SEISS flexibility: Self-employed parents given extra support – ‘unfair glitch’ resolved

SEISS can provide self-employed claimants with a grant from the state to keep themselves afloat, so long as they’re eligible. However, the scheme has been criticised by some for being restrictive and limited in certain areas.


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In recent weeks, the government has made efforts to extend both the SEISS and furlough rules to ensure as much support as possible can be awarded.

This week, the government made further changes for SEISS, aimed specifically at self-employed parents.

Their update detailed that self-employed parents whose trading profits dipped in 2018/19 because they took time out to have children will be able to claim for a payment under SEISS.

To be eligible at all the claimant must have traded in 2018/19 with their profits making up at least half of their total income.

They must also have submitted a self-assessment tax return on or before April 23 2020 for the 2018/19 tax year.

The government’s announcement detailed the following: “The Treasury has ensured parents, including mothers, fathers and those who have adopted, who took time out of trading to care for their children within the first 12 months of birth of the child or within 12 months of an adoption placement, will now be able to use either their 2017-18 or both their 2016-17 and 2017-18 self-assessment returns as the basis for their eligibility for the SEISS.

“They will also need to meet the other standard eligibility criteria for support under the SEISS.

“Further details of the change for self-employed parents will be set out by the start of July in published guidance.”

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The new flexibility has been welcomed by many.

However, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) highlighted that while it is a positive step in the right direction, it is still only a “small step”.

Alasdair Hutchison, a Policy Development Manager at IPSE, commented on the changes: “This important change resolves an unfair glitch in the system and will help a significant number of self-employed parents claim the support they need.

“This move also shows it’s possible for the government to be more flexible with the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).


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“It should now be a small step for it to extend this flexibility to other desperate, struggling groups like people who went self-employed in the last year.”

He went on to call on the government to address some of the previously highlighted issues with SEISS.

As he concluded: “We also urge the government to look again at the issue of freelancers working through limited companies.

“There are at least 710,000 of these people across the UK who have had little to no support during this crisis.

“Fewer people than expected have drawn down on SEISS: we now urge the government to use these extra funds give support to this vital and forgotten group.”

In late May Rishi Sunak announced that a second and final grant could be claimed from August. 

However, this grant will cover less than the original. 

The second grant would cover 70 percent of averaged trading profits, up to a maximum of ££6,570 in total.

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