This post is intended to signpost and encourage you to access the resources relevant to you. We cannot offer detailed advice regarding individual situations – if you need extra support we suggest you use the support options suggested.
All over the world people are dealing with very basic survival questions about how they will earn a living – and meet their core needs of food and shelter. This in itself is creating huge stresses and anxieties – so now is the time to look at what support IS available to you, and what other options you have.
There are some excellent resources available and here we’ve curated the links and information we believe will be most useful for therapists.
Options for the self-employed
There’s a great flow-chart going through these steps in more detail from Chatfield Accountancy (see the end of this article) but in essence your top actions include:
- Check your eligibility for Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance
- Check out the British Business Bank to find out more about the business interruption loan scheme
- Self employed grant: if you have averaged profits of less than £50,000 for the past 3 tax returns and more than 50% of your income come from self-employment you are likely to be eligible. You can find out more about eligibility here. If you are eligible HMRC will contact you direct – there is no application process for this grant at present. In the mean time if you have not already submitted your 2018/2019 tax return you need to do this by April 23rd 2020 (this is the return that was due on January 31)
- There is no application process for this scheme yet and it is likely that HMRC will contact you direct if you quality. Importantly, funds will not be issued until June
- If you have averaged profits of more than £50,000 for the past 3 tax returns you will not be eligible for the self-employed grant, and other than financial supoprt for employees or your earnings from PAYE the only support currently being offered to you is to apply for a loan through the British Business Bank
- UPDATE 15/4/20: a further £100 million fund has been announced to support self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other support. Applications for this fund are due to be opened by the end of April
Additional grant if you have premises
A lump-sum grant of £10,000 is being offered to all businesses who have premises that qualify for Small Business Rate Relief. If your application is accepted this is generally paid out in a matter of days. Contact your local council for details of how to apply.
Support as an employee
We know many of you also work as an employee – there is support for employers to avoid outright job losses. Instead you may be “furloughed“, effectively your job is put on standby. The government will pay 80% of your usual wage (up to £2,500 per month) – your employer may or may not top this up to the full 100%.
While on furlough you are not permitted to do any work that results in earnings for your employer but you are permitted to complete training.
If you have recently left employment your previous employer can hire you back and put you on furlough. They are not required to do this but it is worth asking as it will not cost them anything.
Payments to HMRC: you can defer payments for tax and VAT to HMRC until 2021 – these tax bills will need to be paid but can be paid at a time when your cash flow returns
Mortgage holidays: most mortgages offer a “payment holiday” option and many banks are being even more flexible on this – contact your bank direct to find out what is possible for you
Payments for training with NO HANDS Massage: we know you’re committed to your training and we understand if you need to pause your payments while you sort out your financial position. If you need to suspend your monthly payments simply let us know.
Other outgoings: if you’re concerned about being able to make your regular payments (rent, utilities etc.) it is definitely recommended to contact the company you would be paying sooner rather than later. So, take a look through your bills and make a priority list of which company to contact first regarding payment holidays, deferring payment or reducing your monthly payment during the crisis.
More information and support
Money Saving Expert: clearly written and comprehensive articles covering all aspects of personal and business guidance
There are lots of Covid-19-specific social media groups that have emerged. One we’ve found particularly supportive is the Facebook-based Anti-viral work for freelancers and small businesses
At the end of this article you will also find two flow charts created by Chatfield Accountancy which give an additional level of detail from what’s covered in this post.
Chatfield’s Help for Small Businesses
This diagram was put together very early on in the crisis so may be slightly out of date in terms of application processes but is an excellent overview starting point