Unemployment Benefits for the Self-Employed [COVID-19 Guide for Gig Workers]

This post can be found en Español here.

This content is for the first stimulus relief package, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (The CARES Act), which was signed into law in March 2020. For information on the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, the stimulus relief package currently pending legislation, please visit the “New Coronavirus Relief Package: What Does it Mean for You and a Second Stimulus Check” blog post

In the past month, COVID-19 has affected businesses of all sizes. As employers are temporarily shutting their doors, many hard-working Americans are out of work.

As of 2019, there were a recorded 16 million self-employed individuals in the United States. Pew Research Center found that self-employed Americans (and the people working for them) account for 30% of the nation’s workforce – that’s 44 million jobs in total.

The problem? Historically, self-employed individuals were excluded from receiving unemployment benefits.  However, the government has stepped in, and worked to provide relief for gig workers in the face of coronavirus.

Under new coronavirus laws, self-employed workers are now eligible for unemployment benefits. If you’re an independent contractor and wondering if you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits, check out our guide below.

  • How COVID-19 is affecting the self-employed
  • Coronavirus relief package: Unemployment benefits extended
  • What kind of unemployment benefits are available to self-employed workers?
  • I’m self-employed. How do I know if I qualify for unemployment benefits?
  • How do I apply for unemployment benefits if I’m self-employed?
  • Key takeaways

How COVID-19 is affecting the self-employed

For freelancers, the work impact of COVID-19 can vary significantly based on role, but by and large, many gig workers are facing some type of fallout.

Self-employed photographers are dealing with cancelled sessions, particularly in the events space. Freelance writers may find that their contracts pause or end as companies scramble to reassess budgets for the remainder of the year. Independent aestheticians can no longer help clients with facials or waxing as communities adhere to stay-at-home directives.

The above are just a few select examples, but they illustrate the reality for the millions of Americans that are part of the  self-employed community. 

Many independent contractors have already lost business, and others expect that trend to continue. According to a recent study from the Freelancer’s Union, 91% of freelancers expect to lose income in the coming weeks. While no one is certain what the future months will look like for employment, there are plenty of freelancers currently hurting financially.

Coronavirus Relief Package: Unemployment Benefits Extended

In March, more than 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits. Among them for the first time? Gig workers.

Traditionally, self-employed individuals didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits. Independent contractors and gig workers were also excluded from any kind of unemployment restitution, but the coronavirus outbreak has changed that.

Thanks to the $2 trillion stimulus package signed into law just a few weeks ago, gig workers now qualify for certain unemployment benefits:

  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the FFCRA into law. This act offers additional flexibility to state unemployment insurance agencies and funnels extra administrative funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act: President Trump signed the CARES Act into law on March 27. 2020. This act expands all states’ abilities to offer unemployment insurance to workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including independent contractors.

What kind of unemployment benefits are available to self-employed workers?

There are several programs under the CARES Act that include benefits for self-employed workers: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

These programs are designed to:

  • Provide unemployment benefits to self-employed workers who don’t traditionally qualify. The amount you recieve is based on your previous income, and may vary based on where you live and your benefit guidelines. The minimum benefit rate is 50% of the average weekly benefit amount available in your state. 

  • Provide supplemental benefits. Eligible workers will receive $600 a week in additional benefits for up to four months, through July 31, 2020, unless extended.
  • Provide extra weeks of benefits. Individuals who are still unemployed after they run out of state benefits may qualify for an additional 13 weeks of benefits. Length of state benefits vary, but the maximum is 26 weeks. 

I’m self-employed. How do I know if I qualify for unemployment benefits?

Under federal law, states are now allowed to provide Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to individuals who are self-employed. However, your eligibility depends on your personal situation and how your state elects to implement the CARES Act.

To qualify for PUA benefits, you must not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits and be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work because of certain health or economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Something to keep in mind: you must first apply for regular unemployment insurance and be denied to be eligible for PUA. This process can be long, so apply as soon as possible.

Contact your state’s unemployment insurance office to learn more about the availability of unemployment benefits in your area. 

Tip: The Department of Labor (DOL) offers a comprehensive list of state unemployment insurance contacts to help you find contact information. 

How do I apply for unemployment benefits if I’m self-employed?

To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state that you work.

Depending on the state, you may be able to file a claim online, by phone, or in person. Contact your state’s unemployment insurance program as soon as you can after becoming unemployed. It can take a while to begin receiving your benefits, so it’s wise to file your claim as soon as possible.

Many jobless individuals haven’t been able to apply for assistance in their states yet due to long call wait times and application eligibility rules, so make every effort to apply now.

While state requirements vary, generally you’ll need to provide the following information when filing an unemployment claim:

  • Your name, mailing address, and phone number
  • Social Security number or Alien Registration number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Proof of income, such as 1099 tax forms, W2 tax forms, pay stubs, and tax returns
  • Bank account number and routing number if your state pays unemployment through direct deposit

Note: If your work occured in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency you currently reside can provide more information about how to file your claim. 

Other helpful resources for freelancers impacted by COVID-19

If you need additional help outside of unemployment benefits, or you find you don’t qualify for these government relief options, there are other resources to consider. 

  • Check out the Freelancers Relief Fund. Freelancer’s Union launched this program to support those affected by the coronavirus. If you’re able and willing, you can also donate.
  • This website lists national grants from nonprofits and unions. Note: these are mostly only applicable to artists and musicians.
  • This Freelancers & Community Resources 2020 doc offers links to self-care resources, work opportunities, educational webinars, and other helpful tools.

Key Takeaways

  • Under the CARES Act, unemployment benefits have been expanded for many American workers, including gig workers and independent contractors
  • Call wait times are currently very long as unemployment agencies are inundated with file claims
  • If you’ve lost your job, contact your state’s unemployment insurance agency as soon as possible

At Mint, we’re working hard to bring you the latest COVID-19 information to help you navigate your finances during the coronavirus outbreak. Whether you need advice for managing your student loan payments or you’re not sure how to cover bills during this time, our team is dedicated to providing the important updates you need. 

Have COVID-19 tax questions? Check out our related posts on TurboTax to stay up-to-date on the tax impact of coronavirus.

 

 

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The post Unemployment Benefits for the Self-Employed [COVID-19 Guide for Gig Workers] appeared first on MintLife Blog.

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L.A. Home From Film Classic ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’ Available for $3.8M

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“The scene: An Italianate villa in a once-fashionable section of Los Angeles. Its halls—once crowded with the bright, the beautiful, the celebrated. A window barred against the world…”

That’s how this iconic home in Hancock Park was described in the trailer for “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” starring the film legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

The classic L.A. residence was built in 1928 and played a crucial role in the 1962 film. It was where the aging Hudson sisters lived, loved, and fought.

It’s been spruced up considerably since its cinematic turn and is currently on the market for the first time in 50 years. The asking price for this slice of silver screen history is $3,795,000.

The home offers five bedrooms and five bathrooms on 4,778 square feet of living space.

In addition, the quarter-acre lot features a saltwater pool and a detached two-story guesthouse with a cabana, as well as a full bathroom and sauna downstairs. Upstairs is a studio apartment with a kitchen, bathroom, and fireplace.

“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” house in Hancock Park

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As seen in “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”

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Living room

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Bedroom

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Backyard

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Most importantly, there are no traces of the dark, dreary interiors that gave the film its creepy vibe.

The classic black wrought-iron staircase railings do still exist, but they’ve been painted a cheery white. Most of the walls are also white and bear no evidence of the sad, patterned wallpaper seen in the movie.

Staircase in the movie

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Staircase now

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A large kitchen is also stark white and features gray-toned granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, and a bay window that looks out onto a colorful bougainvillea.

Above that bougainvillea might be the tell-tale window through which the young neighbor caught glimpses of an imprisoned Joan Crawford.

Kitchen

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But even with all the changes to the interior, the front view remains the same.

And here’s a reason for that. The home sits in a historical zone, where changes to the facades of homes aren’t permitted.

However, fresh paint and classic landscaping have worked wonders. The arched entryway, red tile roof, and symmetrical windows are as elegant as ever.

Front exterior

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Scrolled wrought-iron front gates from the film

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The classic psychological thriller tells the story of two sisters, both former child actresses, one of whom is planning a comeback and has evil designs on the other.

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, also in the twilight of their careers, starred along with Victor Buono.

Davis created her own makeup for her role as Baby Jane Hudson and was nominated for an Academy Award. The film received a total of five Oscar noms, and won one for Best Costume Design—Black-and-White. A tale based on the story behind the film’s conception was told in the 2017 series “Feud: Bette and Joan.”

The post L.A. Home From Film Classic ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’ Available for $3.8M appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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How to Increase Your Earning Potential

Every year presents new lessons we should incorporate on this life journey, and this one, in particular, is no exception. In a world that is ever-changing one thing that has to remain the same is our ability to pivot when necessary. Whenever life challenges arise, we often make changes and shift out of force rather than free choice. While this logic can be applied to every aspect of our lives it’s an especially crucial concept as it relates to our finances. There’s no need to wait until your employer needs to decrease headcount or reduce work hours to jumpstart your rediscovery process. Make the decision today that no matter what happens within the economy, you are making the strides to guarantee your earning power doesn’t rest in the hands of someone else.

Set yourself apart and strengthen your skills

Often times, the number one thing you can do before executing plans of any kind is focus on strengthening your skills. Are others able to depend on you?  If you desire to run your own business or be a high-performing, contributing employee – are you reliable? Being able to breakdown complex situations and produce viable solutions, paying special attention to detail, and asking the right questions at the right time are skills that many often have, but have yet to master. Focusing on any skills that may come naturally to you while achieving mastery, in the long run, will absolutely contribute to the opportunities you are afforded over other candidates. It’s not about competition, because what’s for you won’t pass you by. It’s about actively showcasing you are indeed the best candidate with the physical results to prove it.

Seek out new opportunities and expand your skillset

People believe there are only a few ways to bring in additional income – one being a side hustle. This isn’t necessarily the case. Seeking out opportunities within your current or new place of employment can be just what you need to make substantial strides in increasing your earnings as well as visibility. Make yourself familiar with the Human Resources policies for promotions and role transitions. Look into if there are side projects you can add to your workload that can increase your skillset while being introduced to a new audience of people; consider exploring that. Be sure to document the pros and cons of the newly added responsibilities while making sure it aligns with where you ultimately want to be. Don’t shy away from having a conversation with your manager and making your goals known.

Ask for more (and quantify it)

Employers have mid-year and end of year reviews to go over performance goals and ensure the work you’ve done over time aligns with the responsibilities of the team as well as the company. While this is protocol, as an employee you don’t have to wait until this designated time to discuss career goals. Not only does this conversation create awareness between you and your manager – it allows them to understand your desire for more. I’m sure we’ve all had less than desirable bosses, coworkers, and teams. We’ve also been in situations where we know that the work required of us was so much more than the actual amount of money we were taking home. To avoid the unfortunate cycle of being overworked and underpaid that many fall into, have an open and candid conversation with management. Be sure to quantify every task and tie a metric to it if possible. This helps to build your professional story while also making sure your resume stays current for all new opportunities as they arise.

Start a side hustle

When your friends, family, or peers often ask you to complete something and you enjoy doing it; what is that ‘thing’? What talents do you innately have that seem as if it doesn’t require a huge amount of effort? The answers to these questions should birth the idea of your new side hustle. As daunting as it may sound, take the time to loosely create a plan. Remember, this is scalable! Go at the pace that is most comfortable for you and can transition well into your lifestyle. Solicit the help of family and friends while using your larger network to advertise your talent. Social media and word of mouth can go a very long way – use all outlets to promote yourself and your services.

Never underestimate the power of networking

We all have a comfort zone and typically stay within those walls on a regular basis unless probed. However, do you consider the opportunities that could be available to you by adding several new people to your network? Utilize employee resource groups at your place of employment, various professional networks in your local cities, and other organizations that have a virtual platform. Do a quick Google search based on your preferred industry and start the journey of expanding your network. There’s a very familiar phrase we’ve all heard at some point, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” LinkedIn is a great social media platform to engage with professionals all over the world on various subject matters and topics. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make the connections that could lead you to new opportunities.

Become a lifelong learner

Make a commitment to yourself that no matter what happens, you will always seek knowledge, no matter the method. Explore personal and professional learning opportunities. This may be pursuing an advanced degree to expand opportunities. For others, it can be obtaining a certification within your desired field to land a better position – resulting in a salary increase. If either of those doesn’t sound appealing or fit within your current life circumstances, you can always attend conferences, listen to webinars, podcasts, and so many other cost-effective (or free) learning channels to keep your skills in top shape. This could be listening to an audible book while driving in your car or reading a new article every day related to your industry before getting your day started – learning is limitless!

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