The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is the Government’s support scheme for the self-employed, and it was recently extended until April 2021. The scheme is currently open for the third SEISS grant, but applications have now closed for the first and second SEISS grants. A fourth SEISS grant will be available later this year, but the Government has not confirmed how much the grant will be worth.
Will there be a fifth grant?
The fourth SEISS grant is expected to cover February to April 2021, but it is not known whether the scheme could be extended to include a fifth grant at the present time.
Experts told Express.co.uk any extension of SEISS is only likely if lockdown restrictions continue past April 2021, when the final grant expires.
Joanne Harris, Technical Commercial Manager at Nixon Williams, said SEISS was extended in line with the extension of the Government furlough scheme, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
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Ms Harris told Express.co.uk: “The SEISS has been extended several times already and the latest grant covers the period to April 30, 2021.
“This is in line with the CJRS and it seems unlikely that one would be extended without the other.
“If the coronavirus pandemic continues and the national lockdown is extended, then the schemes are likely to be too.
“With the roll out of the vaccines, the economy will begin to open up by April, however, it’s important to remember that economic recovery will not be immediate and the Government should consider further support as the lockdown is eased and businesses reopen.”
An answer on whether a fifth SEISS grant will be available in the future may become clearer over the next few months of the pandemic.
Mr Gurney told Express.co.uk: “Whilst there is certainly recognition that some individuals are not able to access support, we are highly unlikely to see retrospective changes to the support mechanisms.
“Typically, where a support package is put in place which fundamentally excludes those it was targeted to support, the Government has reacted quickly to deal with this.
“Similarly, where there are those on the margins who are unable to access support, we have seen a reticence to make changes to the support packages and I would expect that to remain the case.
“So where does that leave us on SEISS? For all of the above reasons, I do not expect the Government to amend the existing scheme to any significant degree, if at all.”
Mr Gurney also suggested the arrival of a fifth SEISS grant is unlikely if economic activity improves further on in the year.
Mr Gurney added: “It is reasonable to expect that, if the scheme reaches its anticipated conclusion and the Government determines that there is sufficient economic activity at that time, it will not be extended.
“Conversely, if we remain in economic and physical lockdown, the Government will almost certainly be compelled to extend the support in some form.”
Express.co.uk contacted the Treasury for comment on this issue but the Government declined to comment.