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SEISS: can I apply for the next self-employed support grant?

SEISS: can I apply for the next self-employed support grant?
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The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been a lifesaver for self-employed workers in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic. Because of the scheme, a large number of workers have been able to keep themselves and their businesses afloat. The next round of applications for the self-employed support grant is due to open on Monday 30 November.

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There is, however, one notable change to the qualifying criteria, so we’ve prepared this useful guide to help you determine whether you can still apply.

How can I apply?

You can apply for the next self-employment support grant through the online government service, which HMRC says will be available from 30 November.

How much can you get for the third self-employed grant?

Self-employed workers will be able to get a SEISS grant worth 80% of average monthly trading profits up to a cap of £7,500. This an increase from the 55% the government announced previously.

Those who are successful will receive the money as a single instalment.

What are the new qualifying criteria for the self-employed grant?

In a broad sense, the criteria for the third self-employed grant are similar to those for the first and second grants. There is, however, one key difference that applicants need to aware of.

According to info from the gov.uk website, to qualify this time around, you must reasonably believe that you will suffer ‘a significant reduction’ in trading profits (over the tax year that you report them in).

This reduction needs to the result of either of these two reasons:

1. Reduced demand activity or capacity

For this, you’ll need to prove that:

  • You have fewer customers than normal, which has led to reduced activity because of social distancing and other restrictions.
  • One or more of your contracts has been cancelled and not replaced.
  • You have carried out less work because of supply chain disruptions.

2. You’re temporarily unable to trade 

Here, you have to prove that:

  • Your business has closed because of government restrictions.
  • You’ve been instructed to self-isolate in line with NHS guidelines and cannot work from home – this doesn’t count if you’ve returned from travel abroad and have to self-isolate.
  • You’ve tested positive for the virus and cannot work.
  • You are unable to work because of parental caring responsibilities (e.g. as a result of child care facility closures).

So how do these requirements differ from those of grants one and two?

Well, for grants one and two, you were only required to show that you had been ‘adversely affected’ by coronavirus.

What this means is that, for the third self-employed grant, you can’t make a claim, for example, if the only impact of coronavirus was increased costs for your business, such as the purchase of face masks or cleaning supplies.

In addition, those excluded from the first two grants are still excluded and won’t be able to get the next grant.

The ultimate result of the new qualifying criteria? Probably fewer people getting the self-employed grant.

What are the alternatives if I don’t qualify?

Luckily, there are several other grants for self-employed workers that you could qualify for. These include the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

You might also qualify for benefits such as Universal Credit.

However, if you think you qualify for SEISS but are also claiming Universal Credit, note that the money from the grant will count as income. This could potentially decrease your Universal Credit payments.

In this case, it might be worth delaying your SEISS application so as to maximise your Universal Credit payments.

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