Self-employed grant scheme to open to applications

MILLIONS of self-employed people whose businesses have been affected by coronavirus can apply for grants from the government from Wednesday.

The Self Employed Income Support Scheme is designed to match the support being given to furloughed employees.

The grants will be calculated as 80% of average monthly profit over a period of up to three years. The government said the money will be paid into the accounts of eligible people six days after applying.

The maximum payment will be £7,500, intended to cover March, April and May. The scheme is the biggest direct financial support package for freelancers and the self-employed since lockdown started.

The process will be run by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which has been operating and overseeing loan schemes and the government’s furlough payments.

HMRC says most of the 3.5 million people affected should have been contacted, and invited to get ready to make a claim by using its eligibility checker.

They will then have been given a time at which to apply, between Wednesday and 18 May, although if applicants are unable to file at that time HMRC says they can still go ahead and apply.

Inevitably, some people’s records will not be up to date or they may not be at their normal address. HMRC says anyone who thinks they are eligible but has not heard from it should go to its website and use the checker tool. Claims can then be made from 17 May.

Most should receive any money they are entitled to from 25 May.


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