“Although independent contractors and sole proprietors are not eligible for traditional state unemployment benefits, the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program extends up to 39 weeks of benefits to these 1099 workers who have lost work because of the pandemic,” Costa Howard said. “These new benefits will provide a financial safety net to the many self-employed workers who are facing such hard times right now because of this pandemic.”
The 1099 workers eligible for this program include sole proprietors, business owners, independent contractors, and employees of nonprofit religious organizations that do not pay into the unemployment system.
Workers also may be eligible if they or a family member have been diagnosed with COVID-19, if they are caring for a family member with the virus, if they are serving as the primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school as a result of COVID-19, if they have been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider, or if they were scheduled to start work but do not currently have a job as a result of COVID-19.
There are several steps necessary to qualify for benefits under PUA. Workers must apply for regular unemployment benefits, be denied, and then have their claims reviewed to ensure they are ineligible for regular benefits. For more information on PUA eligibility or to file a claim, workers should visit the IDES website at https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/pages/file-a-claim.aspx.
“This expanded benefits package is designed to help people who are struggling to pay the bills during this unprecedented time,” Costa Howard said. “With millions of Illinoisans out of work because of this pandemic, I encourage everyone who has lost their income to begin the process of filing a claim for the benefits they need.”