Many of us thought of 2020 as “My Big Year.” Aside from being given another 366 days to better your life and career, it’s also the end and the beginning of a new decade. Surely, you have imagined 2020 to be your year of change, innovation and career success.
Then again, not everything always goes according to plan. It was late last year, the last quarter of 2019 that we’ve caught news of an alarming situation brewing in Wuhan, China. A new viral pathogen, later on, named as the Coronavirus, began to spread like wildfire across the bustling city. It did not take long before it breached the borders of neighbouring cities as well.
Many of the world’s leaders, including the UK government, extended help and assistance to the victims of the disease. At the time, little did we know that it would evolve into a global pandemic. By the end of the first quarter of 2020, COVID-19 has already reached the far western seas, affecting 177,454 of the UK population to date (as of May 02, 2020, 04:48 GMT). To get constant updates, click here.
How Does The COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Self-Employed Individuals?
Due to the alarming spread of the disease and with no known vaccine to counter it at this time, the UK government placed the entire island nation under total lockdown. During this sensitive time, people are no longer allowed to casually leave their homes unless it involves reasons of great urgency. This situation poses a problem for people who need to work to get food on the table. Say, self-employed individuals.
Self-employment is a big decision for many. To be able to let go of the idea of receiving a fixed monthly income and benefits and to solely rely on yourself to fend for your living expenses through skill trade or small-scale business can be both terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Under normal circumstances, this sudden career shift would be an excellent opportunity to challenge yourself and tap into hidden opportunities.
But with the recent turn of events that shook the world so hard that everything fell out of balance, being self-employed may not be the best thing right now. Seeing this as a possible source of struggle for many, the First Minister of Scotland announced the Scottish Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund which will be open for application on Thursday, May 7, 2020, from 2:00 PM onwards.
Read more from The Sunday Post: https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/self-employed-fund/
What Are The Qualification Requirements?
The First Minister of Scotland, along with her designated officials, recognizes the contributions of self-employed individuals to the country’s growing economy. Thus, during this challenging time, the Scottish government has launched an assistance fund to individuals who have only recently enlisted as self-employed.
The Scottish Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund is £34 million grant that will be divided and given to qualified self-employed individuals who are greatly affected by the current world crisis. Every successful applicant will receive a £2,000 monetary assistance from the Scottish government which they can use to support themselves during this uncertain time.
To qualify for the said assistance, you will need to meet the following requirements:
- Your self-employment status must have been instated on or after April 6, 2019.
- No tax return filed for the year 2018-2019 indicating income from self-employment.
- Over half of your income must come from self-employment.
- Profits generated through self-employed trade should be below £50,000 for the fiscal year 2019 – 2020.
- You are directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis and engaging in profitable trade at this time is difficult and dangerous for you.
- You are self-employed and not recognized as a part of a partnership or limited company.
- You are not receiving any other benefit from the government like working-age benefit payments (e.g., Income Support, Job Seekers’ Allowance, etc.)
- You have no sufficient savings or another means of income that may help you out during this challenging time.
- You’ve put in significant effort to limit your costs and expenditures during this time.
Upon applying, you will be requested to provide the following information:
- Legal documentation or proof of owning a business before the announcement of COVID-19 as an international health threat (e.g., VAT registration, marketing materials, bank statements showing income cash flow that may be attributed to self-employed trading activities, etc.)
- Proof of residency in the local area of application
- A personal declaration of hardship and incapacity to fend for oneself at this time
Take note that you will have to apply for this fund in your local area and get in touch with local authorities. Application is administered online, and you can refer to your appropriate Local Government Unit or LGU’s official website to fill out the pre-application form.
Here are links to local authority websites in Scotland:
- Argyll and Bute
- Dumfries and Galloway
- East Ayrshire
- East Dunbartonshire
- East Lothian
- East Renfrewshire
- Na h-Eileanan Siar
- North Ayrshire
- North Lanarkshire
- Perth and Kinross
- Scottish Borders
- South Ayrshire
- South Lanarkshire
- West Dunbartonshire
- West Lothian
For any questions or inquiries, it would be best to get in touch directly with your local authorities. You can find your LGU’s contact details in their respective online website. The same will be evaluating your application and determine your eligibility to receive the Scottish Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund. You may only apply and receive the grant once.
Final Piece of Advice
This £2,000 monetary assistance shall be granted solely to qualified self-employed individuals who have gone into self-employment on or after April 6, 2019. If you became self-employed earlier than the specified date, you might be eligible for the UK Government scheme instead. Your current income status will also be considered, and those with lower incomes may be prioritized.
Processing and releasing of the fund assistance may take up to 10 working days. Taking on work or employment after receiving the grant is allowed so long as it does contradict government-established lockdown policies.