Self-employed Covid support widened to help those previously excluded

  • The Northern Ireland Executive has widened the eligibility criteria for the Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme.

    If you've previously put off applyiong for the Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme as you didn't meet the criteria, you should re-check your eligibility this week. Economy Minister Diane Dodds has announced a series of amendments to the eligibility criteria for the scheme, which closes for applications next week on Friday 19th February.

    The NSESS scheme was designed to help those who didn't qualify for the Self-Employed Support Scheme as they became self-employed after the cut-off date. It offers a one-off taxable grant of £3,500 to anyone who began self-employment in 2019/20 and has seen their income adversely impacted by Covid-19.

    RELATED: New NI support scheme announced for newly self-employed

    The main new amendment is that only income from current employment will be taken into account when calculating whether 50% of your income comes from self-employment. This means that other sources of taxable income such as benefits and pensions won't be taken into account, while previously people could have been excluded on this basis.

    The second major change is that if your income from current employment is under £12,000, the 50% criteria will no longer apply. For example, if you earned £11,500 from employment and another £11,000 from self-employment, you would previously have been ineligible for self-employed support. You would now qualify under the new criteria, which will be applied to existing applications and new applications.

    RELATED: Almost half of self-employed people fear they won't make ends meet despite government support

    Minister Dodds commented: "The NSESS has been operating on broadly the same principles as the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). However, this has meant that some applicants are being ruled out on technicalities, despite being very much within the group the scheme aims to assist."

    Head over to to check your eligibility and apply for the grant if you think you meet the criteria. Applications close next Friday 19th February.

    Source: Written based on press release

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