Support for self-employed

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Chancellor has announced a new Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. You do not need to get in touch with HMRC as the scheme isn’t yet open for applications. HMRC will contact eligible customers by the beginning of June, inviting them to apply. You can read these useful FAQs on the SEISS scheme.

Income Tax payments deferred for self-employed 

Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

Apply for Universal Credit

If you’re getting less work or no work because of coronavirus, you can apply online for Universal Credit. You do not need to go into a Jobcentre to apply and the minimum income floor has been removed for the duration of the outbreak for those who are self-employed.

Arts Council England funding for freelancers

Arts Council England is aiming to support artists, creative practitioners and freelancers during this crisis by making £20 million of financial support available to individuals, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months.

Film and TV industry funding for freelancers

Freelancers and workers in the screen industries will be able to apply until 22 April for one-off grants of between £500 and £2,500 to help them get through the coronavirus crisis. The Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund has been created by the BFI and the Film and TV Charity with donations from Netflix, the BFI, BBC Studios, BBC Content, WarnerMedia and several individuals. The fund will prioritise providing emergency relief to the workers and freelancers who are most affected by productions closing across the UK. It will be open to all those working in production, distribution and exhibition. The charity has set out the exact eligibility criteria and level of individual funding, and details on eligibility and how to apply can be found here.

Those in urgent need of support can also apply to the charity’s existing hardship fund, which offers grants of up to £500. In addition to both these funds, the Film and TV Charity will also open a new Covid-19 Film and TV Repayable Grants Scheme offering support for industry freelancers waiting for payment under the Government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Those eligible for Self-employment Income Support but who can’t wait for payments until June will be able to apply for a repayable grant of up to £2,000 from Wednesday 15 April.

Other sources of information and support

  • IPSE – The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed features some useful resources and FAQs relating to COVID-19 on its website.
  • The Money Advice Service – On this website you’ll find information on what you may be entitled to claim in terms of benefits, including useful advice on claiming Universal Credit.