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.

StateMaximum PUA Amount
Alabama$275
Alaska$370
Arizona$240
Arkansas$451
California$175
Colorado$618
Connecticut$649
Delaware$400
District of Columbia$444
Florida$275
Georgia$365
Hawaii$648
Idaho$448
Illinois$484
Indiana$390
Iowa$481
Kansas$488
Kentucky$552
Louisiana$247
Maine$445
Maryland$430
Massachusetts$823
Michigan$362
Minnesota$462
Mississippi$235
Missouri$320
Montana$552
Nebraska$440
Nevada$469
New Hampshire$427
New Jersey$713
New Mexico$511
New York$504
North Carolina$350
North Dakota$618
Ohio$480
Oklahoma$539
Oregon$648
Pennsylvania$572
Puerto Rico$190
Rhode Island$586
South Carolina$326
South Dakota$414
Tennessee$275
Texas$521
Utah$580
Vermont$513
Virginia$378
Washington$790
West Virginia$424
Wisconsin$370
Wyoming$508

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

  1. In Florida, if you request BACK DATE claim, they cap PUA benefits from 39 weeks to 12 weeks… After 12 weeks, we’re supposed to apply for PEU for the next 13 weeks… Are Self Employed eligible for PEUC ?

  2. 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?

  3. 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?

  4. 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

  5. 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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