Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) news updates Wednesday, April 29th:
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- [ARKANSAS]: “Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston is asking any independent contractors, self employed or gig economy workers to not file for unemployment yet. These workers were not previously covered for unemployment. But under the pandemic unemployment assistance, they are eligible for benefits. “The system is kicking them out but we don’t have the ability to accept them right now,” Preston said. The department is still waiting for federal guidelines as to how to implement these workers into the system. “What a lot of people are doing is they’re getting frustrated because they’re going online, they’re trying to fill out the application and its getting rejected so they call the hotline,” Preston said…” [FULL ARTICLE]
- [NEW JERSEY]: “Gig and self-employed workers in New Jersey who have been waiting for weeks to receive unemployment benefits during the the coronavirus crisis will be notified Wednesday about their status and begin receiving payments next week, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday. Those workers, which also includes freelancers, are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits from the state, though they may qualify for federal assistance. For weeks the state Labor Department said they were waiting for guidance from the federal government. Those workers should now go onto the state’s…” [FULL ARTICLE]
- [KANSAS]: “Gig and self-employed workers who have been laid off in Kansas will have to wait several more weeks to collect unemployment benefits. Gig workers, such as Uber drivers, and self-employed people have not previously been eligible for unemployment benefits. Congress extended coverage to these workers last month through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which is part of the federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act. Payments to those workers through the PUA program are retroactive to Jan. 27, but Kansas Department of Labor spokeswoman said Monday that it will take the state between three and six more weeks to begin making those payments…” [FULL ARTICLE]
- [CONNECTICUT]: “Applications are expected to open Thursday for a separate benefit, “pandemic unemployment assistance,” authorized by Congress for self-employed and gig workers who cannot work due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Officials said work is nearly complete on a system to process and pay those claims. Benefits will be retroactive. “There are hundreds of thousands in our state relying on our Department of Labor to help get them through this crisis, and the state’s loyal and hard-working team never lost sight of that. This is a difficult time for so many, and I appreciate that these new benefits are being distributed,” Gov. Ned Lamont said…” [FULL ARTICLE]
- [FLORIDA]: “After telling News 6 last week that contractors and self-employed workers would not need to reapply through the Florida system to receive unemployment payments, the Department of Economic Opportunity now says anyone who was declared ineligible who applied on or before April 4 will need to reapply because of Florida law and the start of a new quarter. Last week a DEO spokesperson said workers who qualify for federal pandemic benefits, including contractors, gig workers and self-employed individuals and received a notice they were ineligible would not have to reapply to receive the federal benefits under the CARES Act, but on Tuesday the DEO released a chart showing that those who applied on or before April 4 would need to re-submit their applications…”
- [CALIFORNIA]: “Two weeks after other states started sending checks, California on Tuesday began accepting unemployment benefit claims from millions of independent contractors, gig workers and the self-employed, but many said ongoing glitches on the state’s overtaxed website prevented them from filing applications. The reports of technical issues follow weeks of similar complaints from other Californians left jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic. They said they were stymied by error messages and clogged phone lines that kept them from completing applications. Although some people said they were able to file a claim Tuesday, many others said they were frustrated that the online portal malfunctioned as a flood of people tried to log on, preventing them from signing up for financial help…” [FULL ARTICLE]
- [MAINE]: “The Maine Department of Labor rolls out Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Friday. It’s a new federal program that expands eligibility for unemployment benefits to categories of workers who typically aren’t eligible to receive benefits. “I know that waiting for unemployment benefits is a challenge, but help is on the way,” Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said. This includes self-employed workers, farmers and fishermen, independent contractors, nonprofit employees not already covered by regular state employee benefits, gig economy workers, workers who don’t have enough work history and earnings to be eligible for traditional unemployment benefits and others who have been determined ineligible…” [FULL ARTICLE]
- [OREGON]: “The state of Oregon is expanding unemployment benefits to include people who may not qualify for a regular unemployment claim. The Employment Department announced a new program last week that is now online. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program applies to people who are self-employed, contracted and gig workers…” [FULL ARTICLE]
- [WASHINGTON D.C.]: “As of last Friday, self-employed individuals and gig workers — sometimes referred to as “1099 workers — were eligible to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Since then, 6,200 people have applied for PUA, Bowser said, during a Wednesday morning press briefing…” [FULL ARTICLE]