COVID-19: self-employed income support scheme is open

May 18, 2020

Last week the self-employed income support scheme (“SEISS”) opened for claims. HMRC’s advice is that who cannot set up a Government Gateway ID because they have a Northern Ireland driving licence or Irish passport is to claim by phone (0800 024 1222) instead of using the online portal. Check our dedicated SEISS page and download our factsheet on the scheme now. 

The guidance has also been updated as a result of changes in the State Aid section. In the updated guidance there is no longer a requirement that those eligible need to confirm they are below the €800,000 aid cap. 

After amendments, the State Aid Temporary Framework now allows for “Aid in the form of wage subsidies” (section 3.10). This is distinct from the previous “Aid in form of direct grants, repayable advances or tax advantages” category (section 3.1), on which a €800,000 cap applies. As the SEISS was recently approved under section 3.10, the €800,000 cap does not apply to this scheme.  

HMRC have also sent the below message about the scheme. 

“The claims system for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) went live yesterday, 13 May, for eligible customers to begin to make their claims and we are pleased to say the first day of claims has proceeded smoothly. We appreciate the invaluable support you provide to your clients in helping them prepare to claim a grant under this scheme. 

However, we have noticed some agents are using their client’s Government Gateway credentials to make claims on their behalf. Please don’t do this. It will trigger a fraud alert and will result in delays to receiving payment. 

If you have claimed on a client’s behalf already, their payment may be delayed. If your clients are affected, they will have to contact us separately to resolve this. 

As you know, our priority was ensuing we could get money to those who needed it most, as quickly as possible and directly to the individual's bank account. 

The claims system has been designed so it is as simple as possible for customers to use and we will calculate the amount a customer is entitled to, based on the information we already hold. We’re already seeing very positive feedback from customers who’ve made their claim and have found it easy and straightforward. 

How you can help your clients 

Please continue to help your clients by:  

  • talking them through why they may, or may not be eligible, drawing on our online guidance or through our daily webinars 

  • encouraging them to use the online checker (or using it on their behalf to check eligibility) – reminding them that they will need their Unique Taxpayer Reference number and their National Insurance number to do so 

  • encouraging clients who do not have their Government Gateway credentials to set them up online now 

  • reminding them that the date between 13 and 18‌‌ May, which they have been given, is assigned randomly in order to help HMRC manage demand on the service so that everyone who needs to make a claim can do so 

  • helping them understand that while they won’t be able to apply before their allocated claim date, they will be able to make a claim after that day 

  • supporting them to find other help available on GOV.UK, if they are not eligible for a grant under this scheme, and 

  • Not applying for a claim on their behalf. 


Seeking a review of eligibility 

We welcome your support in helping clients to understand if they meet the criteria for SEISS. If you, or your client, wish to seek a review of HMRC’s decision around your client’s eligibility, you can do this using the form available when the checker confirms this result. We will look at their case and we will explain their eligibility by the end of May. 

It’s important to note that the checker has an extremely high accuracy rate as we use the data you or your client has previously provided us with in their tax returns. 

The application process 

When your clients begin the application process, they will be shown how HMRC has calculated the grant they are due to receive. Your clients will be able to share this calculation with you. 

If you, or your client, wish to seek a review of HMRC’s calculation, you can do so on their behalf by logging on to your agent gateway account and submitting the online form available there using your client’s details. 

Watch our animation on how to claim 

We have created a short film to show step-by-step, what the claims process looks like. Please feel free to share this with your clients. 

Further information 

Our phone lines will be very busy over the next few days, so we would really value your help in explaining the scheme to your clients and ensuring they understand the scheme. You can do this by visiting our guidance on GOV.UK which will provide you with most of the answers you may need. 

Join our webinar to find out more 

You can also join one of our live webinars for further information about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. In these webinars we cover an overview of the scheme, who can claim, how much customers may be entitled to, how to claim, what happens after customers have claimed and other support available. Choose a date and time

A word about scams 

We are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. Eligible customers will be invited to claim through GOV‌.UK – it is the only service they can use. If someone gets in touch with your clients claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks them to click on a link or to give information such as their name, credit card or bank details, they should not respond. It is a scam. 

Suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC should reported to us by sending them to Texts should be sent to 60599.”