Good News for the Self-Employed Who Need Unemployment Benefits

By Rachel Puryear

If you are self-employed, and have lost income due to shelter-in-place orders, but are worried about not being eligible for unemployment benefits; the new federal stimulus package can offer you some relief.

Portrait of young man standing at the counter in his cafe. Coffee shop working in apron and hat smiling at camera.

For the first time, a new program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provides unemployment benefits to those who are self-employed, and are suffering a loss of income due to having to stay home.

Are you self-employed? The answer is generally yes if you:

  • Are an independent contractor (you receive a 1099 form).
  • Own an unincorporated business.
  • Are a freelancer (you do work for various businesses and/or individuals).

At this time, California’s Employment Development Department (the entity which administers unemployment benefits) is reviewing and determining how to implement the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. According to their website, they anticipate having further information later this week.

So, in the meantime, hopefully this will give some hope and a bit of stress relief to people who are self-employed and struggling with income loss right now. Stay tuned, and updates will be issued on this blog as they become available.

As always, dear readers, be safe and healthy out there. Please help keep everyone safe by observing official recommendations for social distancing, sheltering in place, and practicing proper hygiene. Please also help others where you can in ways big and small, and ask for help if you need it. We will all get through this together.

As always, dear readers, thank you for reading and for following me. I hope you enjoyed this, and learned something valuable.

** Got a legal subject or question you are curious about? Email it to me at Your question may be discussed in a future blog post!

Please note that the above is offered for educational purposes only. The information presented may not take into account every exception, variation, or complication which could apply to someone’s legal matters. Accordingly, nothing in this post or blog is ever intended as, nor should be construed by or relied upon by anyone, as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney who can give you assistance specific to your needs.


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