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Massachusetts Self-Employed, Gig Economy Workers Can Now File For CARES Act Unem

Posted on 2020-04-21

Massachusetts Self-Employed, Gig Economy Workers Can Now File For CARES Act Unem

BOSTON (CBS) — Workers in Massachusetts who are not typically part of the unemployment insurance system can now apply for CARES Act benefits if they’re unable to work because of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday. That means self-employed workers, consultants who receive 1099 forms and “gig economy” employees can start receiving state benefits plus the $600 a week approved by the federal government for up to 39 weeks.

The website to apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is Applicants must show they are able to work but can’t because of the coronavirus.

“As a Commonwealth, we are committed to doing everything in our power, and moving as urgently as possible to get workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis the benefits they deserve,” Baker said in a statement. “With the implementation of this new federal benefit program, we can better support workers not normally covered by the unemployment system like those who are self-employed or work in the gig economy.”

The system will initially pay benefits retroactive to the week ending March 14, 2020. After April 30, workers can request benefits retroactive to Jan. 27 depending on when the coronavirus forced them out of work.

People who are receiving sick pay or other benefits that add up to less than their customary work week, and those working fewer hours because of coronavirus, may also be eligible for assistance.

There have been more than 571,304 initial unemployment claims filed in Massachusetts since March 15.