Self-employed workers and contractors are typically not eligible for unemployment benefits. However, in this unprecedented crisis the State of Minnesota is offering unemployment compensation for the self employed and 1099 workers. This includes those with only part-time employment. Independent contractors and gig workers who have lost work from the coronavirus crisis should apply now.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress on March 27th, provides new benefits for self-employed people and independent contractors.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program – provides weekly benefit payments for self-employed people, independent contractors and others who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – $600/week additional payments for people receiving regular or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
If you have worked for a Minnesota employer in the past 18 months, you may qualify for regular unemployment benefits. If you qualify for regular unemployment benefits, you will not qualify for PUA. View COVID-19 information for workers.
What you need to know
How do I apply?
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits are specifically for self-employed, independent contractors, and others unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19 who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits or extended UI benefits in Minnesota or any other state. This means you must apply for regular unemployment benefits before you can qualify for PUA benefits.
You can apply for regular unemployment benefits either online or by phone.
o Apply online – Available Sunday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 pm. Follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply if you are self-employed.
o By phone – Application help is available on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Once they determine that you are not eligible for a regular or extended benefit account, they will automatically review your account to determine if you are eligible for PUA. You will not need to complete a separate application for PUA.
If you need help in a language other than English, interpreters are available by phone. Internet translation tools are available on the Other languages page if you would like to apply online.
Additional $600 payment
You do not have to apply for the $600 additional compensation. You will automatically receive this CARES Act benefit if we determine that you are eligible for any unemployment benefit program.
Questions and answers
- I am self-employed or an independent contractor. I heard the stimulus package from Congress includes benefits for me. How do I apply for unemployment benefits?
- How much will I receive in PUA benefits?
- How long can I receive PUA benefits?
- I am self-employed and I also worked for someone else. Do I need to submit one application for regular UI benefits and another application for PUA benefits?
- I am self-employed and I also worked for someone else. Will I get regular unemployment benefits or PUA benefits?
- The benefits estimator on your web site says that it cannot estimate a benefit amount for me. Does that mean I am not eligible?
- I’m still running my business part-time. Should I apply for PUA benefits?