Covid: What help is available for people not supported through business support package?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a package to support around 600,000 businesses to access a one-off grant of up to £9,000 to survive the third lockdown, but what help is out there for people who are not eligible for this grant?

If you are self-employed or work in the gig economy, this is the alternative help that is available to you.

What help is available for self-employed people?

A grant is available for self-employed people to cover lost income from 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021.

If you’re eligible, you can claim 80% of your average profits up to a maximum of £7,500 for three months from the government.

Applications for this grant opened on 30 November 2020 and the deadline for applying is 29 January 2021.

Another grant will be available to cover lost income from February to April 2021.

However, it’s not yet known how much this will cover or when the deadline for applying will be.

Who is eligible for the self-employed grant?

You can use the scheme if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and:

  • Your self-employed profits must not be more than £50,000 per year

  • You must earn more than half your income from self-employment (i.e 50% or more)

  • Traded in the 2019-20 year and intend to continue trading in 2020-21

  • Filed a tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for the tax year 2018-19

You must either:

  • Be currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus

  • Have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

You should keep evidence to show how you’ve been affected by coronavirus so you can prove you’ve lost income.

If you pay yourself a salary and dividends through a company, you will not be eligible for the self-employed support. If you’ve become self-employed since April 2019, you will not be eligible for the self-employed grant, but you may be able to access other government support, including benefits and business support grants.

How to claim

To make your claim you will need your:

• Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)• National Insurance number• Government Gateway user ID and password• UK bank details including account number, sort code, name on the account and address linked to the account

You must make your claim on or before 29 January 2021 here.

What help can I receive if I work in the gig economy?

Gig economy workers can apply for Universal Credit or the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

But gig economy workers are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, sick leave or paid holiday leave.

Advances for Universal Credit are available immediately – as the benefit usually takes around five weeks to set up.

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs, you may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.