The slow nationwide rollout of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) has been a frustrating trickle of information — or the lack thereof. In tracking the many different systems being built in every state to accept applications from independent workers, Freelancers Union identified several states that have clearly made freelancers their lowest priority.
In Illinois, the Illinois Department of Employment Security has announced that freelancer applications should begin to be accepted until May 11, more than two months after this crisis began. Worst of all, even that late date isn’t a firm promise, and could be pushed back further.
We’ve heard from dozens of Illinois freelancers who are in real financial distress right now; the thought of waiting weeks longer to even be able to submit applications — with no word about how much longer after that they’ll need to wait to receive cash — is crushing. Another month’s rent is coming due tomorrow, while many are struggling just to feed their families.
That’s why we sent a letter to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker yesterday demanding the state take freelancers’ needs seriously and do everything they can to get the PUA system working now. You can see the full letter here. In addition to prioritizing