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20 May, 2020 Open access

Treatment of SEISS and CJRS payments made to self-employed universal credit claimants

New legislation clarifies treatment of payments in the assessment of income and capital, and makes provision for treating claimants as re-claiming benefit for up to five assessment periods

New regulations have been issued in relation to the treatment of Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) payments for self-employed universal credit claimants. 

In force from 21 May 2020, the Universal Credit (Coronavirus) (Self-employed Claimants and Reclaims) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI.No.522/2020) provide that -

In addition, the regulations insert a new regulation 32A in the Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Claims and Payments) Regulations 2013. The new regulation 32A makes provision for awarding or re-awarding universal credit where no award is made on a person’s initial claim, or where a person ceases to be entitled to an award. It allows the Secretary of State to treat the person as re-claiming universal credit for up to five assessment periods after an assessment period in which they were found not to be entitled on account of their income.

The explanatory memorandum to the regulations advises that -

'By treating the claimant as making a new claim it also allows for surplus earnings to be applied to the universal credit award. This means:

  • if the earnings received as an employee under the CJRS or as a self-employed person under the SEISS (within the assessment period), are more than £2,500 over the amount that would normally cause the UC claim to stop i.e. in the case of a lump sum;
  • any amount over the £2,500 limit will be deducted from following assessment period(s) if the claim is ‘made’ within six months of the previous claim ending; and
  • will continue until there is no surplus remaining.'

NB - corresponding provision for Northern Ireland is made by the Universal Credit (Coronavirus) (Self-employed Claimants and Reclaims) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (SR.No.85/2020) that also come into force from 21 May 2020.

SI.No.522/2020 and SR.No.85/2020 are available from legislation.gov.uk