Independent contractors and self-employed individuals are normally not eligible for unemployment compensation. However, under the CARES Act, such individuals can receive benefits under a special Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program if they qualify.
1. How much does the program pay and for how long?
PUA pays the same weekly benefits as your regular state unemployment insurance (UI) program, but the benefits are 100% federally funded. PUA benefits are available for up to 39 weeks.
This program expires on December 31, 2020. Through July 31, 2020, recipients of unemployment compensation will receive an additional $600 per week on top of the state-calculated benefit.
2. Am I eligible?
According to the Department of Labor: “An individual who works as an independent contractor with reportable income also may qualify for PUA benefits if he or she is unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited his or her ability to continue performing his or her customary work activities, and has thereby forced the individual to suspend such activities” is eligible.
NOTE: Receipt of a PPP loan may impact your ability to collect unemployment insurance.
3. How do I apply?
You can apply through your state unemployment office.
FIND YOUR STATE OFFICE