Minister extends the closing date of the NSESS and amends the scheme to allow more newly self-employed to be supported

Date published: 07 January 2021

Economy Minister Diane Dodds today announced an amendment to the criteria for the Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme (NSESS) and an extension to the closing date.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds
Economy Minister Diane Dodds

The NSESS which opened on 3 December was due to close today. The closing date has now been extended to Friday 5 February to allow applicants the opportunity to include evidence from their 2019/20 HMRC tax return.     

The NSESS provides financial support to newly self-employed individuals (sole traders and those in partnerships) whose business has been adversely impacted by Covid and who have not been able to access support from the UK government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

A one-off taxable grant of £3,500 will be provided.

Newly self-employed individuals (sole traders and those in partnerships) are eligible for the NSESS if they commenced trading as self-employed between 6 April 2019 and 5 April 2020 and their business has been adversely impacted by Covid-19. 

Their trading profits for 2019/20 must be below £50,000.

Under the previous criteria over 50% of their income in 2019/20 must have been from self-employment. This has been amended to allow those who commenced self-employment later in the financial year to qualify for support. If you can demonstrate that you moved from paid employment (PAYE) to self-employment during 2019/20 your income from the previous employment will not be taken into account.

The rest of the eligibility criteria remains unchanged.

The Minister said:

“It is important that this scheme covers as many self-employed as the budget will allow. These grants will help hundreds of businesses across Northern Ireland and I am confident that the revised closing date and change to the criteria will allow many more newly self-employed to avail of much needed support at this difficult time.”

Invest Northern Ireland is delivering the scheme on behalf of the Department for the Economy.

Notes to editors: 

  1. More information on NSESS and application details are available on nibusinessinfo 
  2. For media enquiries, contact the DfE Press Office at:
  3. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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