Minnesota is typically pretty strict about who can collect unemployment benefits, but given the current state of the country amid the coronavirus outbreak, the state has relaxed some restrictions and made more workers eligible to collect unemployment benefits if they’ve lost their ability to work because of the virus.
The $2.2 trillion CARES Act was recently passed by congress and allowed for stimulus checks and small business loans, but it also expanded unemployment benefit coverage. Aside from providing more funds for those on unemployment, the act also states that self-employed and contract workers are eligible for the program.
The federal program does allow individual states to have some discretion over who is covered, but for all intents and purposes, any individual who has exhausted all rights to regular gainful employment and is self-employed should be able to receive unemployment benefits, including those with only part-time employment.
Who Would Be Covered?
We’re still working through the legislation and the changes, but independent contractors, gig workers and business owners for whom their business is their main source of income should qualify for unemployment benefits. Some examples include:
- Freelance writers
- Freelance graphic designers
- Self-employed handymen
- Uber or Lyft drivers
- Hair stylists
- Dog walkers
This is far from a complete list, but it paints a picture of the type of person who may be eligible to collect unemployment under the new regulations. Here’s what else you need to know:
- You can apply for benefits now, even though the program to distribute benefits to self-employed individuals is not yet ready, the system will retain your information for faster processing once the program is ready.
- You can begin applying by clicking here.
- If you lost or quit your job because of the coronavirus or if you’ve been out of work because you or someone in your household has coronavirus, you should qualify.
- Benefits for self-employed and gig workers are expected to roll out before the end of April.
- The formula for how much you should be eligible to receive should be available on the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s website before the end of April.
If you need help applying for or collecting unemployment or workers’ compensation as a result of the coronavirus, reach out to Hey Workers today for more information.