How to apply for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Update: The information in this article relates to the third SEISS grant, available for the three month period covering November 2020 to January 2021. For more information on the eligibility criteria for the scheme and details about how much it is worth, please visit our FAQ page

If you’re self-employed and have been affected by the coronavirus, you may be eligible to claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).  The scheme first opened in May and was worth 80% of past average monthly trading profits for those eligible. A second grant, worth 70% was open in August and closed for applications on 19 October.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme extended

The Chancellor has since announced the scheme will be extended a further two times, lasting for six months from November 2020 to April 2021. Although these new grants were expected to be worth 20% of past average monthly trading profits, the government announced on 22 October that this would be increased to 40%, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £3,750 in total. However following the recent reintroduction of national lockdown measures, and to keep the level of support broadly comparable with the extension of the furlough scheme, it has now been confirmed the third grant will again be worth 80% of past trading profits, up to a cap of £7,500.

SEISS grant claim process

The online service for the next grant will be available from 30 November 2020 and here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply once it is open.

1. Check for your eligibility for the SEISS grant

The SEISS grant extension is open to self-employed workers who were previously eligible for the first and second grants. You must declare that you intend to continue trading and either are 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.

As a reminder, there are various conditions of eligibility to qualify:

  • You must have traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year
  • You must have traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
  • You must intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • Your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading profits (according to your 2018 to 2019 Self Assessment tax return)

Various caveats of eligibility are outlined in this guide to SEISS.

The scheme is unfortunately not open to self-employed people working through limited companies or the newly self-employed. 

2. Gather evidence for your SEISS claim

In order to submit a claim, you must show that the coronavirus pandemic and concurrent lockdown has had a negative impact on your business.

There has been a slight change in the criteria between the first two grants and the third one. You must declare that your business has been impacted by reduced demand due to COVID-19 in the qualifying period, rather than simply being 'adversely affected'.

As such, it is worth keeping some evidence of the impact Covid-19 has had on your business. Evidence may take the form of:

  • Accounts showing a decrease in turnover or increase in costs
  • Dates that your business had to close due to lockdown restrictions and/or that you or your staff were unable to work due to coronavirus symptoms, shielding or caring responsibilities
  • Confirmation of coronavirus-related business loans received
  • Examples of contracts or projects being delayed or cancelled

3. Make your SEISS claim

You must submit a claim yourself rather than have someone submit one on your behalf. To apply, you will need:

  • Your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your Government Gateway user ID and password – if you do not have an existing user ID you can create one when you claim
  • Your UK bank details including a bank account number, sort code, name on the account and your address linked to your bank account

The link to make your claim can be found here.

4. Receiving the SEISS grant

Claims will be checked and grants paid into your bank account within 6 working days. You will receive an email once the payment is on its way.

For full details on the SEISS, visit the GOV.UK guide here.

At IPSE, we understand how frustrating it is that key self-employed groups like directors of limited companies and the newly self-employed have been left out of the scheme. We are campaigning hard against to change this: find out more about our work here.

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