Gardi, Haught, Fischer & Bhosale LTD.

New COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits for Independent Contractors Available

By Gardi, Haught, Fischer & Bhosale LTD
May 9, 2020
Covid 19 Unemployment Benefits Independent Contractors

New COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits for Independent Contractors Available

By Samuel Park

For the millions of Americans who classify themselves as “gig workers,” the self-employed, or independent contractors whose business has been impacted by COVID-19, unemployment assistance was not available…till now.

On  May 5, 2020, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (“IDES”) released new instruction for self-employed individuals, business owners, gig-workers and independent contractors (hereinafter known as “Alternative Workers”) who seek unemployment benefits due to loss of work in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) has now expanded benefit eligibility through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”) to offer unemployment benefits to Alternative Workers who were traditionally ineligible for unemployment benefits.

 To apply, Alternative Workers must do the following: 

  1. Apply for Unemployment.

    If Alternative Workers believe they may be eligible for unemployment under the CARES Act they must first apply for regular unemployment insurance before applying for benefits under PUA. Why? Because PUA is a 100% federally-funded unemployment benefit payout for individuals who are unemployed for specific COVID-19 related reasons and not eligible for Illinois’ regular unemployment insurance program. Receiving a denial for regular unemployment is a mandatory first step in determining eligibility for PUA. Alternative workers are encouraged to apply as soon as IDES opens their new PUA portal on May 11, 2020.

  2. Note the maximum. The CARES Act also provides that under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (“PEUC”), Alternative Workers are potentially able to get up to 39 weeks of benefits. PUA Claims will be backdated to the individuals’ first week of unemployment, but no earlier than February 2, 2020 and will continue for as long as the individual remains unemployed due to COVID-19.

  3. Continue to Seek Work. Individuals are required to continue to “be able, available, and looking for work” and must regularly provide updates to IDES regarding their search for work.

Illinois is implementing this new portal based on staggering demand from more than one million people filing for unemployment in Illinois alone. Getting appropriate counsel and assistance in preparing and filing the necessary documentation can expedite the process and result in the largest benefit.

Here at Gardi, Haught, Fischer & Bhosale LTD, we understand the difficult position you may be in and are happy to provide help with a free consultation regarding your unemployment insurance issues. Contact Business Attorney Samuel Park today at  to collect the maximum unemployment benefits available for Alternative Workers affected by COVID-19. 

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