What Support Is Out There For Therapists?
Therapy is traditionally delivered in face-to-face practice, frequently as a private business entity. As a result, lockdown has significantly affected the ability of most therapists and counsellors to continue to deliver care, affecting the financial viability of private practitioners.
Now that rules have been altered to support more face-to-face activities, the financial strain that businesses have been put under over the past year will have lingering long term effects and many therapists would benefit from government backed financial aid to recover. In this article we will discuss the available support for therapists to support the return to normal business operations.
01: The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Due to the continuing impact of COVID-19 and the constant changes to freedom and movement, the government has released plans to continue the self-employment income support scheme for a fifth grant to cover any losses from May 2021 to September 2021. With this grant therapists could be granted 80% of their average profits, up to a maximum of £7,500 by the government to keep their practice afloat.
The deadline for the fourth and latest grant closed at midnight on the 1st of June 2021. HMRC will have sent correspondence to those that they believe are eligible. If you have not been notified check if you are eligible for the grant using the government website, or read below for a list of criteria:
- You must have filed a 2019/2020 tax return.
- You must have traded in both tax years 2019/20 and 2020/21, with plans to continue trading.
- Your business must have had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus, causing a loss of income for the months claimed.
- At least 50% of your total income must come from your self-employment. This includes savings, pensions, income from other jobs and property.
- Your average trading profit must be £50,000 a year or less.
You don’t have to have applied for the previous grants made available in order to claim this most recent grant, and you are allowed to keep working after applying on condition that you declare this in your application.
If you missed the application deadline for the last grant, there is a fifth grant that will become available soon and further updates will be provided on the government website when applications open up once again. Private Practice Hub will also notify members of this.
02. Petitions & Making Your Voice Heard.
The British Psychoanalytic Council alongside BAPC (The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy) have written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, to request support from the government in providing a mental health care package to support counselling and therapy throughout the response to COVID-19, citing a number of funding cuts and the current restrictions as a strain on the industry. The letter that has been written can be read in full on the BPC website but outlines a need for support from the government in three ways:
- Working with healthcare professionals to deliver mental health care for those affected by the epidemic and making therapy more accessible for those under particular distress over this time. With government support, more healthcare can be provided to those who need it, and more work can be made available for therapists who have been struggling to continue care for clients, or source new clients during lockdown.
- Financial support from schemes similar to that of the PAYE scheme, such as a business transformation grant aims to aid with the transition between face-to-face to online working or temporary income protection fund for therapists who work zero-hour contracts and are therefore ineligible for furlough or isolation pay.
- Aid in advertising for therapists to allow the public and key workers to know that access to qualified therapists is available to them if needed.
More than 20 organisations have supported the letter composed by BPC, and over 10,000 individual practitioners have signed the letter to amplify the message.
You may sign the petition here to show support for the campaign.
The BPC also recommends composing a letter to your local MP to elevate the voices of therapists at this time.
While restrictions are lifting across the UK, the lasting effects of the pandemic are still a strain on personal finances and mental health, so any support from the government is worth pursuing.
Bacp.co.uk. 2021. Tackling the mental health consequences of coronavirus. [online] Available at: <https://www.bacp.co.uk/news/news-from-bacp/coronavirus/covid-19-campaign/> [Accessed 17 May 2021].
GOV.UK. 2021. Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. [online] Available at: <https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme> [Accessed 19 May 2021].
Britishpsychotherapyfoundation.org.uk. 2021. money matters during the COVID-19 outbreak | British Psychotherapy Foundation. [online] Available at: <https://www.britishpsychotherapyfoundation.org.uk/insights/blog/money-matters> [Accessed 19 May 2021].