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Independent contractors, gig workers and side hustlers: There’s still time to apply for unemployment

Unemployment benefits have been extended to include independent contractors, gig workers and, side hustlers. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) adds an extra $600 a week to unemployment payments until July 31, 2020.

Independent contractors, side hustles and gig workers are eligible for $600 a week unemployment payments under the Cares Act.

The expanded eligibility to cover independent contractors, gig workers and other self-employed people, runs until the end of the year (12-31-2020).

Plus, since unemployment insurance is a federal-state program, your weekly payment will also include the amount your state pays.

Typically, these types of workers are not eligible for benefits. But due to the extraordinary circumstances caused by COVID-19, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA) extends unemployment benefits.

The total reported laid-off workers has risen to over 33 million in the eight weeks since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Cares Act allows self-employed to apply for unemployment that have experienced:

  • Loss of work
  • Hours significantly reduced
  • Business significantly reduced
  • Inability to generate your regular income due to COVID-19

Generally, individuals who receive a 1099-MISC for their labor will not qualify for regular unemployment compensation, and thus may be eligible for PUA.

Some gig workers that applied earlier found their states unprepared for the applications. But most states are reporting their systems are up and running now. Check out the below list of state websites to apply.

State unemployment systems are overwhelmed but apply anyway…don’t let this opportunity pass you.

How much unemployment can the self-employed get

PUA ($600 per week until July 31, 2020) + benefit amount your state calculates based on your prior 2019 work income. You state’s unemployment office will review your 2019 income history and use a calculation to determine your benefit amount. Some states are more generous than others with Mississippi paying the lowest, up to $213/week, and Massachusetts the highest, $555/week.

How long can the self-employed get unemployment

PUA from the federal government may cover periods of unemployment up to 39 weeks. Plus PUA benefits can be paid retroactively for periods of unemployment beginning on or after January 27, 2020. But the additional $600 per week benefit ends July 31, 2020.

You can apply for PUA even if you are currently working part-time

You should apply for unemployment even if you are still getting some work. PUA is also available to independent workers, gig workers and freelance workers who have lost some income but who are still getting some work.

Tips for self-employed to complete unemployment application

Have the following information ready when applying:

  • Your Social Security number
  • If you are not a citizen of the United States, your A Number (USCIS Number)
  • Your residential address
  • Your mailing address (if different from residential address)
  • Your telephone number
  • Your email address
  • Your birth date
  • Your earning records for 2019, for instance: 1099 forms;  pay stubs; or, bank statements
  • The social security number(s) and date(s) of birth for your dependent child(ren)
  • If you want to use direct deposit for payment, your bank account and routing numbers

State-by-state list of where to apply for PUA unemployment benefits

Keep in mind most state offices have been overwhelmed with the number of applicants but you have to apply for unemployment through your state to get the additional $600 per week. These offices are not staffed to handle the volume of claims they are processing. There are slower processing times but keep trying.

AlabamaLearn more about Alabama unemployment resources

AlaskaLearn more about Alaska unemployment resources

Arizona Learn more about Arizona unemployment insurance

ArkansasLearn more about Arkansas unemployment insurance

CaliforniaLearn more about California unemployment insurance

ColoradoLearn more about Colorado unemployment insurance

ConnecticutLearn more about Connecticut unemployment resources

FloridaLearn more about Florida unemployment insurance

GeorgiaLearn more about Georgia unemployment resources

HawaiiLearn more about Hawaii unemployment insurance

IdahoLearn more about Idaho unemployment insurance

IllinoisLearn more about Illinois unemployment insurance

IndianaLearn more about Indiana unemployment insurance

Iowa – Learn more about Iowa unemployment insurance

KansasLearn more about Kansas unemployment resources

KentuckyLearn more about Kentucky unemployment insurance

LouisianaLearn more about Louisiana unemployment insurance

MaineLearn more about Maine unemployment resources

MarylandLearn more about Maryland unemployment resources

Massachusetts – Learn more about Massachusetts unemployment resources

MichiganLearn more about Michigan unemployment resources

MinnesotaLearn more about Minnesota unemployment resources

MississippiLearn more about Mississippi unemployment resources

MissouriLearn more about Missouri unemployment resources

MontanaLearn more about Montana unemployment resources

NebraskaLearn more about Nebraska unemployment resources

NevadaLearn more about Nevada unemployment resources

New HampshireLearn more about New Hampshire unemployment resources

New Jersey – Learn more about New Jersey state unemployment resources

New Mexico – Learn more about New Mexico state unemployment resources

New York – Learn more about New York state unemployment resources

North Carolina – Learn more about North Carolina state unemployment resources

North Dakota – Learn more about North Dakota state unemployment resources

Ohio – Learn more about Ohio state unemployment resources

Oklahoma – Learn more about Oklahoma state unemployment resources

Oregon – Learn more about Oregon state unemployment resources

Pennsylvania – Learn more about Pennsylvania state unemployment resources

Rhode Island – Learn more about Rhode Island state unemployment resources

South Carolina – Learn more about South Carolina state unemployment resources

South Dakota – Learn more about South Dakota state unemployment resources

Tennessee – Learn more about Tennessee state unemployment resources

Texas – Learn more about Texas state unemployment resources

Utah – Learn more about Utah state unemployment resources

Vermont – Learn more about Vermont state unemployment resources

Virginia – Learn more about Virginia state unemployment resources

Washington – Learn more about Washington state unemployment resources

West Virginia – Learn more about West Virginia state unemployment resources

Wisconsin – Learn more about Wisconsin state unemployment resources

Wyoming – Learn more about Wyoming state unemployment resources

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