April 16, 2020 – There is some good news on the horizon regarding unemployment benefits for self-employed and gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors.
Beginning May 11, the federal government will allow self-employed workers, freelancers, and independent contractors to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This program provides a total of 39 weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits to individuals not typically eligible for unemployment benefits, including independent contractors and self-proprietors, who have become unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security has advised that those seeking PUA benefits should file a regular unemployment benefits claim now. While they will not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits, their information will kept on file and processed when the PUA program goes into effect on May 11. PUA claims will be backdated to the individual’s first week of unemployment, but no earlier than February 2, 2020. Benefits will continue for as long as the individual remains unemployed as a result of COVID-19, but no later than the week ending December 26, 2020. While a program of this magnitude might normally take up to a year to design and implement, IDES plans to get this program online by the week of May 11.
For this and more information regarding the financial resources available, please consider attending a webinar this Friday at 10:00am hosted by the Small Business Development Center. The webinars are free, but you must pre-register here: https://www.cusbdc.org/events/
Please check the IDES website regularly for updates on the new PUA. We will also publish the information on our EDC COVID-19 resources page as it becomes available.