The second lockdown: SEISS grants for the self-employed

Following the government’s second lockdown announcement, Self-Employment Income Support (SEISS) grants are being increased to mirror the extended furlough scheme.

What could I claim?

The extension provides for two additional taxable grants payable for the three months from 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 and 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021. The stated aim of the changes is to ensure that self-employed individuals who temporarily cannot carry out their business, or have suffered reduced demand due to the outbreak, are supported over winter.

  • The first grant from 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 is broken down as a) based on 80% of “average monthly trading profits” paid for November 2020 and b) 40% of average monthly trading profits paid for December - January 2021. Overall as an average, this equates to 55% of average monthly trading profits, subject to the total grant being capped at £5,160. It will be paid in a single instalment.
  • And, to ensure those who need support get it as soon as possible, payments will also be made more quickly, with the availability of the online claims window being brought forward from 14 December to 30 November 2020.

The government has stated that the extended scheme provides: “broadly equivalent support to the self-employed as we are providing to employees through the government contribution in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in November and then the Job Support Scheme in the two subsequent months”.

The second grant

It is planned that the lockdown requirements and the level of the second grant will be reviewed by the government and details will be provided in due course.

This second grant will cover a three-month period from 1 February 2021 until 30 April 2021. These grants are taxable income and are also subject to National Insurance contributions.

Important conditions to note

To be eligible for the SEISS grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  1. Have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants).
  2. Declare that they intend to continue to trade and are either currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to Coronavirus; OR were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to Coronavirus.

Further guidance

More details on the Self-Employment Income Support Grant and eligibility criteria can be found on the GOV.UK website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension.

For further information or advice on any of the issues raised, or for help with cash flow management and accessing extra financial help during the Coronavirus pandemic, please call us on 01225 325580, email info@richardsonswift.co.uk, or contact your usual client director.

Please note that this is only a summary of the main issues and should not be construed as advice. Every effort has been made to ensure factual accuracy at the time of publication (4 November 2020), however, the government response to the Coronavirus situation is changing 24-7, so it should not be relied upon completely.