On Thursday 26th March, the UK Government announced how they plan to support self-employed people during COVID-19. Click on this link to find out more and if you can apply.

Self-employed people will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months to help offset the negative financial impacts of coronavirus.

The grant will be available to: 

  • Those who earn under £50,000
  • Those who earn the majority of their income from self employment
  • Those who are already in self employment 
  • Those who have a tax return for 2019. If you missed the January deadline to submit your tax return you can submit one by the 23rd April 2020. You can find information on how to submit your tax return here, or contact our partners at Octopus Accounting. 

HMRC will then contact those who are eligible with a form to fill in, and the first payments are expected to be made in June, and then for 3 months. 

More immediate support

There are two types of support that you may be able to receive through the welfare system:

  1. Employment and Support Allowance
  2. Universal Credit

You will need your National Insurance number to apply for both types of support. People who need to claim ESA or Universal Credit because of COVID-19 will not be required to produce a sick note.

'New Style' Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA is the fastest way to access money. If you qualify for ESA you will receive £73.10 per week (or £57.90 if you are under 25).T o qualify for ESA you will have to have paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last 2 – 3 years. 

You will need to complete an application form to apply for ESA. You will then need to call the helpline (0800 328 5644) to book an appointment for a discussion about your claim.  

You should have the following information to hand for your appointment:

  • Your completed application form
  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of any pensions you get
  • Proof of any health insurance payments you get

To claim this support call 0800 328 5644.  

Next steps

Once your claim is submitted, you’ll be asked to confirm your identity using a passport, driving license or other form of government ID. In most cases this can be done online. If you do not have a valid form of ID you may be told to call the Universal Credit support helpline.

You will then be asked to book a telephone appointment to discuss your application. 

Universal Credit (UC)

To claim Universal Credit you must create an online account with the Government and provide details about your finances. These details will help decide the amount of support you may qualify for.

Click here to create an account and complete an application form. Please visit this page to find out what information you’ll need to apply. If you need help creating an account or completing your application, call 0800 328 5644.

To complete your online claim, you should have the following information to hand:

  • Your earnings for the last month – this is all earnings, not just what you have earned delivering with Stuart 
  • Any expenses you have from being self employed – for example, your fuel costs 
  • Your housing costs (such as your rent or mortgage)
  • Any savings you have over £6,000
  • Anyone else that lives in your household. If you live with a partner, they will also need to open a Universal Credit account
  • Any childcare costs
  • Any other income you may receive – for example, a pension or a bursary

You can read the Government’s advice on Universal Credit and COVID-19 here.

Normally it can take up to five weeks to receive your first payment of Universal Credit. However, during your telephone appointment you can ask for an advance payment of Universal Credit. You can read more about advances here.

How much Universal Credit you can get and how much of an advance you can ask for will be based on your personal circumstances.

ESA and UC can be claimed separately or at the same time. 

Mortgage payments

The Government also announced on Tuesday 17 March that they had agreed with banks that affected individuals may be offered a three-month mortgage ‘holiday’, allowing them a temporary break from having to make mortgage payments during this time. For more details please contact your bank.

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