The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) of the CARES Act addresses the need of self-employed individuals, independent contractors and gig-workers. The PUA gives special attention to those who under ordinary circumstances, run businesses that do not qualify for unemployment insurance benefit or the SMB loans extended by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
The PUA program also provides economic relief to those not formally employed by business entities and therefore not entitled to receive the usual employment benefits like paid sick leaves. Freelancers, gig-workers or independent contractors, whether hired on a full or part time basis, or under a long or short term contract, but unable to continue with their work engagement, because of personal illness or circumstances that prevent them from doing so, will be provided with unemployment benefits under the PUA system.
Granting of PUAs will be administered by the unemployment office of each state in accordance with the manner by which a state office provides the assistance. Actually, the CARES Act – PUA follows the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA ) model as far as implementation methods are concerned. The good news is that the PUA of the CARES Act can still be awarded as supplementary financial assistance to the DUA relief extended by a state government.
What the PUA Offers as Economic Assistance During the COVID-19 Crisis
Self-employed workers and the likes, who qualify for economic aid under the PUA program stand to receive 39 weeks of unemployment benefits. A minimum benefit will be calculated in accordance with the federal government’s DUA program under the Stafford Act, which is set to equal 50 percent of the average unemployment insurance benefit granted by a state on a weekly basis; estimated at roughly $190.00.
This is notwithstanding the fact an additional $600 per week may be awarded to those whose circumstance merits entitlement to the supplementary financial aid.
Basic Eligibility Requirements of the PUA CARES Act Package
The CARES Act back-dated the period of the program to January 27, 2020 in order to qualify those who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, even before their source of livelihood were given orders to close or cancel. The PUA program though, is set to expire by December 31, 2020.
As a basic requirement, PUA applicants must self-certify that they are unemployed, whether partially or fully; or state in their application the reasons that prevent them from engaging in freelance or contractual employment. Generally, PUA eligibility requirements are founded on the premise that the applicant is unable to obtain freelance work, carry out work contracts or engage in gigs, mainly a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the aftermath of the health crisis and despite the unemployment benefits, many self-employed individuals will likely face insolvency; especially those who were not prepared for an unemployment circumstance. The state of California for one is a major contributor to the country’s economy, whilst having the greatest number of workers forming part of the entire U.S. labor force.
If and when insolvency does become a concern, be in the know that legal help can be provided by a bankruptcy attorney. Contracting a bankruptcy lawyer san diego law firms can provide, is one good way to get out of debts as soon as possible.