Frequently Asked Questions – Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

Q. When is the deadline for applying for this fund?

A. Applications for this scheme closed at 5pm on Friday 10th July 2020as specified by the Scottish Government and no new applications can be accepted after this time.

Q: Does the Council have discretion to consider my application if I do not meet the criteria or cannot provide all of the required evidence?

A: No, the eligibility criteria and evidence requirements have been set by the Scottish Government and Council officers are not able to vary from these

Q: I am experiencing personal financial hardship but am not eligible for this grant.  What other help is available?

A:  The Council website outlines other help available for businesses. https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-businesses. You may be eligible for Universal Credit

Q: What does experiencing personal financial hardship mean?

A: Personal financial hardship means you do not have sufficient money to cover your basic needs such as rent/mortgage, utility bills, food etc

Q: Can I apply for this grant if I have applied for other support (such as Universal Credit) but not yet had a decision or received a payment?

A: Yes.  If you are experiencing personal financial hardship whilst you wait for a decision you can apply

Q: Can I apply for this grant if I am still trading as self-employed?

A: Yes, if your income has been impacted by COVID-19 to the extent that you are experiencing personal financial hardship

Q: Can I apply for this grant if I was trading in March 2020 but my business has now permanently ceased trading?

A: No, you must be intending to continue trading in the tax year 2020-21

Q: Can I apply for this grant if my self-employment was part-time?

A: Yes, as long as your income from self-employment was more than 50% of your total individual income

Q:  Do I have to have applied for all of the other COVID-19 related business support and been rejected before I can apply for this grant?

A: You should investigate other COVID-19 business support before applying.  Use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business. https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder. If you cannot access other COVID-19 business support and are experiencing personal financial hardship then you can apply.

Q: Is there a limit on the amount of savings I can have in order to apply?

A: There is no set limit on savings. You are not eligible to apply if you have sufficient savings to cover your basic needs

Q: I run a limited company and am experiencing personal hardship.  Can I apply?

A: No.  You are not eligible to apply if you run a limited company or a limited partnership

Q: I am in a partnership (but not a limited partnership) and am experiencing personal hardship.  Can I apply?

A: Yes, you can apply if you are self-employed for pay and tax purposes

Q: Do I have to repay the grant?

A: No, this is a grant and not a loan so does not need to be repaid. However, your application is subject to future audit and if any part is subsequently found to be incorrect you may be required to repay the grant. If you are found to have knowingly provided false information you could be subject to fraud referral.

Q: Is the grant taxable?

A: Yes, you should declare any grant received as income for the tax year in which it was received

Q: How will I know you have received my application?

A: If you submit your application successfully via the online form you will receive an email confirming receipt.  If you do not receive a confirmation email from us, before contacting us please check your email junk or spam folders and also check your inbox is not full. 

Q: How long will it take to process my application?

A: The Council aims to process eligible applications for payment within 10 working days of receipt of a fully completed application form.  If you have received an email from us confirming receipt of your application please do not contact us regarding progress until 10 working days after you receive the email. Our normal working days are Monday to Friday.  

Q: How will I know if my application has been successful?

A: You will be notified by email when your application has been processed. If your application has been successful you will receive a grant payment direct to your bank account within 5 working days of approval.

Q: How will you contact me if you require further information?

A: We will normally contact you by email if we require further information to process your application. Please check your email regularly and also check your junk or spam folders for any emails from us. The email address we will use is sehf@argyll-bute.gov.uk.  If you receive an email about applying to the fund from any email address that it is not a council email address (@argyll-bute.gov.uk), or an unsolicited phone call, do not share your personal information as it may be fraudulent.

Q: If my application for a grant is rejected, can I appeal?

A: Yes, you can appeal within 14 days of being notified of the decision. An appeal process has been set up, with a Council Officer independent to the team assessing the applications reviewing decisions made against the guidance issued by the Scottish Government.   If your application is rejected you will be given details of how to appeal.

Q: Who do I contact if I have further questions about the grant?

A: You can contact the Council’s Coronavirus Caring for People Helpline Service on 01546 605524 and select option 2 (Business Related Help) followed by option 2 (Applying for the Self-Employed Hardship Fund). Alternatively you can email sehf@argyll-bute.gov.uk