An estimated 700,000 self-employed workers are being urged to apply for the government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant before today’s deadline. Applications can be made online.
Around 3.4 million self-employed individuals were originally pinpointed as being potentially eligible by the government. However, figures published on 5th July were recently highlighted by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), suggesting just 2.7 million individuals have made a claim for the grant so far.
This first grant covers 80% of three months’ worth of profits, capped at a total of £7,500, for self-employed sole traders or partnership members. The total value of claims so far stands at around £7.7 billion.
Women, younger freelancers and those aged over 65 have been highlighted as the least likely groups to claim from the scheme, with take-up levels standing at 66%, 62% and 65% respectively.
IPSE’s policy development manager, Alasdair Hutchison, called on those groups not to miss out: “We are urging self-employed workers to double-check to see if they are eligible for the first SEISS grant. We would encourage those freelancers in groups which have shown less take-up so far – particularly younger self-employed and women – to check their eligibility if their business has been affected so they can claim a grant.”
“The deadline is also a reminder that SEISS has been a lifeline for millions of self-employed people. We were pleased to see the scheme extended for a second time but urge the government to make it fair and flexible going forward to avoid financial cliff-edge come August and to extend help to groups who have been excluded from support, such as company directors.”
With the overall average take-up of SEISS standing at 70%, there is potential that those who have not claimed may have either ceased trading or not been “adversely affected” by the Coronavirus pandemic. Limited company contractors meanwhile have had to claim for lost salary via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
For those that miss or are not eligible for today’s deadline, a second SEISS grant has been announced by the government and will come into force tomorrow (July 14th). The grant will be available for businesses affected by Covid-19 on or after July 14th and applicants will be able to claim from next month – starting August 17th.