Understanding SEISS Grants

by Dani Thompson

Covid-19, the apocalypse that hit 2020 and threw the world into chaos.

Hopefully if you’re reading this, you’ve managed to stay safe and have your health to be thankful for but lockdown does mean that a lot of work has dried up. I know I’ve definitely felt it, the TV and film industry was one of the first to shut up shop even before lockdown was called and of course as far as modelling goes, shoots haven’t been able to take place.

But help is at hand - if you live in the UK you may be eligible for . Here is my guide to the extra help you may be eligible for:

Have you been self employed and filed your accounts for over 3 years?


If you have then good news, you could be eligible for a Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant.

The grant is available to self employed individuals with trading profits of up to £50,000 per year whose majority of income comes from being self employed and who have been adversely affected by the corona virus crisis and pays out 80% of the average of your monthly earnings (worked out by them via your tax returns so you don’t have to do any of the maths) for 3 months up to a maximum of £7,500 per month at which it is capped and is paid out in a single instalment.

If you receive the grant, you are allowed to continue to work or take on other employment during this time which is good news for content creators.

To claim for the first grant, you must do so before 13th July 2020.

To find out if you’re eligible, go to: 


To make your claim, you will need to have these things on hand.

  • Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – you should be able to find this on your tax return.

  • National Insurance number. 

  • Government Gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you make your claim, I didn’t know mine but it was easy enough to get a new one.

  • UK bank details (only provide bank account details where a BACS payment can be accepted). 

Keep in mind that the grant should be treated as income received on the day it’s paid for any Universal Credit claims or tax credit changes.

The grant does not need to be repaid but will be subject to Income Tax and Self Employed National Insurance from the day you receive it.

The government has also just announced that the scheme is being extended and that there will be a second and final grant available in August 2020. You don’t have to have claimed the first grant to make a claim for the second (but if you’re eligible, why wouldn’t you? You’ve paid your taxes).

If you are eligible for the second grant, it will be a taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits rather than 80% like the first grant and will also be paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 and capped at £6,570 in total.

You can not apply for the second grant yet but keep checking back on the GOV.UK website for updates on when you can.

For those who unfortunately haven’t been self employed for over 3 years, you might not be eligible for the SEISS grants but you could be eligible for Universal Credit.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.

To find out if you’re eligible, go to: 


If you are eligible, then you’ll need these things at hand to apply.

  • Your bank, building society or credit union account details. 

  • An email address

You also have to verify your identity online. You’ll need some proof of identity for this, for example your:

  • driving licence

  • passport

  • debit or credit card

The verification process can take a while so be prepared to wait in a queue if this is the case.

Once you are receiving Universal Credit, it’s compulsory that you log in and keep an eye on the ‘to do’ list as everyone claiming Universal Credit needs to report their self-employed earnings at the end of each monthly assessment period. You’ll need to report payments into and out of your business in the assessment period. 

This includes:

  • Total amount your business received.

  • How much your business spent on different types of expenses, such as travel costs, stock, equipment and tools, clothing and office costs.

  • How much tax and National Insurance you paid.

  • Any money you paid into a pension.

And that's it! I hope this helps. But in the meantime, good luck, stay safe, use the lockdown time wisely to create content, enjoy the sun now that Summer seems to be here, appreciate all the good stuff and hopefully we’ll be out of the other side of this soon!

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