How can self-employed neuro OTs financially support their families during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Lone parenting, lack of family support and financial burdens are all adding to the worries caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the resulting self-distancing directives.
The Government has now announced a package of support to help keep families afloat during the crisis.
How will they help self-employed neurological occupational therapists facing financial difficulties?
Covid-19 Self Employment Income Support Scheme
This new scheme for people who are self-employed, or members of partnerships, allows you to claim a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for at least the next 3 months.
- The next tax self-assessment payment (due July 2020) has been deferred to January 2021 for the self-employed.
- VAT payments are deferred for 3 months from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
- Business loans will be available from Monday 23 March and will be interest-free for 12 months.
- Self-employed people can now access, in full if needed, Universal Credit(UC) at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
- The UC standard allowance will rise over the next 12 months by £1,000.
- The UC minimum income floor (an assessment of expected earnings) will be suspended for the self-employed.
If you’re self-employed, you’re not eligible for SSP, but if you suspect you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
If you are eligible for the new style ESA, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home.
If you’re worried about meeting your mortgage or rent due to the COVID-19 changes:
- Contact your mortgage lender as you may be entitled to a mortgage or rental holiday for 3 months.
- Contact your landlord asyou may be entitled to a rental holiday for 3 months. (You will not face the threat of eviction for at least 3 months.)
Payment holidays are being offered to householders who are up to date with payments and not already in arrears.
Lenders are being urged to “use flexibility” to support customers struggling to keep up with personal loan or credit card repayments.
If you are experiencing difficulties, you should talk to your lender.
If you agree on a payment holiday with them, make sure they record it in such a way that will not impact on your credit score.
Currently, self-employed occupational therapists are not listed among the ‘key workers’ identified by the Government as essential during the coronavirus pandemic.
Schools will remain open for the children of these key workers, andvulnerable children, but other families must arrange their childcare within the constraints of self-distancing and self-isolation.
We are all being urged not to ask anyone over the age of 60 to help as they are far more vulnerable to the virus and are being strongly advised to self-isolate.