We have seen an increase in the number of self-employed workers and business owners contacting us because they have been affected by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and aren’t entitled to the support already laid out by the government – namely SSP and the job retention scheme.
The government has now laid out plans to support self-employed workers to access the same level of support as employed workers.
What is the government offering?
- The Self-employed Income Support Scheme will pay a taxable grant 80% of their average monthly profit over the last 3 years.
- It’s open to anyone with profits of up to £50k and where their income is primarily from self-employment.
- In order to qualify, they must have a tax-return for 2019 but, for anyone that missed the return deadline in January, they will be allowed 4 weeks from today to complete it and access this grant.
- Self-employed workers should be able to access this scheme by early June but, in the meantime, there is other support they may be able to claim which was announced previously.
What help can I access now?
If you have suffered a loss of earnings you may be able to make a claim for Universal Credit or ‘New Style’ Employment and Support Allowance with, or instead of, Universal Credit depending on your National Insurance record. These benefits are now being paid straight away rather than having to wait several weeks.
If you’re self-employed or run a business, you may be able to access a grant or government loan to support you through this difficult time. You can find guidance on whether you’re eligible here.
VAT and self-assessment income tax payments have also been deferred – VAT by 3 months until June 2020, self-assessment payments until January 2021 – and retail and hospitality businesses won’t have to pay business rates for the 2020 – 2021 tax year.
What should you do if you can’t afford to pay your bills?
If you’re struggling, the best thing you can do is to talk to the people you need to pay. They have to consider your circumstances fairly. We’ve also published an article about how to prioritise your bills during this crisis.
What about your debt management plan?
If you’re already a client of ours and you’re worried about your payments, contact us. We’ll be able to let all your creditors know your situation, so that’ll be one less thing to worry about.
Struggling with debts and need help?
If you’re not already a client and you have been struggling with debt for a while, you may benefit from some debt advice. We have an online debt advice tool, which provides tailored advice, which you can access here.