Unemployment Benefits to Self-Employed, Independent Contractors

The CARES Act allows unemployment benefits to be paid to self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig, and low-wage workers who can no longer work because of temporary business closures to slow the spread of COVID-19. The benefits will be funded by the $2 trillion federal CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020.

The act also increases weekly benefits for all unemployed workers by $600 a week for up to four months and extends benefit payments from 26 to 39 weeks.

This is very recent legislation. Since the self-employed do not pay into UI for themselves, they have not previously been eligible to claim unemployment benefits. So this is a significant change to the law and the way states pay unemployment benefits. The states are working to implement these changes to their systems. In all probability, it will take a few weeks before your state is ready to pay benefits. Most states will want people to apply for benefits online. If you think you might qualify for this benefit, please use your state’s online application process. But again, don’t expect to begin receiving the benefits in the near term.