Coronavirus: Government pay for self employed

The government’s Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been extended for a further period until July 2021, making grants available to self-employed people as outlined below.

Summary of the SEISS grant amounts

The first grant covered the 3-month period from May to July 2020. It represented 80% of average monthly trading profits and was capped at £2,500 per month or £7,500 in total.

The second grant was for the period August to October 2020 and was 70% of average monthly trading profits over 3 months, capped at £6,570.

The third grant covered November 2020 to January 2021.  This time, eligible self-employed people could once again get a grant calculated at 80% of their average trading profits, capped at £7,500.

The fourth grant is for the period from February to April 2021, and continues to offer 80% of average trading profits, capped at  £7,500 in total.

Self-employed people who submitted their 2019/20 tax returns by 2 March 2021 can submit their self-assessment tax returns for 2018/19 and 2019/20 as evidence of their earnings and of the impact the pandemic had on their business.

This gives scope for the newly self-employed to qualify, whereas previously they hadn’t been able to.

The fifth grant is available from May 2021, covering the period May to July 2021, but the details have yet to be announced.

More details about the grants

  • Each of these payments is a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of your average monthly trading profits and based on average income over the last three years.
  • Each grant is subject to tax and National Insurance contributions.
  • You can claim these grants and continue to do business.

Who can get an SEISS grant?

  • The Scheme is only open to people with trading profits of up to £50,000 (which covers 95% of self-employed people). Self- employed people who earn more do not qualify.
  • Only people who make the majority of their income from self-employment are eligible.  So if you are employed but have a ‘side job’ which is self-employed, you are not eligible.
  • It’s only for those who have submitted a tax return for 2019 (to minimise fraud).
  • The scheme is open to people from across UK.

Further conditions

  • You have to confirm that your business has been affected by the virus on or after the dates given by the government for each grant.
  • You have to make a declaration saying that you intend to continue trading and that you are either:
    • currently actively trading but are adversely affected by reduced demand because of coronavirus OR
    • previously trading but can’t do so temporarily because of Covid-19.


HMRC will pay the grant straight into the bank account of eligible self-employed people, after asking them to fill in an online form.


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