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Labor Report

PA Labor Department Launches Online Unemployment Applications for Contractors, Gig Workers, Other Self-Employed

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry this morning launched a new Web page where self-employed individuals who have lost work due to the COVID-19 emergency can apply for unemployment benefits.

Independent contractors, gig economy workers, and individuals who receive 1099 tax forms from the IRS are among those who may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) as a result of the recently adopted federal CARES Act. Displaced workers should visit PA unemployment website, for information about the benefits for which they may be eligible, as well as application forms for PUA and for traditional compensation.

“I am pleased to share this tremendous resource with all Pennsylvania workers who have lost income due to the public health crisis,” Senator Tartaglione said. “I also want to thank the Department of Labor & Industry for their hard work in bringing the PUA application online.”

Displaced workers who are considered self-employed or independent contractors should immediately start gathering the documents they will need to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Individuals who may qualify also include those without sufficient work history to qualify for regular Unemployment Compensation (UC), and people who have exhausted regular UC or extended benefits.

In general, PUA provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits, may not be more than the state’s maximum weekly benefit rate for regular UC of $572, and may not be less than the state’s average weekly benefit amount of $195. Payments will be retroactive to either January 27, 2020, or the first week you were unable to work due to COVID-19, whichever date is more recent. Benefits will end on December 31, 2020.

Applicants should gather copies of recent paycheck stubs, bank receipts showing deposits, IRS Form 1099 statements, billing notices they provided to customers, recent advertisements for their business or services, statements from recent customers, current business licenses, ledgers, contracts, invoices, and/or building leases. Acceptable documentation of wages includes tax returns, paycheck stubs, bank receipts, ledgers, contracts, invoices and/or billing statements.

Individuals who are eligible for PUA will be eligible for an additional $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program. The additional payments will be effective for the week ending April 4, 2020, to the week ending July 25, 2020. Payments for past weeks will be backdated and paid in one lump sum. Payments will be made automatically. There is not a separate application for the extra $600 per week.

Displaced workers who may be eligible for traditional UC benefits should apply through a separate form on the Labor Department’s UC website, available here.

General information for workers and businesses is available by visiting the department’s COVID-19 Guidance & Resources page.