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Freelancers, self-employed workers now eligible for unemployment benefits in Virginia

Under the CARES Act, self-employed workers and independent contractors can apply for temporary unemployment benefits.

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Employment Commission said it has an application available for self-employed workers to receive unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Unemployment insurance was expanded last month through the CARES Act, which is federal legislation aimed at helping independent contractors, gig workers and freelancers who would not typically be eligible for traditional unemployment benefits.

Under this new expansion, workers have to fill out the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) application to receive up to $600 in benefits each week for 13 weeks; however, the amount of money and length of time a person can receive benefits is up to their state employment agency. If you are self-employed, you won't have to submit proof of earnings, like a 1099 or tax filing at this time.

According to the VEC, these payments will be issued in approximately two weeks, following the acceptance of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance application.

Some states have already implemented this program, but Virginia just started making the application available this week.

Click here to find the application and learn more about steps to apply for these benefits.

Learn more about the CARES Act here.

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