Independent Contractors, Self-Employed and Gig Economy Workers Still Facing Long Waits to Get Unemployment Checks Under PUA and $600 FPUC Stimulus Programs

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 unable to successfully file claims several weeks after the law was passed due to delays in states processing unemployment claims and completing income verification steps via their antiquated systems that have had challenges handling the new federal DOL guidelines covering these types of workers.

To be fair state unemployment agencies have also 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. But the good news is that most states now have the system updates in place for processing claims under the main programs covering these jobless workers.

Freelance and Gig Workers Unemployment PUA Claims

There are two key programs covering gig or contract workers, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) stimulus program that extends and expands existing state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits by up to 13 weeks (PUA) and provides a $600 p/week (FPUC) supplementary payment. The Enhanced Unemployment programs were modeled on past federally funded 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 payments out and when they are retroactive until. Note, as explained in this article, the PUA program is open to the end of 2020, while the FPUC is only available until the end of July 2020 (unless extended). So you need to realize your unemployment benefits will likely change through the year, even if you remain unemployed and certify accurately.

Most state government leaders have acknowledged the issues around paying out timely unemployment benefits and the new claim filing situation had become so bad that many states were telling this group of workers to wait until the new applications were updated before going online to file their claims. Fortunately this has now been done and despite lengthy delays still being reported by new claimants, unemployment payments including retroactive/back-pay are being sent out to eligible PUA recipients. This also means they will be eligible for the additional $600 stimulus payment valid till July 30th, 2020.

Here are some other useful guidelines around PUA for these group of workers to be aware of:

For many the unemployment compensation under the PUA program 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 Unemployment Effective and Retroactive Payment Date
AlabamaActive from 4/11. Retroactive to 3/29.
AlaskaFrom 4/13 (retro to w/ending 4/4)
ArizonaActive week starting 4/13 (retroactive to 3/29)
ArkansasActive week starting 4/13 (retroactive to 3/29)
CaliforniaActive from April 11 (retro to w/ending 4/4)
ColoradoActive from April 20th
ConnecticutActive from 4/16 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
DelawareFrom April 5th (first to roll out)
District of ColumbiaFrom 4/27 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
FloridaFrom 4/12 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
GeorgiaFrom 4/4 and paid 4/26
HawaiiPaid from 4/21 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
IdahoFirst payment: 4/24/20. Available 4/28/20. Retroactive to 3/29
IllinoisActive from 4/6 (retroactive to w/starting 3/29)
IndianaFrom 4/20 (retroactive to 3/29)
IowaFrom 4/16
KansasFrom 4/23 (retroactive to March 29th)
KentuckyFrom 4/4 (retroactive to 3/29)
LouisianaFrom 4/20 (retroactive to March 29th)
MaineFrom 4/16 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
MarylandFrom 4/17 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
MassachusettsPaid from 4/10 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
MichiganActive from 4/10 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
MinnesotaFrom 4/5
MississippiPaid from 4/10 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
MissouriActive 4/12 (retroactive to 3/29)
MontanaFrom 4/13 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
NebraskaFrom 4/17 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
NevadaActive from 4/12 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
New HampshireFrom 4/20 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
New JerseyActive 4/14 (retroactive to w/starting 3/30)
New MexicoFrom 4/13 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
New YorkFrom 4/12 (retroactive to 4/5)
North CarolinaFirst Payments by April 17
North DakotaFrom 4/20 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
OhioActive from 4/23 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
OklahomaFrom 4/20 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
OregonFrom 4/13 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
PennsylvaniaFrom 4/13 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
Puerto RicoFrom 4/20 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
Rhode IslandFrom 4/13 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
South CarolinaFrom 4/18
South DakotaFrom 4/10 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
TennesseeFrom week starting 4/13 (retroactive to 3/29)
TexasActive from 4/13 (backdated to 4/8)
UtahActive from 4/9 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
VermontFrom 4/5 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
VirginiaActive from 4/12 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
WashingtonFrom 4/18 (retroactive to 3/29)
West VirginiaFrom 4/20 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
WisconsinFrom 4/26 (Retroactive to 4/4)
WyomingFrom 4/27 (retroactive to w/ending 4/4)
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11 thoughts on “Independent Contractors, Self-Employed and Gig Economy Workers Still Facing Long Waits to Get Unemployment Checks Under PUA and $600 FPUC Stimulus Programs”

  1. I applied for mines back in April 2020 and i still have not received a dime. Neither from UI or PUA i was an independent contractor. Im a single mother of 3 grade school children and one of them in a special class. I have done everything right. I’ve lost my house and car due to this pandemic. Its been 71/2 months and i have struggled not being able to receive any assistance. This gas been the worse, somebody please help with the process.. Its not right at all and its not fair to any of us..

  2. I too filed June 21 and got caught up in the fraud thing and did ID. Me and haven’t received a dime at all. I call all the time and they just say I have to wait. I’m a 66 year old housekeeper and out of work due to Covid. I’m not able to pay my rent next month and am so discouraged and disappointed inmy country. And very scared. What do I do?

  3. I am a caregiver and moved to Pahrump, NV. with an elderly gentleman, two years ago, to be his caregiver. He only paid me $150 a wk. cash (usually just $100) with the agreement I was to get money after they sold the house, after he passed but can live in the house, rent free until then. We had 6 dogs. Now down to 3 that I am also taking care of. I have to pay the utilities and the dog food. He passed away April 8th, just after we got locked down. I couldn’t go find another job and was living on resources I had but those are now gone and I didn’t find out about PUA until June 27th. They sent me a letter of how much I will be getting but haven’t gotten anything yet. My app. on one line says unresolved issues, but on another line it says no unresolved issues for this claim. The people at the employment office said they don’t know what’s going on and I can’t get in touch with anyone. I am going to run out of dog food soon and have to pay bill’s. How can I fix any “issues” if I don’t know what they are? I have run out of options.

    • I’m GOING through the same thing FRIEND my country told me I was eligible but I have NOT YET been helped

  4. Im a substitute teacher in texas and my benefits just ran out i only got paid for one week this week due to regular benfits since im part time covid emergency benefits only qualified it says they will contact us on whether are benefits are extended per case in texas but ive gotten nothing by mail call or email and i cannot get anyone on the phone anywhere to ask if im gonna get the extended benefits or not and when ill know or any corresspondence reguarding it since i should being that i cannot go back to work yet and did and since school isnt back in yet im not sure if qualify for the summer months or not this is my first year doing it and i dont know what im supposed to do just that ive got kids bills to pay and dont know now since i wasnt expecting to be totally dropped and hoping to receive notice by now that i might auto extend on the benefits like it says we will online for the extra benefits amounts after exhausted this last week im not being paid for i just dont know how im gonna live now can anyone in the same situation. Texas tell me how yours isgoing or help answer my questions please

  5. I live in alabama and started my business 1/5/2020. I provide maintenance to businesses that have live plants at their locations. due to the shut down. my services are temorarary halted. I file my weekly but now they say my payment is being held up due to me answering no to corvid questions. what the hell is that?

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

  8. 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

  9. 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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