Covid-19: Advice for Employees

If you are self-employed, please read the following information:

  • The UK Government has launched the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, to make sure people who work for themselves get the financial support they need. The Government will pay self-employed people across the whole UK who have been adversely affected by coronavirus a grant worth 80 per cent of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month, for three months – but this will be extended for longer if necessary.
  • Self-employed people who are eligible will be contacted by HMRC directly, asked to fill out a simple online form, and HMRC will pay the grant directly into their bank account. The Treasury expects people to access the scheme by the beginning of June. For more details visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme#eligible
  • The scheme will only be open to those with trading profits up to £50,000, meaning 95 per cent of people who are majority self-employed will be eligible for the scheme.
  • HMRC will also ask people to demonstrate that the majority of their income comes from self-employment, and, to minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment, and who have a tax return for 2019, will be able to apply. Anyone who missed the tax filing deadline in January has 4 weeks from 26 March to submit their tax return.
  • If you are newly self-employed and ineligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, you can claim up to £2,000 from a scheme managed East Lothian Council. You will be eligible if you became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019, over half your income is from self-employment, and your trading profits were below £50,000 in financial year 2019-20. Further information is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/coronavirus/newly-self-employed-hardship-fund.
  • Right now, you can more easily make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or new style Employment and Support Allowance. For more information on how to claim, please visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance. You will now be able to claim online and access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a Jobcentre Plus.
  • The minimum income floor on Universal Credit has been suspended for 12 months. This means self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate that is equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees. If self-employed claimants’ work, and therefore earnings, have significantly reduced due to the impact of COVID-19 guidance on self-isolation and social distancing, and the wider economic impacts of the outbreak, their Universal Credit award will increase to reflect their lower earnings.
  • If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate.
  • The UK Government have increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £1,000 a year. The Universal Credit standard allowance will increase by £86.67 per month (equivalent to £20 per week), on top of the planned annual uprating. Together these measures are estimated to benefit over 4 million of our most vulnerable households.
  • You no longer need to phone the Government as part of your Universal Credit claim. New changes mean that if there is information that needs to be verified as part of your claim, the Department for Work and Pensions will phone you. This is in response to the large volume of calls to Universal Credit phone lines and will mean you do not face long waits on the phone trying to get through to a member of staff.
  • The UK Government have also deferred income tax self-assessment payments. Income tax self-assessment payments for July will be deferred until the end of January 2021.
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Published by Sarah Russell on behalf East Lothian Conservative and Unionist Association, 4 Church Street, Haddington EH41 3EX