Benefits Options for Independent Contractors, Gig Workers Now Available

Due to the expansion of unemployment, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is now available for independent contractors, gig workers, self-employed workers, and other 1099 workers. The Department of Labor is still in the process of implementing this program, but we encourage you to apply for unemployment now in order to take advantage of it when funds become available. You will likely be denied for ordinary unemployment benefits, but this rejection is a requirement to be eligible for PUA funds.

Independent contractors and self-employed workers can also apply for the Payroll Protection Program through a participating lender. Workers can qualify if their maximum income does not exceed $100,000; to calculate maximum income, divide your annual income by 12 and multiply it by 2.5. A loan borrowed through the Payroll Protection Program can be forgiven in full if at least 75 percent of the loan is used for payroll; otherwise, a one percent interest rate will be applied. The application for this program will become available on Friday, April 10.

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You can find eligible and participating lenders using the SBA’s “Find Eligible Lenders” tool.


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