THE SEISS GRANT EXTENSION. WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT AND ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?

I recently wrote an article about the second SEISS grant (which, by the way, you can still apply for up until October 19th). I discussed the main details of this grant, the eligibility criteria, and how one could go about claiming it.

    

Last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an extension to the SEISS grant to help self-employed individuals weather the tough winter months ahead. For that reason, I’m going to highlight all the details you need to know about the SEISS grant extension in this article - what it involves, who’s eligible and how claims can be made.

 

What exactly does the SEISS grant extension entail?

The extension runs from November 2020 to April 2021 and consists of two three month grants. The first taxable grant will cover November to January and will cover twenty percent (20%) of an individual's average monthly trading profits, capped at a total of £1,875. The second grant will cover February 2021 to April 2021 and its full details are yet to be shared with the public. 

Before we go any further, let’s see how the details of this grant extension compare to the first and second SEISS grants available to applicants to date: 

  • The first grant, which closed on July 13th, paid a larger 80 percent of earnings, with the total paid capped at a higher £7,500

  • The second grant, which closes on October 19th, covers up to 70 percent of your trading profits over three months, and is capped at £6,570

 

Woman using laptop while sitting on chair

 

Personally, I wasn’t too impressed on hearing the details of the grant extension on Thursday. 

Why? 

Well, the government has gone from covering 80 and 70 percent of one’s average trading profits as part of the first and second grants respectively, to covering a mere 20 percent of earnings as part of the first three month instalments of the SEISS extension. 

That’s a massive decrease in financial support for self employed individuals who are gravely concerned about how they’ll keep their heads above water in the months ahead. 

Emma James, Accountant, feels much the same. 

“While the extension to the scheme is to be welcomed, the reality is that 20% is too low to be of much help to the majority of those eligible,” she explained.

As a second wave of Covid-19 grips the UK and virus cases increase, a reintroduction and tightening of restrictions inevitably means that there’ll be less work for many self employed individuals. It seems grossly unfair, therefore, to reduce support for the self employed so drastically. 

 

Are you eligible to claim for the SEISS extension?

If you’re self employed and you want to apply for the extension, you must: 

  • Be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). It’s important to note however, that you don’t need to have claimed previous SEISS grants to be eligible for the extension grants

  • Be able to show that you are actively trading at present and plan to continue doing so

  • Be able to demonstrate that you are impacted by decreased demand due the pandemic in the qualifying period, which is between 1 November and the date of claim

 

How to apply 

Details on how to apply for the grant extension have yet to be released. Potential applicants have been advised that this information is to be published on GOV.UK (presumably on this page) at a later date. 

 

More Support Needed

“There are many industries which are still unable to reopen, and this does nothing to help those who have been without work since March. The extension also does nothing to address the lack of support available to those not eligible for the original scheme.”

-Emma James, Accountant 

It’s imperative that the government puts forward more financial support for the self-employed in the coming months, not only for those who are eligible to apply for the extension, but also for those left behind by the original SEISS scheme. For example, thousands of newly self employed individuals do not qualify for these grants along with individuals trading through a trust or a limited company. 

If you can apply for the grant extension, I’d highly recommend you to do so. Furthermore, I’d highly encourage both individuals who qualify for this extended scheme, and those who do not, to apply pressure on government officials to produce better support for the self employed during this extremely stressful time. 

Write to your local councillors, send out tweets, sign petitions. 

Do what it takes to make your voice heard.

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