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CORONAVIRUS: COVID-19 Personal Hardship Fund for Solicitors

The Solicitors' Charity has developed a unique COVID-19 Personal Hardship Fund to support solicitors who find themselves in personal hardship caused by the pandemic. The charity has committed to initial funding of £1,000,000. The fund will help solicitors that find themselves financially in need due to COVID-19. Full details on the fund and how to apply can be found on the charity's website.The Solicitors’ Charity has developed a unique COVID-19 Personal Hardship Fund focused on helping those solicitors most in need of support. If you are struggling financially as a result of the outbreak, we may be able to help.

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Please read the below information carefully, if you have any queries regarding the COVID-19 Personal Hardship Fund, please email sbahardshipfund@sba.org.uk.

Who can apply?

To be able to make an application, you must be on, or have been on, the Roll of Solicitors of England and Wales.
The Fund is for cases of personal hardship caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 where:

• You are self-isolating and receive only SSP from your employer;
or
• Your employment status has changed because of COVID-19 and you are not supported through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (this includes losing your job as a direct result of COVID-19);
or
• You are self-employed, unable to practise because of COVID-19, have no income or potential sources of income, and you are ineligible for Government help
In all these cases you are potentially eligible for help for up to three months if your accessible household savings are below £2,500.

Alternatively, if:
• You are self employed and eligible for Government help, but that help is delayed and you have exhausted your household’s accessible savings You are potentially eligible for a one-off payment to help tide you over until Government help kicks in.

It is our usual practice to ask all applicants to make use of statutory funds before accessing our charitable funds. Because of this, all applicants who have been made unemployed as a result of COVID-19 will be asked to confirm that they have begun the process of applying for welfare benefits. In addition, all applicants will be asked to confirm that they have taken advantage of available mortgage holidays and other similar assistance. 

If you do not fit into any of the categories above you will not be eligible for our COVID-19 Personal Hardship Fund, however, you may wish to check our standard assistance to see if you are eligible here.

How to apply

To apply, please complete our application form. You will need to have some information to hand to help you do this. To enable us to process your application and to reach a decision on an award, you will be asked to provide:

Evidence of identity (e.g. Birth Certificate, Passport or Driving Licence and utility bill dated within the last three months containing your home address)
Your SRA Number
Details of your personal bank account
and either:

Documentation from your employer showing your move to SSP;
or
• Documentation from current or former employer showing your change in employment status (including job loss) and a brief explanation of why you are ineligible for the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme;or
• Evidence of self-employment status (e.g accounts for 2019, evidence of payments on account to HMRC) and a brief explanation of your ineligibility for Government help;
Where you have dependent children, we will ask you to provide a copy of the birth certificate or passport details page for each dependent child.
Please note
• Where you have a partner who is still in employment, we will treat your application as if you were a single person (though we will take account of your dependent children).
• We will require you to make a statement of truth about the information you have provided and the level of the accessible savings in your household.
• All grant payments are paid solely at the discretion of SBA The Solicitors Charity. Successful submission of an application form does not guarantee that an award will be made.
• Grant payments can be made only into a personal bank account.
• SBA The Solicitors’ Charity reserves the right to amend, suspend or close the hardship fund scheme at any time.

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Wednesday, 22nd April, 2020