ALTON, Ill. – State Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Alton, is encouraging self-employed workers to apply for unemployment benefits to aid self-employed workers and independent contractors. 

“The Riverbend region is home to diverse small businesses, including many independent contractors and self-employed individuals that have not been able to rely on traditional unemployment,” said Bristow. “The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will come to the aid of the 1099 workers that have been impacted by COVID-19.”

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced the launch of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) portal to accommodate 1099 workers.  PUA is a federal program designed specifically for self-employed or independent contractors facing financial difficulty caused by COVID-19.  Workers may also be eligible for PUA if they or a member of their household have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are unable to work at the advice of their health provider. The program under Illinois Law, called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, will also include sole-proprietors and allow for up to 39 weeks worth of benefits for COVID-19-related unemployment claims. To apply for the PUA program, individuals must first apply to regular unemployment in order to select how to receive benefits. For more information about PUA, visit

“This portal will make it easier for self-employed workers to apply to unemployment and receive the benefits that other workers have been able to access during this difficult time,” said Bristow. “I encourage anyone who thinks they could be eligible for the PUA program to visit the IDES website for more information, or call to my office at 618-465-5900 for assistance.” 

To find the most recent information about resources and information regarding COVID-19 in Illinois, visit or call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 1-800-889-3931. 

Rep. Monica BristowRep. Monica Bristow

111th District
Springfield Office:
269-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5996
District Office:
102 W. 9th St.
Suite 104
Alton, IL 62002
(618) 465-5900
(618) 465-5150 FAX