Independent Contractors, Self-Employed and Gig Economy Workers Facing Long Waits to Get Unemployment Insurance and $600 FPUC Stimulus

Freelance and Gig Workers Unemployment Claim Delays

Many self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers who had been made eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under Enhanced Unemployment provisions within the CARES act are still waiting and unable to file claims several weeks after the law was passed. This is due in part to the late release of Department of Labor (DOL) guidelines around the CARES act pandemic unemployment provisions. But the inability to file claims for the 25 million or so Americans who would be classified as these worker types is now mainly due to delays in states updating their unemployment guidelines and systems to handle the new federal DOL guidelines covering these types of workers. The systems need to be updated to allow online claims to validate work history and wages earned over a predetermined qualifying period which is needed to establish eligibility for unemployment compensation.

To be fair state unemployment agencies have been deluged by an unprecedented flood of claims from millions of laid-off workers as a result of the Coronavirus induced slowdown. As a result they are also struggling to manage existing claimant groups while trying to deal with new workers. And because every state administers their own programs and system, each state is addressing and resolving these issues at different rates.

States are working hard, often with third party vendors, to update back-end systems to begin enrolling these new group of unemployed workers. There are two key programs that need to be rolled out, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) stimulus program that extends state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits by 13 weeks and provides a $600 p/week supplementary payment respectively. The Enhanced Unemployment programs were modelled on the existing disaster unemployment assistance programs but the getting systems updated has been a big lift for many states since they typically do not provide jobless benefits to independent contractors and the self-employed. Especially because validating their job history, wages and employers can be very challenging. The table at the end of this article shows where states are with getting the FPUC payment active.

Most state government leaders have however acknowledged this issue and the new claim filing situation has become so bad that many states are telling this group of workers to wait until the new applications are updated before going online to file their claims. This also means they won’t be eligible for the additional $600 stimulus payment valid till July 30th, 2020. If they try and file many are being rejected as they are still considered ineligible under the old system rules and guidelines.

For many the unemployment compensation means having food on the tables for their families versus going hungry and potentially homeless. So the stakes are high. Have you been impacted by this if you classified in this group? Please share your experience and any tips on filing for unemployment benefits.

State$600 Supplementary FPUC Payment StatusState Max. Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)Max WBA with $600 FPUCPUA Amount
AlabamaActive from 4/11. Retroactive to 3/29.$275$875$275
AlaskaFrom 4/13 (retroactive to 3/29)$370$970$370
ArizonaActive week starting 4/13 (retroactive to 3/29)$240$840$240
ArkansasActive week starting 4/13 (retroactive to 3/29)
$451$1,051 $451
CaliforniaActive (from April 11)$450$1,050 $175
ColoradoActive from April 20th$618$1,218 $618
ConnecticutActive from 4/16 (retroactive to 4/4)$649$1,249 $649
DelawareFrom April 5th (first to roll out)$400$1,000 $400
District of ColumbiaFrom 4/27 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$444$1,044 $444
FloridaFrom 4/12 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$275$875$275
GeorgiaFrom 4/4 and paid 4/19$365$965$365
HawaiiPaid from 4/21 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$648$1,248 $648
IdahoFirst payment: 4/24/20. Available 4/28/20. Retroactive to 3/29$448$1,048 $448
IllinoisActive from 4/6 (retroactive to 3/29)$484$1,084$484
IndianaFrom 4/20 (retroactive to 3/29)$390$990$390
IowaFrom 4/16$481$1,081 $481
KansasFrom 4/23 (retroactive to March 29th)$488$1,088 $488
KentuckyFrom 4/4$552$1,152 $552
LouisianaFrom 4/20 (retroactive to March 29th)$247$847$247
MaineFrom 4/16 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$445$1,045 $445
MarylandFrom 4/17 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$430$1,030 $430
MassachusettsPaid from 4/10 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$823$1,423 $823
MichiganActive from 4/10 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$362$962$362
MinnesotaFrom 4/5$462$1,062 $462
MississippiPaid from 4/10 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$235$835$235
MissouriActive 4/12 (retroactive to 3/29)$320$920$320
MontanaFrom 4/13 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$552$1,152 $552
NebraskaFrom 4/17 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$440$1,040 $440
NevadaActive from 4/12 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$469$1,069 $469
New HampshireFrom 4/20 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$427$1,027 $427
New JerseyActive 4/14 (for the week of March 30th)$713$1,313 $713
New MexicoFrom 4/13 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$511$1,111 $511
New YorkActive (payments begin 4/5)$504$1,104 $504
North CarolinaFirst Payments by April 17$350$950$350
North DakotaWeek of April 14$618$1,218 $618
OhioActive from 4/23 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$480$1,080 $480
OklahomaFrom 4/20 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$539$1,139 $539
OregonFrom 4/10 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$648$1,248 $648
PennsylvaniaActive from 4/12$572$1,172 $572
Puerto RicoNo info$190$790$190
Rhode IslandActive from 4/14$586$1,186 $586
South CarolinaFrom 4/18$326$926$326
South DakotaFrom 4/10 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$414$1,014 $414
TennesseeFrom 4/14$275$875$275
TexasActive from 4/13 and being paid per comments$521$1,121 $521
UtahActive from 4/9 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$580$1,180 $580
VermontFrom 4/5 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$513$1,113 $513
VirginiaActive from 4/12 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$378$978$378
WashingtonFrom 4/18 (retroactive to 3/29)$790$1,390 $790
West VirginiaFrom 4/20 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$424$1,024 $424
WisconsinFrom 4/26 (Retroactive to 4/4)$370$970$370
WyomingFrom 4/27 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)$508$1,108 $508

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5 thoughts on “Independent Contractors, Self-Employed and Gig Economy Workers Facing Long Waits to Get Unemployment Insurance and $600 FPUC Stimulus

  1. I am independent contractor from NJ I been out of work since 03/20/20 I applied for unemployment on 04/13/2020, I didnt hear anything from NJ LD until 05/16/20 via email allowing me to start to certify for my weekly benefit witch I did I was able to get NJ PUC $231 for each week I certifY for but no 600 pmt from the FPUC not even once $00 I have a family of 4, kids r out of school …..HOW CAN I SURVIVE WITH 231 WEEKLY IN AMERICA? THE RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WHERE IS REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS?

  2. What happen when furloughed as an essential worker at a gym and refused to go back to work because I am afraid for my health of contracting the coronavirus? Will I lose my unemployment benefits and $600 under the care act?

  3. this gives a little hope since it sounds like those claims that are pending because not verified income will be able to add missing info to the new system.. Whats confusing is that some organization say stick to EDD claim not file PUA ! There need to be more explanation from EDD or a smart system which can be build in 2020 to sort all those problems out online, we will hope 4/28 will change everything more positive

  4. I am a musician and from the beginning of March “all” my gigs got cancelled, either in schools, restaurants, jazz clubs and museums all of them sent me a nice message with the suspension of the activities. With that I haven’t paid rent for two and a half months so far and it is accumulating, as well as the other bills like gas, electric and credit cards. I wonder if this benefit is retroactive to the beginning of the period, it is important for us to catch up with the unpaid bills issued since March.

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