Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme

11 January 2021

Newly Self-Employed Support Service NSESS

Get £3,500 from the Newly Self Employed Support Scheme to support newly self-employed individuals negatively affected by COVID-19.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has announced an amendment to the Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme (NSESS) criteria including an extension to the closing date. The NSESS was launched to provide support for newly self-employed individuals (sole traders and those in partnerships) who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19.

The scheme is administered by Invest NI on behalf of the Department for the Economy.

What support is available?

NSESS will offer an initial one-off taxable grant of £3,500, to newly self-employed individuals that meet the below criteria.

Closing date for applications is now 6pm on Friday 5 February 2021.

Who is eligible?

NSESS is open to sole traders or individual members of a partnership business operating in Northern Ireland who are able to demonstrate they meet the following criteria:

  • You have commenced trading as self-employed between 6 April 2019 and 5 April 2020.
  • You have been trading at 1 March 2020 (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • You have either been temporarily unable to trade or are currently trading but impacted by reduced demand, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 50% or more of your income in 2019/20 was from self-employment. 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.
  • Your 2019/20 trading profits were less than £50,000. In the case of a partnership business, this refers to your share of the trading profits as outlined on your individual tax return.
  • You have experienced at least a 40% decline in trading profits between 1 March and 30 November 2020, i.e. your trading profits over this period are at least 40% lower than they would have been in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • You intend to continue to trade as a sole trader or individual member of the partnership
  • You are able to provide your 10-digit HMRC Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) linked to Schedule D earnings from any trade or profession, and HMRC VAT Registration Number, if you are VAT registered

Who cannot apply:

A sole trader or individual member of a partnership business is not eligible for NSESS if:

  • You commenced trading outside the timeframe of 6 April 2019 and 5 April 2020.
  • You submitted a tax return which included income from self-employment for 2018/19.
  • You have received support from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
  • Your business has failed to comply with a COVID-19 prohibition notice, served by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), under regulation 7 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020(b).
  • The grant to be paid to the business will mean it will exceed the maximum level of State Aid permitted under the EC’s de Minimis Regulation. The State Aid de minimis ceiling is €200,000 over the three previous consecutive fiscal years.

How do I apply?

Applications can be made on the Invest NI website. Simply check your eligibility using their dedicated Eligibility Checker here.

The online application process takes approximately one hour to complete, and you can save your application and return to it at any time.

Applications opened at 6pm Thursday 3 December 2020 and will close at 6pm on Friday 5 February 2021.


For further information and assistance on eligibility and applications, please do not hesitate to contact us.