HELENA — Self-employed individuals such as gig economy workers can now file unemployment claims.
The new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which follows under the CARES Act, was created to provide unemployment benefits to those originally not eligible.
Claimant benefits are calculated based on the self-employed individual's 2019 net income or 1099 forms. They are also eligible for the additional $600-a-week stimulus benefit payment.
“We understand that so many small business owners and independent contractors who work for small businesses have been affected by the Coronavirus or COVID-19, and traditionally, these people have not been covered with any benefits,” said Job Service Helena manager Carol Rule.
Those who qualify may be eligible to receive payments backdated to the week of March 15, 2020, consistent with local or county restrictions, school closures, and stay-at-home directives.
The Department of Labor and Industry says payments should be issued within 10 days of being approved for benefits.
“We received numerous emails from people that are self-employed and contractors. I’m just very happy that the CARES Act does provide this benefit,” Rule said.
Montanaworks.gov is the website for traditional unemployment benefits. There is a new web portal for those who wish to apply for the PUA at MTPUA.mt.gov.
Those without internet or have questions regarding the P.U.A. can call the newly created PUA phone line at (406) 444-3382.