Some self-employed people are not eligible. If you became self-employed since April last year, you won’t receive a grant. This is because the Government does not have evidence of your earnings through the self-assessment system, as you won’t yet have filed a self-assessment tax return.
If you started trading before April 2019, but haven’t yet filed a tax return for 2018/ 19, you have been given until April 23rd 2020 to file, so that the Government can consider you for this scheme. If you generate profits above £50,000 a year, you are not eligible for the grant.
If you own a limited company and you're the only person it employs, you're not covered by this scheme. However, you may be able to furlough yourself and get the same support as an employee. You’re not able to work for your company while you are furloughed. There's more information on the Gov.uk website.
If you can’t furlough yourself, you may be able to access other types of support for businesses, such as business interruption loans. The official guidance on this is also on the Gov.uk site.
If you find you're not eligible for either of these support schemes, the Government has improved access to benefits, such as Universal Credit. The rate of support available is £95.85 a week in tax year 2020-21. The Government has also deferred the requirement to make your second self-assessment tax payment on account from July this year until the end of January 2021, if your earnings have been adversely affected.
There are other forms of support you could benefit from, including mortgage payment holidays for three months and for renters who are self-employed, a temporary ban on evictions for three months. Landlords are also being encouraged to offer rent payment holidays, reduced rent payment options and general leniency.
If you're self-employed and are concerned about how you will manage; check what support your lender or current account provider is offering. Our guide on what to do if you're struggling to pay bills has more information.
If you're worried about or struggling with debts, debt advice charities are also on hand to give free, tailored guidance on what your next steps should be. These include:
If you live in Northern Ireland, you should contact Advice NI.
If you have savings that can be accessed easily, consider drawing upon these now in order to avoid using debt. Keep an eye on the interest you are being charged on any debt and look around for lower interest rates if you can. Cut back on spending as far as possible. If you experience delays in applying for benefits or other help or advice, keep trying.
You can read the Government’s official guidance for the self-employed on the Gov.uk website.