Self-employment Income Support Scheme

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The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your taxable profits after reliefs and allowances, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.

You must have been trading as self-employed in 18/19 and 19/20 and intend to keep trading in 20/21. You must have submitted an 18/19 tax return but, if yours is outstanding, there is now an extension to 23 April by which date you must submit the return.

Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income must come from self-employment. HMRC will look at the average of your last three years of total trading profits up to and including 18/19 if you have been trading that long.

If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you are not eligible for this grant but you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

Make a claim: You cannot apply yet and do not need to contact HMRC. HMRC will contact those who are eligible for the scheme Claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Chancellor has said that the first payments should be made at the beginning of June. Self-employed people who have lost income because of COVID-19 and need immediate support should be able to access the following support in the mean time:

Universal Credit for the self-employed

If you are self-employed (or otherwise ineligible for SSP) you are able to claim Universal Credit, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria.

To support you with the economic impact of the outbreak, and allow you to follow government guidance on staying at home, from 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change will apply to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak.

From 6 April the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit are being extended for one year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.

If required you can access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a jobcentre.

If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland

Support for rent costs

You should check your eligibility for Universal Credit, which is available for people in and out of work. Support for rental costs will be paid through Universal Credit.

From April, there is an increase to Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.

Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

HMRC will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.


For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.


All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.


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