UPDATED: HMRC will open the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) earlier than expected on May 13.
HMRC has begun contacting the 3.5m self-employed who may be eligible to receive a backdated cash grant worth up to £7,500.
Those eligible will receive a letter, email or text message from HMRC with information about how to make an online claim when the SEISS opens on May 13.
Money should hit bank accounts by May 25 or six working days after a claim is made.
Previously chancellor Rishi Sunak had announced the scheme would open in June.
The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will offer a taxable grant of up to 80 per cent of a self-employed person’s income based on their taxable profits over the past three years, capped at £7,500 over a three-month period.
The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80 per cent of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months, and capped at £7,500 altogether.
HMRC says this temporary scheme may be extended.
The grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.
You can check if you’re eligible to claim through the HMRC website here.
Self-Employed Income Support
While the accelerated scheme will be welcomed by the 3.5m self-employed workers thought to be eligible, the government’s decision to press ahead with the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme disappoint up to 2m people who it has been estimated will not qualify for the bailout. Workers unable to claim for the bailout include people who, on average, have earned more than £50,000 a year.
Although the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) welcomed news that self-employed people are being told early if they are eligible for government support, it urged the government to get payments to them too.
Andy Chamberlain, IPSE policy director, said: “We hope the government will also bring forward the payment date, to get money into these struggling self-employed businesses as soon as possible.
“While many self-employed people will get a wave of relief from receiving these early notifications, it is vital we do not lose sight of the many others who are not getting the support they need. Limited company contractors, the newly self-employed and those who have earned just over £50,000 a year have been left out in the cold and urgently need more financial support.
“The self-employed are an extremely varied and vital section of the workforce and the government must keep innovating until it has pulled all parts of it out of the mire.”