Almost 3 million self-employed people could be eligible for a grant of up to £6,570 under the second phase of a government income support scheme which opened yesterday.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) issues grants to self-employed people to help them cope with the financial impact of COVID-19.
The scheme opened for its final round on Monday, and had more than 39,000 applicants by mid-morning, according to HMRC.
The government is offering a grant worth up to 70% of average profits, paid as a lump sum. The total payout its capped at £6,570.
To be eligible, workers must have submitted a Self-Assessment return for 2018-19 before 23rd April 2020, have traded last tax year and intending to trade again this year.
Their total profits should not be worth more than £50,000, and their income from self-employment income must be more than half of their total income.
Our self-employment income support scheme has already helped millions of hard-working people who get up and go drive is crucial to our economy. It means that people’s livelihoods across the country will remain protected as we continue our economic recovery - helping them get back on their feet as we return to normal.Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said
The offering is slightly lower than the first round of grants, which closed for application in June.
In the first round of the scheme, more than 2.7 million workers retrieved payments worth up to 80% of their average profits over three months, based on their past accounts. The payment was capped at £7,500.
As with the first round, self-employed people who work as freelancers, pay themselves in dividends or don't have books reaching back to 2018-19 are not eligible for the grant.
In June, MPs estimated that there could be more than 1 million self-employed people who fall into these categories – and don’t qualify for help.
The Treasury Select Committee launched an investigation into the issue, urging the government to do "whatever it takes" to widen the net.
But the committee agreed in its interim report, published in June, that changes made to the scheme in its current form was still not enough.
"The government must assist these people if it is to completely fulfil its promise to do whatever it takes to protect people from the economic impact of coronavirus" read the report.
SEISS also drew criticism when it was revealed last month that it made overpayments worth £12m.
Vitally, however, HMRC did not ask for the money to be repaid.
Applications for the second grant close on 19th October. You do not need to have taken the first grant in order to apply.
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