What the CARES Act means for freelancers

On March 27, an emergency relief bill now known as the CARES Act became law to help bolster the U.S. economy as the country battles the coronavirus. The new law covers a broad cross-section of the economy — including the freelance sector. Of particular note, the relief package gives jobless workers bigger unemployment checks over a longer period of time, including freelancers and the self-employed, who are typically excluded from collecting these benefits.

Here’s what freelancers can expect to receive in terms of financial relief under this new law:

Unemployment Insurance

· All self-employed workers, contractors, government employees, individuals seeking part-time work, and workers who quit their job or can’t reach their place of work as a result of COVID-19 are among those eligible for unemployment benefits.

· The law allows individuals to claim unemployment benefits for an extended period of time (up to four months) and waives the typical one-week waiting period to start receiving benefits.

· Weekly unemployment benefit payouts are increased by $600. For self-employed individuals, the benefit will equal 100% of the covered individual’s regular weekly compensation, and not less than $600 per week.

· The law revives the “Emergency Unemployment Compensation” program for 13 additional weeks on top of states’ standard

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