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15 February, 2021 Open access

Northern Ireland Economy Minister announces changes to eligibility criteria for Covid-19 Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme

Conditions relaxed for meeting eligibility rule that 50 per cent of income must have come from self-employment

Northern Ireland Economy Minister Diane Dodds has announced changes to the eligibility criteria for the Covid-19 Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme (NSESS).

Under the scheme - that opened for applications on 3 December 2020 and provides a one-off taxable grant of £3,500 to eligible applicants who started trading as self-employed between 6 April 2019 and 5 April 2020 (broadly on the same principles as the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme) - applicants have had to show that at least 50 per cent of their income was from self-employment in 2019/2020.

However, highlighting that this has meant that some applicants are being ruled out on ‘technicalities’, the Department for the Economy advises that it is making two changes to the rules to allow more people to qualify -

Announcing the change, Economy Minister Diane Dodds said -

‘The new criteria will be applied to existing and new applications.

The amendments to the scheme will increase the number of self-employed people who can receive the NSESS grant. I am pleased that we can make these changes to ensure that happens.’

NB - applications to the scheme close on 19 February 2021.

For more information, see Economy Minister amends eligibility criteria for Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme from