News & Press: COVID-19

Self Employed and 1099 workers eligible for Unemployment

Sunday, May 10, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ronna Heinig
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Rep. Greg Harris • 13th District

District Update • May 9, 2020


Unemployment for 1099/Self-Employed Workers Update

Some IDES guidance has changed. Please review.


Beginning Monday, May 11, self-employed and 1099 workers impacted by COVID-19 can apply for unemployment benefits online. This benefit expansion program, called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), was created by the federal CARES Act stimulus bill.


PUA will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to workers who would not usually be eligible for traditional benefits. This includes 1099 employees, independent contractors, gig economy workers, sole proprietors, and self-employed workers. These benefits will be backdated to the date of your COVID-19 related job loss, so no one will be penalized for any delays in applying. These retroactive benefits are available as far back as February 2, 2020.


If you think you may be eligible for PUA benefits, please make sure to submit an unemployment claim through the regular application portal first. While you will likely be denied for traditional unemployment benefits, being denied is required to become eligible for PUA. If you have already filed for regular benefits and have received or are awaiting a decision from IDES, please do not file your regular UI again.


If you have applied for traditional unemployment and gotten your denial, you now must apply separately through the PUA Portal. The IT system will NOT automatically transfer your information to the PUA application from your traditional unemployment application.


Applicants can choose to enroll in direct deposit for their benefits instead of using a debit card. IDES recommends this option to avoid waiting to receive your debit card in the mail. PUA applicants will certify for their benefits on a weekly basis. Those who qualify for backdated benefits may be able to submit their prior weeks’ certification immediately. These retroactive benefits will be paid within a week of certification.


While regular unemployment benefits are tied to previous income, we know it is more difficult for workers in these 1099 and self-employed categories to verify their prior earnings. The PUA application will not require proof of income. Anyone who qualifies for PUA will automatically be entitled to the baseline benefit amount plus the $600/week added benefit from the federal stimulus bill.


Applicants can increase their benefits by reporting their previous income. IDES encourages PUA applicants to submit their most recent tax return as evidence of earnings. However, submitting this proof of income is not required.


To prepare for Monday’s increased applicant volume, IDES has brought on another 100 claims agents and increased their call center capacity by an additional 100 agents. The PUA application portal is designed to process 140,000 claims per hour. For more information about this process, please visit the IDES website.


Thanks again for all of your patience during this unprecedented crisis. If there is any way we can assist you or your family, please do not hesitate to email me at or leave a voicemail at 773-348-3434 and we will get back to you as soon as possible.