitality and tourism. If you are in one of these sectors, then you will continue to be charged a reduced rate of VAT of 5% until 31st March 2020.
  • Business rates relief. If you are in hospitality retail leisure or a nursery, business rates relief is in place until the end of March 2021.
  • Cash grants. If your business is in hospitality, accommodation or leisure (for example, a B&B), in England and was in a tier 2 or 3 area between 1st August and 5th November  you may be eligible for cash grants of up to £2,100 per month, distributed by your local authority. How much you get depends on the rateable value of your business premises. There is more information about these grants here.
  • Cash grants if you are forced to close. If you are forced by national or local restrictions to close then you could get up to £3000 per month. How much you get depends on the rateable value of your business premises. There is more information about these grants here.
  • Mortgage  payment and credit payment holidays. You could get a mortgage payment holiday of up to six months without this being recorded on your credit file, and payments holidays are also available for car finance and personal loans, without this affecting your credit footprint.

You might also be eligible for help through the befits system, such as Universal Credit, or Employment and Support Allowance.  

Note if you are on universal credit, and have been affected by the minimum income floor, that the floor will continue to be suspended until the end of April 2021.