On April 5, the federal Department of Labor updated information regarding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”) program and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (“FPUC”) program. Self-employed independent contractors usually are not eligible for state-administered unemployment compensation programs. However, the PUA and FPUC are making unemployment benefits available to self-employed independent contractors for the first time. While the benefit is being funded by the federal government, it will be administered by the state unemployment compensation offices.
Some things to know:
- By applying for the PUA you will also be signed up for the FPUC. You do not have to sign up twice. Because every person’s circumstances are different, I can’t say with certainty that you will qualify for benefits under the PUA/FPUC. However, those are the correct programs to assist with loss of revenue related to COVID-19.
- If you are engaged as a self-employed independent contractor, and you list yourself as an employee of a company, your claim is likely to be delayed as the agency decides how your benefits will be categorized. You may have to start over, which will put you further back in the queue for benefits. So it is important to be clear that you are applying as a self- employed independent contractor under the PUA/FPUC when you submit your claim.
Because the PUA/FPUC was just created days ago and changes are being made almost daily, not all states have yet implemented the application process. Check California’s unemployment compensation website. They should have updates/notices as to when the PUA/FPUC application process will open. Read more about California’s EDD program here.
You can review the entire DOL Guidance For Self Employed Independent Contractors (PUA And FPUC Related To COVID 19) here. Pay particular attention to pp. 2-4 (section 4a, Guidance – Program overview) and Attachment A, Section C, numbers 1-7).