Coronavirus Common Credit score & Advantages

How the date you apply for self-employment income support can affect your universal credit payments

It may be that, as well as claiming universal credit, you’re due a payment via the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), if you’re self-employed and your business has been affected by Covid-19, and you meet its criteria. The second grant will close in two weeks’ time (Monday 19 October), but the third grant will open in November. 

If you’re eligible it could be worth delaying when you apply for the third grant.

The aim of this is so that the SEISS payment arrives nearer the start of your universal credit ‘assessment period’, rather than the end. This rolling four-week assessment period begins after your initial universal credit claim. 

Delaying your SEISS application has two main benefits: it gives you the ability to optimise how the two payments – universal credit and SEISS – work together, and can help you protect your upcoming universal credit payments.

Use our free calculator to see how this will work for your circumstances.  

Optimising both payments and protecting upcoming universal credit payments

The third SEISS grant gives you one payment, covering 20% of three months’ worth of average monthly profits up to a total of £1,875. 

This is considered ‘income’ when it comes to universal credit – and as we’ve seen, the higher your income, the smaller the amount of universal credit you receive. However, this SEISS ‘income’ can be offset (ie, reduced) by genuine business expenditure such as your tax bill, national insurance contributions or stock items.

So if you need to use your SEISS payment for business-related expenses, it helps if you can report these as much as possible in the same assessment period as it’s paid in, to avoid having a higher ‘income’ amount that would reduce your universal credit entitlement. Want to see what you’ll get? Use our free calculator. 

For more on the SEISS, see our Self-Employed Help guide. 

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