A million self-employed workers whose income has been hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic made 440,000 applications for government grants during the first 48 hours of the scheme being open.
In total, claims of over £1.3 billion were made by 440,000 individuals through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) on 13 May, according to the Treasury. Over 500,000 self-employed workers applied the following day, increasing the total.
The SEISS is designed to match the support being given to furloughed employees.
Under the scheme, the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant based on an average of their earnings over the past three years. The grant will cover up to 80% of earnings, up to a limit of £2,500 a month.
HMRC said most of the 3.5 million people affected should have been contacted and invited to prepare to make a claim by using its eligibility checker.
Detailed guidance about the grants can be found here.