Support for self-employed people has been increased

The Government’s support scheme for self-employed people has been increased, with the continuing lockdown.

A third instalment of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been announced, with people receiving 80% of average trading profits for November. The maximum grant is also increased to £5,160.

The claims window will be opened on 30 November, (brought forward from 14 December). People do not have to have claimed from the previous two grants in order to claim from this one, but they need to declare that:

  • they intend to continue to trade and either:
  • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus, or
  • were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus.

The claim process can be found here.

Bounce back loans also extended

In addition, more businesses will also be able to benefit from government loan schemes which have been extended to the end of January, while firms can ‘top up’ existing Bounce Back Loans should they need additional finance.

The claim process for bounce-back loans can be found here.

Universal Credit double-earnings loophole closed

A loophole that has cost thousands of people UC payments is being closed from 16 November.

Some workers are occasionally paid twice in the same month, usually because of a bank holiday altering their wage payments to a date before or after that. This can end up meaning two sets of wages arrive in one month, which means that worker is flagged as ‘over-earning’ in the DWP system. This means their following month’s payment is reduced – sometimes to zero – to reflect their higher income, which is not really a higher income at all, in most cases.

From November 16, claimants who get paid twice in a month by their employer will not be penalised in their following payment.

PIP back payments due to some

After a court ruling, more people now qualify for Personal Independence Payments, or will receive it at a higher rate, because they were wrongly assessed. This will include people on Universal Credit whose claim for PIP was turned down or who were awarded it at an incorrect rate. The two benefits can be paid to the same person without affecting each other.

Independent advice website Benefits and Work said the ruling “could mean potentially thousands more people are eligible for the daily living component of PIP or should be getting it at a higher rate. For some, the back payments could be due from as far back as April 2016, and the DWP is committed to finding those people, and making the payments to them.

Winter package of support for children and families

After the well-publicised U-Turn around free school meals, more details of the support available to families over the winter have been published.

  • £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter. This will be run by local councils, details to come.
  • Holiday Activities and Food programme to be expanded, covering Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021.
  • Healthy Start payments set to rise from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021, for pregnant women and those with children under 4 (on a low income).
  • Suite of measures represents long-term plan to help tackle poor health, hunger and education, including £16m more funding for food distribution charities – details to come.