Emergency Relief Fund

We’re sorry but the Emergency Relief Fund is currently closed to new applications.

We’re working hard to see how we can further support our members experiencing hardship as a result of the measures to tackle COVID-19. 

We are working through the final applications and still making payments, so if you applied for the Emergency Relief Fund and have not yet heard from us, we will be in touch shortly as to the outcome. Please note that payments to international bank accounts take a little longer to be processed than domestic ones.

Frequently asked questions from the most recent phase of the Emergency Relief Fund 

The Emergency Relief Fund is an initiative bringing together PRS and PRS Members Fund, with support from PRS Foundation. The ERF provides financial support to PRS writer members experiencing extreme hardship as a result of the measures to tackle COVID-19. Depending upon individual circumstances, the PRS Emergency Relief Fund will provide members grants to give quick relief, until those in need are able to find longer term solutions, including any assistance the Government provides to the freelance sector and businesses.

The PRS Emergency Relief Fund is for emergencies, it cannot provide grants for long term debt issues. The ERF will work alongside the existing PRS Members’ Fund grants, it will compliment, not replace, their existing work. It also does not replace our existing PRS advance schemes which, at the moment, we will try to run as normal.

Applications will re-open on Monday 1 February and will close at 5pm on Friday 12 February.

We will then assess all applications before letting you know the outcome of your application in the last week of February.

If you’re a PRS writer member, the ERF is available to you if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You’ve been a PRS writer member since 1 Jan 2019
  2. You’ve earned £500 since you joined
  3. In 2020 you earned less than three quarters of what you earned in PRS royalties in 2019
  4. You earned less than £5,000 in PRS royalties in 2020
  5. You’re suffering genuine hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic
No, these criteria are different to the threshold that the PRS Members’ Fund currently uses. This is so ERF grants are directed to those professionals who would earn much of their income from the areas that are immediately and directly impacted by COVID-19 for example, the events and teaching sectors.  The PRS Members’ Fund will continue to assess non-ERF applications against its usual criteria: 7 years of membership or having earned £500 during membership.

We’ll assess the information that you provide in the application form. Firstly, we will check to make sure you’re eligible for a grant using the criteria outlined above. In some instances, you might be requested to submit additional supporting evidence, in which case a representative from the Emergency Relief Fund will be in touch. Additional factors to be considered when assessing the amount of grant to be awarded will include:

  • the amount of savings you have
  • whether you have a negative balance on your PRS account
  • any advances they may have received from PRS in the last three months
  • We assure any member that their application will be treated in strictest confidence.
This means you’re unable to pay your rent or mortgage, buy food or provide for your immediate family.
If you’re wanting to use a grant to buy new musical equipment, tech or for career development, these plans won’t meet the ‘hardship’ criteria.
A determination of need, based upon the information submitted in the application, will determine the amount awarded.


Please note that we will take this into consideration, and it may affect any value we might award you in a further payment.


If you met the eligibility criteria but your application was rejected, please make sure you provide a clear explanation as to the nature of your hardship and your planned use of the grant. Without any detail we won’t be able to give your application a suitable assessment.  

The Emergency Relief Fund is not set up for this purpose. However, you can take a look at the funding available for new music and music creator development through our charity PRS Foundation.
The Emergency Relief Fund is not set up for this purpose. Help Musicians UK may be able to help.
No, the grants are only available to PRS writer members.
Yes. If you’re a successor, please explain your relationship to the original PRS member whose membership you’re applying from in the description on the application form.
Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria you can apply. Please note that payments will be made individually so those to foreign bank accounts may take a little longer to arrive due to specific banking instructions.
The PRS Emergency Relief Fund only provides grants to writer members. Publishers who are experiencing significant hardship could consider the PRS advances policy and measures the Government has announced to support businesses.

This process, which we’ve recently updated, will avoid delays in assessing applications.

We found the following common errors slowed down the assessment process before:

  • inaccurate information supplied
  • pseudonym used
  • typos

Logging into the website will mean there’s less chance of making these errors.

You’ll need to set up an online account. This should be a quick process, but please note it might take up to five days to set up your account if we need to verify your sign-up details.

To set up an online account you’ll need:

  • your CAE number (you can find this on your distribution statements)
  • your bank account number (the account registered with your PRS account)
Yes, applications will close at 5pm on Friday 12 February.
We’ll be emailing all applicants with the result of their application in the last week of February.
We’ll be making payments in the week commencing Monday 1 March 2021.
You’ll be paid by the PRS Members’ Fund as a BACs payment. VAT will not be added as this is a charitable grant.
No, you won’t have to pay it back. This is financial support and not a loan.
We’ll make the payment into the same bank account we pay your royalties into, unless you tell us otherwise. We’ll send you a confirmation email once you’ve applied, which will include an option to contact us about alternative bank details.

The aim of the Emergency Relief Fund is to provide relief to those writer members whose immediate income has been affected by COVID-19. In doing so, it's important that we target those members whose 2020 PRS royalties have been significantly impacted compared to 2019.

At the same time, we need to target those members who contribute to the costs of running PRS for Music. The criteria on earnings gives a measure of the likelihood of their expected income from music, and their contribution to our costs. We’d help everyone if we could, but available funds are limited. Other funding is available from elsewhere and you can take a look at our COVID-19 member advice page for a list of these options.

You might want to apply to the PRS Members’ Fund, who will continue to assess non-ERF applications against its usual criteria: 7 years membership or having earned £500 during membership.

This process involves a large amount of manual resource and we want to make the process as streamlined as possible, while not impacting our regular distribution processes.

By applying, you agree that we can share information about your application and any grant paid with the following organisations:

  • Musicians’ Union
  • Help Musicians UK
  • PRS Foundation
  • The PRS Members’ Fund

Please be assured that we and all the organisations above will only use your information to decide on the result of your application to the Emergency Relief Fund.

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