April 28, 2020 – California Labor Secretary Julie Su announced on Tuesday that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA) is now accepting applications from independent contractors, business owners, self-employed workers, freelancers, or gig workers who only received a 10-99 tax form in the previous year. Under normal circumstances, such unemployment benefits are not available to those workers. PUA was created to provide additional financial aid to these workers who have been affected by COVID-19.
According the Employment Development Department (EDD), you must meet any of the following to be eligible for PUA:
Any criteria related to changes in employment status due to COVID-19
- You had a definite date to begin work, but the job is no longer available, or you could not reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19.
- You are unable to travel to your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
- You quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
- Your workplace is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
- You are self-employed or work as an independent contractor (with reportable income, such as a 1099) and you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable to work because COVID-19 has forced you to stop working.
Any criteria related to health issues due to COVID-19
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
- A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You are caring for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You are caring for a dependent because their school or another care facility has closed due to COVID-19 and you are now caring for them during the work day.
- Your healthcare provider has told you to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
- You have become the main income provider due to a COVID-19 death in your household.
The PUA benefits are good for up to 39 weeks, expiring at the end of December 2020.
According to the EDD, if you qualify for PUA, you will receive:
- $167.00 per week, for each week from February 2, 2020 to March 28, 2020 that you were unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason.
- $167.00 plus $600 per week, for each week from March 29, 2020 to July 25, 2020, that you are unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason.
- $167.00 per week, for each week from July 26, 2020 to December 26, 2020, that you are unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason, up to a total of 39 weeks (minus any weeks of regular UI and certain extended UI benefits that you have received).
Your weekly payment of $167 may be increased, depending on your previous earnings. Those earnings will have to be certified during your application process.