The Hangover: Hopeful house owner explains why she can’t get the SEISS grant
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Katie spoke to Felicity Hannah on BBC Money Box this weekend and said: “I’m eligible for the SEISS grant but I spoke to my financial advisor, and he actually advised me not to take it because I’m thinking of buying a property at some point over the next couple of years. They would look over the last three years of accounts and if they saw that I had taken a grant then they would not be willing to offer me the mortgage.
“It’s not a good situation to be in now, to know that there is money available to help me, but I still can’t take it because I’ve got to look for the future.”
Katie is a self-employed piano teacher, and a single mum of four who was hit quite hard due to the pandemic.
She had an established piano teaching business which was quite successful and taught music in schools around Stoke.
However, this all changed during the pandemic when schools closed.
An estimated 1.4 million self-employed workers did not meet the required threshold for support (Image: GETTY)
She knew she wouldn’t be able to work because she had her children to look after, and she could not work remotely because of the constant interruptions she would get.
She said: “I took quite a hit because I was mainly self-employed at that point. There was just one school that I was employed at, and I was furloughed.
“Just one day a week essentially, so there was a bit of income, but it was a quarter of what I was used to.”
Like many self-employed workers, Katie’s income dropped immensely because of the pandemic.
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She went from earning £38,000 a year, to £11,000 almost overnight.
She also just fell short of any self-employment support, or grants that were being offered by the government – something experienced by a lot of self-employed workers. An estimated 1.4 million self-employed workers did not meet the required threshold.
Katie’s earnings from self-employment was at 49 percent, so she didn’t meet the 50 percent requirement. This was because her maternity leave took her self-employment earnings lower than they would have been, so she missed out.
She continued: “We struggled at the lowest point to even put food on the table, so we had to rely on food parcels from the school which came from the food bank.
It’s more likely you’ll get a mortgage if someone hasn’t accepted the SEISS grant (Image: GETTY)
“People were very generous, people donated to help. I had gifts, hampers, and food parcels through the post. I just couldn’t afford to give my children meat every day, it became a luxury.
“It was hard. I never had to watch payments coming in and out, I was never up to my overdraft limit or had to check I had bills covered if they were coming out.
“I never had to live like that before.”
Despite her hard year, things may be looking up for Katie.
She said: “I’m looking forward to September. I’m taking on an extra day at work at my children’s school so that will take me up to five days’ work.
“I’m hopeful that numbers will increase in the schools and colleges I teach at, although there is no guarantee. When reflecting on the past year and her life since the pandemic Katie said: “I’ve always been careful with money, but it’s been very hard financially. That’s made me reevaluate things.
“I’ve had some lovely time together with the children, normally I work longer hours … so because of home-schooling it’s been nice to spend some time with them.
“But we’ve had to sell our family home and live very frugally for the past year or so. There’s good days and bad days. I think it’s probably not hit me yet that I’m going to be leaving this house.
“I don’t think things will ever return to how they were before really.”